Yesterday we returned from a four-day, three-night jaunt to my favorite local vacation spot, Galveston, Texas.
I've blogged about Galveston quite a few times, as it truly is my heaven on Earth. I've said it in the past -- it's no tropical paradise like Hawaii or Jamaica or even Florida, but it's home to me and the best memories of my life come back to me when I am down there. I'm so lucky that Todd has embraced going to Galveston, as it would be so easy to just jet down to Corpus Christi or Port Aransas, which are only two hours away. But instead, my husband packs up our minivan at least once a year and endures the nearly five-hour drive to, through and past Houston so I can relive my childhood, one week at a time.
This year, for the first time, we didn't meet my family down in Galveston. Instead, we met our best friends, the Micek family, the Sauter family and the Schaefer family, along with their combined four children (and two on the way, via Sylvia and Destiny!) at the same resort in which we stayed last year with my family.
We fell in love with the resort last year, as it has everything a family could want. Pointe West is a community of homes and condos, all built in the same architectural style, centered around a huge beach club with a pool, hot tub, baby pool, cabanas, a restaurant, a bar, a lounge and a game room. Across the highway, on the bay side of the island, is another pool with a lazy river, a beach-entry pool and little river inlets to sit and relax in.
We all arrived on Thursday afternoon, and got "moved in" to the four bedroom, four bathroom house. We ordered pizza and spent time chatting and enjoying the beautiful weather on the enormous front porch of the house.
Friday morning we went to the Beach Club and then down to the beach for some fun in the sand. We made our way back up to the pool and played and splashed until lunch time. After sandwiches and chips, everyone took a good, long nap (what is it about the beach and naps?). Most of the group went to the bay-side pool that afternoon, while the Pruetzes stayed behind for some family bonding time.
That night was a Mexican fiesta, cooked by the matriarchs of the four families, and a walk on the beach for all. The night was topped off by a rousing game of Apples to Apples (and if you are reading this, Steve, I lost to Sylvia on purpose).
During the night, a thunderstorm rumbled across the island and we woke up to a rainy Saturday. The decision was made to actually drive into the city (the city of Galveston is about 20 miles away from Pointe West). The Miceks and the Sauters opted to go to Moody Gardens, while we, along with the Schaefers, went to the Galveston Railroad Museum. The Schaefers' three-year-old son, Drew, along with Devin and the girls, had a great time climbing aboard vintage steam engines, Pullman cars, dining cars and private accommodations.
I used to love to go to the Train Museum as a kid, as walking through the Victorian-era cars was like stepping into a haunted house. These were real trains, used for various cross-country purposes, carrying everyone from every day Joes to executives and even dignitaries. It still amazes me how many amenities can be crammed into such small areas. One car, created for the higher management of train companies, had a lounge, a dining room, a study, two private bedrooms (each with queen-sized beds and closets), a full bathroom and a living area for the porter. It was coupled with a car containing a full kitchen, complete with a cast-iron stove, and a dining room that could have easily sat 30 people.
We returned to the resort for lunch and a quick nap and by the time we had all wiped the sleep from our eyes, it was a beautiful, cloudless afternoon, perfect for another trip to the bay-side pool.
That night, the men of the group cooked us a manly man's dinner, with sausage, fajitas and grilled corn. They even cleaned up the kitchen afterwards! All of the kids went down shortly after dinner and the adults stayed up way too late laughing, talking and having fun.
Sunday came way too soon, and after one last quick trip to the pool, we packed up the house and headed off the island, just as another storm rolled in. We even got a quick glimpse of a water spout in the bay as we rolled North toward Houston.
This was one of the most fun four days I've ever had. We are so blessed to have such good friends with whom to do stuff like this. They bring so much to our lives and are all incredibly special people. I love that we have the kind of relationship that we can go on vacation together, that our children can grow up together and that years from now, we'll all be rocking together on the front porch of a beach house, "remembering when." We plan to make this an annual trip and I am already looking forward to next year's adventure.
Until then, here are some of my favorite pics from the weekend.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Yesterday we returned from a four-day, three-night jaunt to my favorite local vacation spot, Galveston, Texas.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
In all honesty, I took the test like four times, with results ranging anywhere from 72 WPM all the way up to 94 -- I just happened to have a lucky moment.
But it was fun nonetheless! I never knew how fast I could type and it was interesting to be "tested." A great resource for wasting time...
Devin must be growing again. It's 9:50 a.m. and so far this morning he has had:
1 biscuit with peanut butter and jelly
2 bowls of Cheerios with milk
A half of a package of strawberries
1 package of peanuts
A cup of orange juice
And the size 5 shirt that I bought him in February is already too short on him.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Do you watch The Office on NBC? It's on Thursday nights at 8:00 (that's Central time) and it's the highlight of the week for Todd and me.
That's pathetic, I know, but there is something about this show that is addictive. It's the perfect mix of hysterical and uncomfortable, while also being sincere and even a little suspenseful (Jim and Pam).
Not everyone loves this show like I do and I can see why. I think you either love it or hate it, but there's really no in between. Just like my sister loves roller coasters and theme park rides that drop you straight down, I find no fun in having my stomach thrust into my brain. Similarly, some may feel that the "squirm in your seat and avert your eyes because you are embarrassed for the main character," feeling that The Officeelicits is just not their idea of a good time.
Fair enough. To each his own.
But for those of you who do watch this fantastically written show, did you watch the, "Chair Model," episode last night? True to form, it was hysterical. Michael (the main character, Regional Manager of Dunder-Mifflin paper's Scranton branch) has just come out of a terrible relationship with Jan (his former boss) and is ready to move on.
As he is searching for the next woman-of-his-dreams, he happens upon a picture of a model in an office chair catalog. He "falls in love" with this girl and informs the others in the office that they should set him up on dates using this girl as a template.
Did anyone notice the chair model? It showed her briefly, and I missed it, but my quick-eyed husband picked up on the inside joke without hesitation.
The chair model is Jan (Melora Hardin) in a dark wig.
I am sure of it. Here...see for yourself.
I've sent an email to an Office fan site (this is where Todd extends his hand to shake mine and says, "Hi Captain Freetime...my name is Todd.") to see if I can get a confirmation.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I've had lots of inquiries about an online video of the twins' story. Unfortunately, as of now, there is none.
KSAT is the leading news station in town, but their newscast isn't completely Web-enabled yet. They post the hard news stories on their site, but editorials, features and fluff pieces aren't posted on www.ksat.com.
Our DVR does not have a DVD-burner, but my sister's does. If we can get it to work (it's a little tempermental), I'll burn a copy of the story I can upload it to Blogger.com, YouTube.com, etc.
So bear with me and thanks for wanting to see story!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
We are local celebrities -- or at least we were for one minute and 20 seconds on Sunday night. KSAT aired their story about the girls and we were very pleased with the job they did.
They spotlighted the girls, their condition, my hospital stay, their prematurity and the medical expertise that had to go into their care.
It was great fun being a celebrity-for-a-moment, although they did mispronounce our last name. We're used to it, though, as P-R-U-E-T-Z would normally be pronounced Proo-ets. Not many people (myself included when I first met Todd) pick up on the German spelling and know to pronounce it Preets, so there are no hard feelings.
Anyway, it's life as usual around here. Last week was crazy and fun, but now everything has returned to the status quo -- just the way we like it.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Here is the story, if you're interested!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
This may have been the longest day of my life. We really only had two things to do today, but they were big things.
We started out the morning by getting the kids up and dressed and heading over to Methodist Hospital. There we met with the Director of Public Relations for the hospital, as well as the news crew from KSAT-12. Nancy Gonzalez, the morning news anchor, as well as one of the news photographers, joined us in the Antepartum unit where I spent six weeks of my life. It was strange going back there, but pretty heartwarming all-the-same, knowing how beautifully our story turned out.
As we were setting this whole thing up, I gave Methodist the names of my two favorite nurses, Kecia and Paula, in the hopes that they would be able to join us for the interviews. I was told that neither one of them were on staff that day and I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to see them again.
Imagine my surprise when I turned the corner to see Kecia standing there. Despite having the day off and being able to spend the day with her ten-month-old daughter, Kecia still came to the hospital to greet our family. Talk about a gift from God.
So we sat in one of the Antepartum rooms and Nancy interviewed me about the girls' story, my stay at Methodist, the girls' stay in the NICU and the Times of Your Life contest that I entered. We talked for about ten minutes and then it was time for Kecia to give her professional thoughts on the whole situation.
Afterwards, the photographer shot some footage of the girls playing in the room and then we moved to the Children's Hospital lobby where there were plenty of places for them to crawl, run and just be cute. Devin got into some of the shots, as well, and we are all looking forward to our 15 minutes of fame. Maybe tomorrow night? I'll be taping the news until it airs!
Todd went onto work and I took Devin to school. I got the girls home for a quick lunc and then down for a nap. Now I am a napping sort of girl, but lately I've just been so busy that I have gotten out of the habit of taking a nap during the day.
So knowing I wouldn't fall asleep, I laid down on the couch for some quiet time before taking the girls' to their 1:15 GI appointment.
I woke up at 1:20.
I bolted upstairs, got the girls out of their cribs and tossed them into the car, without even putting shoes on them. We made it to Dr. Elizondo's office in record time and I dashed in, begging them to see us and apologizing profusely for my oversight. I knew if we didn't see Dr. E today, it would be another six weeks before we could get into see him.
Luckily, someone had canceled their 1:45 appointment and they were able to get us in. Whew!
Since Grace was doing so well at her last appointment, Dr. E didn't really need to see her. So we got into the room and got Faith weighed and measured where she rang in at 22.1 lbs and 32 inches. That's the 3rd percentile for weight and 12th for height.
This made me very anxious.
So Dr. Elizondo came in and we talked about how Faith is doing on her new formula and about the allergy. I asked him to clear some things up for me about what she can and cannot eat. I also told him that I was worried about how much Faith didn't weigh.
So he left the office for a minute to check her growth curve and returned a moment later to say, "I'm not concerned! She's still growing and she's growing proportionately and while she's still small and underweight, she's moving up the curve and that's the most important thing."
I decided then and there that if Faith's GI doctor wasn't going to worry about her weight, I wasn't going to either.
We went on to talk about Faith's diet and I was totally prepared to hear all of the things that this cow's milk protein allergy was going to exclude her from. I just knew life was going to change drastically from that moment on.
Surprise again! Faith needs to avoid milk (done!), yogurt (she never eats the stuff because it's too messy!) and cheese. That last one will be difficult, but soy cheese is acceptable because Dr. E believes she's already on her way to growing out of the allergy. In his opinion, she'll have grown out of this in three to six months.
*Big Sigh of Relief Here*
I walked away from this appointment with a big smile on my face and a dramatic realization: This was the first and only time I have had an appointment with the twins that ended happily. Every appointment I've ever taken them on has ended in bad news: prematurity, staph infection, intubation, low weight, failure to thrive, asthma, cystic fibrosis, ear infections, strep throat...the list just goes on and on.
But today -- FINALLY -- an appointment ended happily.
It was a long day but I'll always remember it as a good day.
Thanks to all of you who sent good thoughts, prayers and well wished our way. It worked and I am blessed to have you.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Yesterday morning, Todd, Faith, Grace and I met representatives of Methodist Hospital at a local church where Threads of Love gets together every week to sew their items for area NICUs. We got to stand up, tell our girls' story and explain how it came about that we won the opportunity to donate $1,000 to Threads of Love. It was a great little meeting and, much to my surprise, one of my antepartum nurses was there, sewing! She didn't know I would be there, and vice versa, but it was great fun to see her nonetheless!
Then it was time for the photo op, and much to my delight, a gigantic check was given to Threads of Love from Methodist Hospital, with the four of us smiling on as the cameras flashed. We milled around for a few minutes, hugging and thanking each of the women (and man!) who do so much for the tiniest San Antonians. As soon as I get copies of the pictures, I'll be sure to post them.
Tomorrow (Thursday) morning, all five of us (how could we deny Devin the opportunity to be on TV?) will meet at the antepartum unit where I spent so many weeks, and the local ABC affiliate TV station will do a taped package on the contest and the money given to Threads of Love. I originally thought it was going to be a live shot, but I believe it will air on the morning news on Friday. I'll have to get the details and as soon as I know when it will be on, I will post it here so that all of my local friends can turn on their TVs and laugh at what will certainly be me making a fool of myself in one way or another.
(Ahem...who can tell me what that means -- and better yet, how you pronounce it??? Bridget Daughaday you are not allowed to answer that question on the grounds that you are too Irish).
Monday, April 07, 2008
Sunday, April 06, 2008
I've been pretty remiss in updating my blog lately -- I've lost the cord that connects my camera to my computer and I can't get my photos into iPhoto. So I've been waiting to get the photos uploaded before I update my blog.
But I realized tonight that if I wait until I find the cord or buy a new one, we might all be six feet under by the time it happens.
So you'll just have to suffer through a non-visual presentation of the last few weeks.
Last weekend, Devin played his first-ever soccer game. I use the term "soccer game" lightly here, in that it's really more like eight kids (four from each team) running up and down a field that's only 25% the size of a regulation field with "four- to six-minute" quarters (what does that mean, anyway?), no goalie and no score keeping. So it's soccer in the sense that they use a soccer ball and aren't allowed to use their hands, but in every other way, it's really just a game of "chase the ball."
All joking aside, though, I was very proud of my munchkin. I thought for sure that it would be all about just puttering the ball around and that he would have no interest in listening to his coach. But he did listen and was really into moving the ball toward the goal and even passing it to his teammates. He even scored three goals! Of course, one of those goals was for the other team, but we'll ignore that for now.
I have a bunch of pictures of the kiddo in action, but...well, you know.
That same week, we had Kindergarten Round-up here at our local elementary school. That's where incoming Kindergarteners get to go check out their new edifices of education while the parents get all of the "dos and don'ts" of being parents of elementary school kids.
Devin did great and I walked away thinking, "How did it happen that I have a kid old enough to go to elementary school?" Wasn't he born like three weeks ago? Ugh...
But the most exciting news is about the contest that we won on Methodist Hospital's Web site. We won $1,000 to give to our favorite charity. It's all coming back, huh?
So we're all set up for a photo op on Tuesday. We'll present the check (I hope it's one of those big, novelty-style checks...I've always wanted to take a photo with one of those!) and smile pretty for the camera. We'll get to meet some of the women who sew the tiny clothes and blankets for Threads of Love and introduce them to two of the babies they helped in the NICU.
We're very excited and assumed that it would end here. Why wouldn't it? The contest was to win and present $1,000 to your favorite charity and it's an honor to do so.
Turns out that Methodist Hospital's PR firm really liked the story (not necessarily my writing, but the whole tale about the girls' harrowing trip into this world) and asked for my permission to send out a press release to local media -- the four TV stations, the major newspaper and a few other local outlets. I said, "Yes," of course, without really thinking that anyone would pick the story up.
But in another dramatic twist of Erin-style fate, the story did get picked up, by the local ABC affiliate, KSAT 12. So on Thursday, we'll have a bit on the morning news about Faith and Grace, their story and Methodist Hospital giving the contest money to Threads of Love.
I'm super excited about it! With the March for Babies coming up, it's great timing for raising awareness of prematurity. I'm humbled that this nearly catastrophic pregnancy has turned into something that was able to earn money for a local charity, as well as raise awareness of a problem that could potentially touch every parent on earth.
As soon as I rescue the photos being held captive in my camera, I'll post them here, as well as any video or photos I can get my hands on from our "media tour" this week.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
There are a zillion other things I could be doing, like laundry, scrubbing the kitchen floor, taking my kids to the park or updating this blog.
But instead, I've just spent 45 minutes doing this.