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The new photo album allows us to share more pictures with our family and friends. Just sign up with Phanfare by clicking on the photo album to the right. I will then get a notification and can allow you access.

Grandmom and Nana -yall should be able to view now, you have been granted access. Let me know if you are having difficulties.

I believe Mark has added more photos!




In twinkie news, we have an appointment with Dr Vaughn, a colleague of Dr Mckillips, today at 2:45pm. Hopefully we can figure out what is going on with these girls. We will keep yall updated.

Ta Ta For Now

Terribly Frustrated

Yesterday was bad.

Madison drank only 3 oz all day. Kari was going into a bit of a worry frenzy and wanted to take her to the emergency room and I was starting to think maybe she was right. I just didn't want to sit there for five hours and have them tell us nothing. Around 10p.m. Madison finally ate about seven onces, witch made us feel a little better. Jordan has been eating a little better, but still not as much as we would like.

They wake up, we change them, play with them until they seem like they want to eat. As soon as we get the bottle in their mouths the scream and scream....and scream. Sometimes you can get them to eat an one or two onces before they really get going. We have been to the doctor twice in the last three weeks and they have been of no help. They say that it might be a virus, because their white blood cell count is high and that could last for 7 to 14 days. Well... it has been 14 days since they have started this behavior and it is getting worse not better. They said it could be the formula. We have tried three different kinds of formula, four different bottles, about eight different kinds of nipples, we have tried rice cereal, none of it seems to make a difference.

If they were not eating and content, that would be one thing. I would think that they are just not hungry. However, they are almost inconsolable for hours at a time. Add the two toddlers to the mix and it is overwhelming. Reagan, especially, is having a difficult time with all of this. At 19 months old patience is not a virtue that she has acquired. I think she maybe adding to the twins stress during feeding time.

At any rate we are about at our wits end. We decided to look for a new doctor. One who will help us explore some other options. I think a test to determine how much the reflux is effecting them would be productive, for starters. The last doctor basically told us to wait till they were eating less than six onces before we called them back. It seems like waiting for failure to thrive or dehydration before doing something is just plain stupid. We don't want to see them going into the hospital again and that seems more likely.

The other problem is this is very taxing on us parents. For hours and hours we pace the house with and infant bouncing on our hip and toddlers following close behind demanding attention of their own. We walk and bounce hoping that if they are not going to eat, they will at least go to sleep. I don't know how Kari is doing it when I am gone (I don't think that she knows either). It tough enough when there are three adults.

One a positive note: Kari was getting a little desperate and tried some aroma therapy on the twins and that worked very well. She and Kandy gave them aroma therapy foot massages. They had the twins stretched out on a play mat in front of the TV, onesies unbuttoned and bunched up around their midsections, rubbing their little feet with scented oil. Kari called me over with a "you have got to see this." Madison, with her legs stuck straight out and her toes splayed, was staring at Kandy with her index finger in the corner of her mouth. Other than that there was no movement, just complete relaxation. Jordan's eyes were rolling back in her head with ecstasy.

Once they were nice and calm we tried to feed them again, you can guess how that went, can't you?



So we are hoping that the twins eat better today. If not they are going to see some doctor tomorrow.

We are still here. It seems like it should be easier now and I guess in some ways that it is, but today was a long day.

I got in late last night and Kari and I spent some quality time together. After a movie and some adult conversation we got to bed around two. Reagan was up before six, so I have been dragging a little today.

The twins are still not eating as well as we would like, but they are not losing weight, so I am not too worried about it. However, they are still difficult to feed. When you stick the nipple in their mouths they just scream, loud. They don't even scream that loud when they get shots. I keep sprinkling the formula on the back of my hand to check the temperature, even though I have already checked it three or four times. They act like they are in serious pain.

They are doing a little better with the new formula, but are still thwarting our efforts to get the 24 ounces down their necks in 24 hours, like the doctor says we should. One the other hand they don't look under fed and maybe we should just relax and not force the issue with them. I am fairly certain that they will eat when they get hungry. It is hard to break from the "follow the doctor's orders" mold.

Jordan and Reagan were pills today. I think that Reagan is getting some more teeth. At several points I just had to put her in her crib and let her cry. The only way to console her is for Dad to hold her and since I was letting Kari sleep in and the twins needed attention she was out of luck. Jordan I guess is picking up bad habits from Reagan and was only happy if being held and then only if I was standing up. I took me two hours after I made coffee to get my first cup.

On a positive note at five this evening it was quiet. Usually from five till eight this place is a mad house and all four kids are acting up at the same time, but right now the twins are sleeping and Ry and Rea are watching "Dora" and not making a peep.

I have some more pictures I hope to get posted tomorrow.

I better go help with dinner.

Sorry about not posting lately. There hasn't been too much noteworthy and I have not been feeling inspired.

Hilda is coming back and that is noteworthy. Kari booked her on a Mexicana flight for Monday. Grandmom is planning on going home on Wednesday I think.

The twins are doing very well for the most part. Except for feedings. For the last two weeks and especially the last several days they both scream bloody murder when you try to feed them. Only after several minutes of forcing the nipple into their mouths and them fighting it (loudly) do they start to eat, and then it is not very long before they spit it out and the competition starts over again. Some of the feedings are taking up to three hours and then it is almost time to feed them again. It is very frustrating.

Possibly it is reflux. Their medication has not been adjusted for their weight, they are getting the same dose that they were getting when they were five pounds. They must be 13 lbs at least.

Well I didn't finish this last night ... I weighed the girls this morning. Jordan is 12.8 lbs and Madison is 13.6 lbs.

Other possible causes... I don't know. They are getting over a cold and the post nasal drip could be causing a sore throat, but I would think that would make them cry all the time not just when we try to feed them.


I just got back from a trip that had a 30 hour layover in San Francisco. It was very relaxing, I just wandered around and took in the sights. The weather was perfect and I must have walked for about 6 hours. Down to the Fisherman's Warf, took a tour of a WWII submarine, up to the top of Knob hill where you have a great view of Alcatraz and then down through China town and over to Union Square.

I realized as I was wandering about at my own pace that Kari has really not been away from the kids for at least 6 months, more like a year, and I think that she needs to get away. I offered to take care of things here if she wanted to go see her mother in Dallas, but she is still thinking about it. She did take the opportunity today to get out to the mall to spend the last of her Christmas gift cards.

I hope that it is relaxing for her, she seems a bit stressed and I worry about her.

That is all for now. More later.

M

Rylee and Reagan really like watching the ducks at the park.















I can't believe how much Rylee has grown up. It really hit me when I looked at this picture. She really looks like a little girl now. No longer a little baby. Everybody says that it happens fast, but you have no idea till you see it yourself. It seems like yesterday that she was just rolling over. She is really talking now too, she repeats about every word she hears.


















Ever the big sister, Rylee likes to point things out to her siblings.












It is fun to watch little kids. Every little thing is so interesting. They remind me not to take the little things for granted.












Reagan meeting a Rainbow Trout for the first time. She is going to be my tomboy I think. I guess she isn't going to need help baiting her own hook.











No trip to the park would be complete without a ride on the swings.






































They would go in through the out door too.














A short break to keep the energy up.












































Testing...




Just trying to see why Mark can't add any more photos...

When I got the message that I had reached the max number of pictures I thought it was for just that post, but it was for the whole blog. Since I am not inclined to spend more money that I don't have to buy more storage I guess I will have to go back and take some of the old ones out.

Everybody is doing well.

More when I figure this out.

M

Hey Mark Mark!

Wanna watch Ocean's 13 with me?
K


The twins are enjoying the play time on the floor more and more.

The big girls like it too. Dad makes a pretty good jungle gym.

After most play times on the floor we find the big girl's dolls recreating the fun. Interesting, huh?

Rylee helping Mom feed Jordan.

At the end of play time we all take a break and watch some cartoons. Dora seems to be the favorite.

Do you like my hat? Would you like to try it on? OK!

There you go, Jordan. What do you think?

Why, I think it fits just right. Thank you Rylee.

It has really been nice to have Grandmom around. Here Rylee is helping her make a cake. I think these will be cherished memories.

OOOhh! Eggs!

Stir, stir, stir.

Then taste and stir some more.

Don't forget to lick the bowl.

Even Reagan helped lick the bowl.

We had to document the first attempt at solid food.

They held hands for moral support.

Jordan wasn't too sure that this was the greatest thing she has ever tried.

Madison seemed to like it a little better, but still ended up wearing more than she ate. I guess that is par for the course.

Jordan, however, was still willing to give it another try.

The view from over Mom's shoulder.

Reagan was feeling left out during all of this. A good way to get attention is just to be under foot.

Bunker, the head of security, was on hand just in case some food ended up on the floor.

Rylee was more interested researching kitty cats on You tube.

Rylee is ready for the paparazzi. I think this is the first time that she hasn't wanted her picture taken. She is usually quite the ham.

Mom really got Madison laughing during clean up operations.

This is Reagan at the park today. And I just found out the maximum number of photos you can upload at one time is this many. More tomorrow.

Big News!

A momentous day! If I had some champagne I would drink it.

The twins are officially off the apnea monitors. Kari spoke with Dr. West, of the Children's Hospital, today and she gave us the green light to disconnect the monitors. I am sure that Madison and Jordan will be pleased not to have those leads stuck to them anymore. They never stuck on very well and we were forced to tape them on, which really irritated their skin.

Hilda is coming back! I will bet that my Mother is pleased, I know that she must miss her husband. Hilda called today and she should be back sometime next week.

Well, I always have been in love with my wife. However, the last year and especially the last six months have tested us. I won't lie, it has been hard on our relationship, the last eight months have been filled with constant worry. Worry about the twins, worries about money, worries about Kari's health, it has been a bit overwhelming. We have not had much time to concentrate on the two of us. Heck, I've barely been allowed to touch her since she was six month pregnant, and that was a long time ago. The only time that we are able to sit and talk is between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. about three days a week and I can't really remember the last time that we were alone for any length of time. I don't know what we would do with out all the help from the nannies, but it is nice to be with just my wife.

This fact was apparently not lost on my Mother. She and Mary Ellen conspired to get us out of the house last night. Mary Ellen showed up a little early so that we could get ready, Grandmom stuffed some money in my shirt pocket and they basically kicked us out.

We had no real plan, but hopped in the truck and headed out. We decided to hit our old stomping ground around Kingwood. We would hit Zeo's for dinner and then stop by Pop's ice house and see if any of the old gang was about. As we drove south on I45 I realized that we were both relaxed. "That is unusual." I though to myself. Kari even laughed at my corny sense of humor. It was the first time in a long time that I didn't feel the need to be careful of what I said. I have tried hard not to say anything to Kari that might make her depressed, because while she is much better, she still has some "down" times. That is part of the problem with postpartum depression, when she is feeling better you may think "Okay, we are passed that and she is back to normal." but the depression is persistent and it comes and goes. And sometimes the most innocuous comment can send her spiraling back down into a blue funk. However, last night she seemed like a new person. I saw her laugh more last night than I had in the last year.

I have to say that I wasn't all that excited about going out on the town at first. I was feeling a little tired and ever the miser, I was thinking of other more productive things that we could be spending that money on. But seeing how it lifted Kari's spirits (and mine), it was money well spent.

The dinner was good. We had what we always have when we go to Zeo's, the Greek pasta and spinach artichoke dip. Normally I would be down on myself for being in a rut and ordering the same thing every time, but we had not been out to eat in so long that it really couldn't be considered a rut.

I definitely wouldn't call us bar flies, but we used to spend a bit of time at the local biker watering hole and we had become close with many of regulars and hoped some of them might be around. It seemed likely on a Saturday night that we would run into someone that we knew. It felt familiar as we pulled into the parking lot of our favorite dive and we spotted some friendly faces as we entered through the roll up, garage type, doors. There were a few of the regulars left, but the bar is now under new management and most of the regular crowed that we knew had moved on to haunt new dives. We did get the low down on many of the most interesting characters from our past and enjoyed some live music.

The table that we sat at was constructed from 55 gallon drums and 2x4s. The wood worn smooth by countless elbows and carve on with pocket knifes. Yes, this is just our kind of place. As I sat there enjoying a chilly adult beverage, a pretty good cover of a Rolling Stone's song washing over me, I glanced up at my wife. She was engaged in a deep conversation of who did what to whom with an unsavory looking character named Tim (who has a heart of gold by the way, but you wouldn't know it to look at him.) And she glanced over at me and gave me a big smile. I got flutters in my stomach, the kind of giddy flutters that you got Christmas morning just before its time to open the presents. She has always done that to me, but I realized I hadn't gotten that feeling in a long time. I had been too distracted, too stressed out. I realized how much I really love this woman and I think we are doing pretty good job getting over this bump in the road.

Kari won't like this picture I am sure, but I do and it is nice to see her smiling so much more.
It is sometimes hard to remember to enjoy the moments we have with these precious gifts. Especially when they are doing this all at the same time. But I sure do feel lucky to have them.

We started this blog to keep everyone up to date on the twins and I sometimes get off track in that respect. They are doing really well. The doctor says that very soon they won't be getting special attention for being preemies. They are ahead of were they should be developmentally.

Hilda called yesterday morning and told us that her mother had passed away. She was quite upset as you might imagine. She and Kari shared some tears and Kari tried to comfort her as best she could. But, what do you say other than "I am so sorry." I guess that is about all you can say, and just hope that is enough.

Hilda was not sure when the funeral would be and we are not sure how long it will be before she will be back. While we can't wait for her return, I feel very selfish even thinking about it. After seeing what my Mother just went through with the death of her Mother and the ensuing issues related to disposing of the estate, I think it will likely be several more weeks till Hilda is able to return.

We are keeping her and her family in our prayers.

Kari spoke with Hilda today and it is not looking good.

She has stomach cancer, heart trouble, is bleeding from the rectum, is not eating and not sleeping. Kari said that Hilda is having a difficult time with it, as you might imagine. She has been getting little sleep and is losing weight herself.

She thought that she might be back in about 3 more weeks.

Please keep her in your prayers.

New Years Eve was pretty low key at the Spencer household. Grandmom went to bed early while Kari and I stayed up and had a few glasses of wine.

Fire works are popular in Texas as you might imagine. I think that Texans fit the stereotype here, they like guns and fireworks. The bigger and louder, the better. And I think that is great. Around the 4th of July and New Years hundreds of roadside fireworks shops spring up. There had to be enough ordinance in my neighborhood to start WWIII. The first firecrackers started going off around six or seven. Rylee was quite intrigued. We explained to her that they were firecrackers to celebrate New Years Eve. After every string of Back Cats that went off she would rush to the window, point and say "Cawackers! pop, pop, pop!" I thought that she might be alarmed by the noise, but she really seemed to like it. Even with a low key evening I think that she sensed the excitement.

Our neighbors, Heinrick and Audrie, from across the street stopped by around seven and shared a glass of wine with us. They hadn't seen the twins since we brought them home and were amazed at how big they had gotten. Heinrick is from South Africa and has a very pronounced German sounding accent. He is one of those guys that you like the second that you meet him, very animated when he speaks and always has interesting stories to tell. The big kid that he is, Heinrick went out that evening and bought a large supply of fireworks to ring in the new year properly.

Around eleven Kari fell asleep on the couch. We are not as young as we used to be. So I wandered over to Heinrick's place to see how things were going. There was a group of about 15 people camped out in his driveway. Most huddled in lawn chairs with blankets while the young holiday warriors set off strings of firecrackers. Across the street, on the island in the cul de sac, they had a serious arsenal set up. There were at least six batteries of rockets standing close to three feet tall each. I had to get Rylee to see this.

I jogged back to the house, up the stairs and opened Rylee's door. She sat up looking a little dazed, hair sticking out all over, and stuck her thumb in her mouth.
"Would you like to see the fireworks?" I asked.
"Yesh." she said, now fully awake, eyes wide and a big grin.
I slapped some socks on her feet, put a jacket on her and rushed downstairs. I tried to wake Kari, but after three or four shakes and no movement I gave up. (I did check to make sure she was breathing though.) Rylee and I rushed outside for the show. We got back over to Heinrick's with just a few minutes to spare.

I wish that I had dressed her a little warmer, because she started to shiver a bit. It was worth it though, boy her eyes were big as those rockets streaked into the sky and exploded in brilliant colors. The show lasted for about 10 minutes, which was plenty long enough for us. It was really cold. (I know you people in Colorado are saying "You don't know what cold is." But for Texas, it was very cold.) And while Rylee got a kick out the fireworks, the last couple were very loud and made her a little uneasy.

I put Rylee back in bed and then stood outside and watched some of the more elaborate shows going on in the distance. It is amazing what you can buy in Texas, fireworks wise. A couple of blocks away there were professional looking star bursts going up at least 300 to 400 feet in the air. I bet those kind of fireworks really lighten your wallet.

I made it to midnight, but I am not the trooper that I used to be. I was in bed at 12:24, thinking I may need as much sleep as I can get for this new year. It should be an interesting one.

Happy New Year.

I have decided that there is still hope for the human race.

I came to this conclusion for two reasons. First: My Mother, the day she arrived for Christmas, presented Kari and I a pamphlet from "Planned Parenthood" on all the various forms of birth control that are available today. "Not too subtle, Mom." I got a kick out of it though, mostly because she wasn't joking. The funny thing is that Papa didn't think that more kids sounded that far fetched. In fact he sounded kind of keen on the idea that we might have more. He came from a large family so I guess its not a stretch. However, I would have thought that he would be a proponent of the birth control also, seeing as we have been relying on him quite heavily due to our sudden population explosion and lack of planning (Or maybe it was a lack of judgment or common sense or lack of sanity - choose your favorite) I'm still thinking "blessing", but I may have done some more planning if I knew what was going to happen. The point is, as long as there are irresponsible people like Kari and I, the human population will continue to grow.

Second: There is still goodness in the world today and sometimes you don't even have to look for it. Yesterday Rylee was "helping" me do something in the front yard. I don't recall exactly what we went out there for, I think we were bringing the trash cans back up to the house. As we were taking our time out front, enjoying the nice weather, two little girls walked by with their Irish Setter. The girls were probably nine and eleven, wearing jeans and t-shirts, without a care in the world, as you should be at that age. They noticed Rylee pointing to their dog and they gave a little wave. I wished them a happy new year and they returned the greeting and proceeded on their way. I didn't give it a second thought, I continued to retrieve trash cans and try to convince Rylee that now is not the time for a car ride.
"Car, car, car" she was saying patting the rear passenger door, looking at me expectantly.
"No, not right now. Maybe later." I said as I was hauling the last can past her.
"Car, car, car...CAAARRR!" she implored.
"Not right now, lets go see what Grandmom is doing." I said.
"Uh uhhhhh. Car?"
"We have to wait for Reagan to wake up from her nap." I said, trying to think of another angle to get her off the car subject. Three year old girls can be very persistent, but are easily distracted. You just have to find the right distraction at the right time to avoid the fight and the time out that must follow. Because, as you well know, timeouts are fun for no one.

At just that moment the two little girls reappeared, jogging toward us. The youngest with a large pink "Care Bear" teddy bear in her arms.
"We would like to give this teddy bear to your daughter, as a new years eve gift." she said, holding the bear out to Rylee and looking at me with a smile.
"That is very nice." I said, returning the smile. "Are you sure that it is okay with your parents for you to give away your bear?"
"Oh yes, we are going to have a garage sale and they said that it would be alright." By this time Rylee is hugging the bear tight, with a smile from ear to ear and beaming up at the two girls. This was no small stuffed animal either, it came up to Rylee's nose and she had to tip her head back to rest her chin on its head. The girls seemed right pleased with Rylee's reaction and there were smiles all around. Kari came out, getting ready to run to the supermarket, and we all chatted for a bit.

The older girl lived right down the street and the younger one had moved away but was back visiting family for the holidays. They were quite well spoken and I was impressed with their kindness. However, with Kari gone, I needed to get back inside to check on the twins. The girls, Kaitlynn and Emilee, seemed like they would be quite content to chat away the rest of the afternoon and I started to feel a bit awkward. Partly because they had been so kind and I didn't want to just blow them off and partly because I didn't know their parents and I thought it might look kind of "funny," a grown man chatting up two little girls. (It is sad that you have to think about those things these days, isn't it?) At any rate, I bid them fair well and took Rylee inside.

Not 15 minutes later the door bell rang and the girls were back with more stuffed animals for all the Spencer girls. What big hearts God puts in little people, I was very touched. I was trying to think of something nice I could do for them, candy?, cookies?, ice cream? Again I was a bit uncomfortable with not knowing their parents and all, so I just gave them thanks and complements. I don't know if that sort of kindness and thoughtfulness is taught or if it is inborn, either way I think it bodes well for our future generations.

Rylee decided that the big stuffed rabbit was for Reagan. Before I knew what she was doing, she ascended the stairs, flung open Reagan's door and tossed the rabbit into her crib. That was the end Reagan's nap.

In other news: Hilda's mother is still hanging in there, but is in a lot of pain. She is at home now and Hilda told Kari that they don't think that she is going to last very long. We are still keeping them in our prayers.

Grandmom says that she is going to stay as long as she is needed and we sure do appreciate that, but I know she needs to get home. So, we are still weighing our options. With Kari and I there, we can handle all four girls fairly well. When I go to work for four days at a time it is a little much for Kari to handle and I can't see leaving her with all four kids by herself. We have talked about contacting some of Hilda's friends from church, but have not done anything about that yet. We have been hoping to get some more news from Hilda in Mexico but have not spoken with her for a few days.

The twins are doing well. No more colds and their reflux seems to be back under control. Jordan is rolling over all the time now, but Madison has been taking her time. It is fun to watch them interact with each other. Jordan will roll on her side, grab Madison's hand and coo at her. Madison will give her big smiles in return. It is very interesting to watch.

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