Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jacob's 2-year (adjusted) NICU follow-up clinic

It's late. I'm tired. Basically, this is going to be a very short recap of today's events. If you want to catch up on his previous follow-up from January click here.

This time around, they used the Bayley II test which is different than the Bayley III test that they used in January so they said the results may be a little off or "different" from the results in January. I guess the difference is that the Bayley II test is used for NICU follow-up clinics (like today) and the Bayley III is used for the follow-ups related to the study we enrolled Jacob in (refer to link above from January for info on that).

Basically, Jacob has progressed exactly 6 months (which coincidentally is exactly how long it has been since he was seen for evaluation) and they said most premature infants gain 4-5 months development so he is gaining faster than most.

For his adjusted age of 23 months and 13 days, his cognition and language clocked in around 19 months and his motor skills were 18 months. He had a major meltdown and a monster-sized toddler tantrum so he refused to do half the stuff they required of him. I don't know how much that skewed the results, but I am assuming it did. I was sweating when we walked out of there from trying to wrestle him into his chair, but it is over and done with and I have 6 months to recover until the next follow-up in December which will be study related. At least I think it will be study related.

He weighed in around 24 pounds (again wouldn't sit still), length was 85 cm and head 49.5 cm. That puts him in 10-25th% for weight and length and 75th% for head circumference. Yes, the kid's head is HUGE!

He did, however, sit and finish a 7 piece puzzle and for those of you who know Jacob the fact that he even sat in his chair that long is a feat in and of itself! I was so proud! Maybe there is hope for him after all. :) Everyone who meets Jacob or knows him always comments on how "he never walks, he only runs". Welcome to my life!

Friday, June 25, 2010


Those of you that know me well know that I rarely buy ANYTHING without a coupon. I am always on the hunt for the best bargain and use coupons when making any type of purchase (groceries, clothes, toys, restaurants, etc.). My favorite thing to do lately is my weekly Target run with the kids. I pick up a few essentials like toiletry items and groceries, but usually I comb the aisles looking for end caps stocked with clearance items. Usually I find some discontinued food items that we like for half off or some health and beauty deals, but this week I found the best deal of all:
This is the Safety 1st No-Pinch Table and 4 Chairs. It retails for $49.99, but apparently it has been discontinued and Target is selling them for $12.48!!!!! I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. It comes in a rather large, flat box, but you better believe I picked that sucker up by the packing tape and dragged it all the way to the front registers while trying to maintain control of my double stroller. A few people stared and one person asked me if I wanted a hitch, but at my local Target it was the last one on the shelf and I wanted it. It is perfect for the arts and crafts projects I have been doing with Jacob and will be great for coloring....once Jacob stops eating crayons and uses them to draw.

A few new things I discovered this week at my local TRU is a line of infant toys called Bruin. I had never heard of them before or seen them at my other local BRU/TRU, but they are relatively cheap and after playing with them for a few days alongside Grace they seem to be pretty well constructed. I bought her this and this to replace this which Jacob chewed to bits....literally. I would highly recommend this line to anyone looking for infant toys in the 0-15 month range. The prices are much lower than the similar Melissa and Doug and Fisher Price toys and seem to work just as well, if not better!!

The last thing I discovered this week is the Target up&up brand of Diapers. I have been a Pampers snob since the day Jacob was born. Everyone raved about them and they worked from day 1 so I bought them. As usual, I hunted down coupons left and right to knock $6 off of every box I bought in bulk from BJ's and thought I was scoring a huge deal. Then the Cruisers fiasco happened and although my kids developed severe diaper rashes recently I figured it was probably more heat rash than Cruisers related.

Either way, I decided to start trying out different brands in case I had to make the switch so, off I went to Target where I bought 3 mega packs of Luvs, Huggies and up&up. The first thing I noticed was the price difference. WOW! For roughly 100 diapers (give or take a few) Huggies and Pampers were by far the most expensive choice at $29.99 a box. Luvs was second at $17.99 and up&up was only $13.69 PER BOX. I was in disbelief and couldn't believe I hadn't thought of switching sooner. I assumed they must be pretty low quality being that cheap, but regardless I bought a pack of each to try at home.

I liked the Luvs okay. We didn't have any leaking, but the diapers were very plastic-y feeling (for lack of a better term) and I didn't like that.

The Huggies didn't leak either, but the inside lining of the diaper broke up into chunks when wet which I found disturbing.

Next, I tried the Target brand and I was blown away! They were by far the best out of the three AND the most inexpensive. They were similar in quality to Pampers and I was sold! I am on my second box already and still in love. The only complaint I have is that the diaper size is on the inside of the right side tab so you have to open the tab to find out what size diaper you have and if you have kids in different sizes this might be irritating, but other than that I am a huge fan! I am thinking of trying their wipes out next so I can switch from the Pampers Sensitive. I have also heard great things about BJ's Berkley and Jensen brand of diapers so if anyone has a review on those let me know. I would love to find a diaper I can buy in bulk, but for now I am happy with my Target find!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sesame Place 2010

Over Memorial Day weekend we took a road trip to Sesame Place in PA.

The Thursday before Memorial Day we headed out for Western PA around 5 PM with the expectation that we would drive as far as possible while the kids slept and then stop for the night somewhere out in PA. We decided the longer portion of the trip they were sleeping the better. We made it to Parsippany, NJ (which was good enough for us) and called it a night.

The next morning we loaded up, stopped for a quick breakfast at DD, drove for a couple of hours, stopped for lunch and then finished up the last few hours of the drive. Overall, it was not a bad trip and we only had to use Elmo and our portable DVD player for the last 45 minutes!

The first part of our vacation we stayed with friends in Boswell, PA over Memorial Day weekend. Jacob enjoyed chasing the chickens around Cal's yard as seen here:

On Monday night, we once again bathed the kids, put them in their PJ's and loaded them up for the short 4.5 hour trip to Langhorne, PA where Sesame Place is located. The first day we were in Langhorne there was a threat of thunderstorms and Grace was feeling a little under the weather so we decided to postpone Sesame for a day and headed into Philly to drive around, take in the sights and crossed the border into Camden, NJ to spend the afternoon at the Adventure Aquarium:

The following morning we woke up bright and early and headed over to Sesame Place. The first hour we spent there was pretty dramatic and we almost ended up leaving. First, we headed over to security with our bags to get searched and then headed to the gate with our tickets which were printed at home on our computer. They were missing a bar code so we had to step out of line and head over to Ticket Sales to get that situation squared away. After that, we waited in line to have our bags searched....AGAIN! We proceeded to the gate and once inside the park started organizing ourselves and realized we forgot something. As I was searching my purse for the keys to the car so Ian could run out to get it we realized the keys were missing! After 20 frantic minutes we found the keys....in the ignition of our parked car in general parking. At least it wasn't running!

We headed over to the carousel and waited in line with Jacob for his first ride of the day. I got my camera out, Ian loaded Jacob and buckled him in and immediately he wanted off. We were starting to think that this was a bad idea, but we swapped Jacob out with Gracie who enjoyed every minute of the carousel. I should mention that the day we decided to go to the park was also 91 degrees and humid. AWESOME! We decided to sit in the cafe, have a snack and cool down in the AC and fortunately from there the day got much better. Jacob rode on the flying fish ride twice (once with Mama and again with Daddy). Daddy and Jacob also rode on the teacups. Jacob was not a big fan of the rides and although he didn't cry he did clutch our arms through all three rides so we figured since it was 90 and disgustingly hot out we would take advantage of the water park.

This is where Jacob ended up spending 99% of his day and had a blast. We stayed on Count's Splash Castle the entire day and Ian and I took turns taking Jacob out. Grace was due for a nap so she slept in the stroller while I laid out in the sun for awhile on a lounge chair. Eventually, we had to get Jacob out because his lips were turning blue, but he would've stayed in there all day if he had it his way. We ended up meeting Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Super Grover and Elmo and Jacob hugged all of them. He kept grabbing Big Bird's beak so we have no pictures of that, but Jacob had so much fun and the trip was definitely worth it. I think the park is ideal for 3-4 year olds and we can't wait to take him back next Summer when Grace is a little older and can enjoy it more. We also learned a few lessons in organization that I will share with those of you who might want to take a trip there:

  • DO bring a wagon if you have one. Strollers are a pain in the neck and when you are bouncing back and forth between the water park and the rides you don't want soaking wet kids trying to get in and out of a stroller when they don't want to walk anymore. Also, if your stroller does not have a cup holder or a big basket (like ours) a wagon is more handy to store things.
  • DO dress in swim gear and bring a change of clothes. Most people did this and we decided to do the opposite. We wore our clothes and brought swim gear with us which was pointless since we changed into swim gear right away and spent most of the day in it even on rides.
  • DO make a list at the hotel of things you need to bring in the park. Otherwise you will spend 1 hr and 45 min at the gate running back and forth to the car for little things like sun block, sunglasses, hats...oh and KEYS! ;)
Overall, we had a good trip and are even thinking about planning another road trip this Fall. Our next mini-vacation is going to be to Story Land at the end of the Summer and I am excited since Grace could *possibly* be walking by then and go on some rides as well!

Here are the rest of our pics from Sesame Place and our road trip in general:

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