Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Day is Over

Their first birthday is over :( It was an awesome day with very little crying and that was a nice change.

I put Brandon in the standing position, but look at the height difference between them.
They put themselves in this position and I couldn't resist a picture.

What does a gift card taste like???? It's tastes BLEH.
Woo hoo Mommy...GIFT CARD...YAY!!!

See it?? Huh mommy...can't you see it...isn't it cool????

Birthday Breakfast

I got up EARLY this morning to make the boys' birthday breakfast, but they decided to sleep in really late! They had homemade pancakes with a B & C made out of cherries.

They loved their balloons!
Brandon figured his out right away. They'll be playing with them all day I'm sure!


I found these videos last night when I was looking through old pictures. I don't think I've ever seen these, and if I did, I don't remember. Since Eric had to work, I spent most of the day in the NICU by myself. He would go up there in the evening to drop off more breast milk and spend some time with the boys while I was at home sleeping. I'm pretty sure that's when he took these videos. The noises in the background brought back all kinds of memories. The first one is Brandon and the second one is Connor. I think they were about 5 days old when he took these.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One Year Ago...

...I was on the phone with my doctor's office trying to figure out if I was in labor...8 weeks early! I can't even think back that far. Thank goodness for cameras and technology because it's hard to remember what went on that night. It's all such a blur! I remember counting my contractions, and they were 4-1-1, calling the doctor and him putting me on some motrin, the next thing I knew the nurse said I was 7 cm dilated, and a blink later I hear two screaming (thankfully) babies. The next 2 months were even more blurry. I'm very thankful for the care all 3 of us received, for the prayers for the boys' health, and most of all for the support from my family and friends over the last 7 months of Eric's deployment. We are half way through, and so far so good! I guess I never realized how strong I really am. The NICU process was very tiring, deployment has been very rough, but at the end of the day I have 2 healthy, handsome, absolutely charming little boys in my life and I couldn't be more blessed.


The very last picture of me pregnant

Brandon asleep in his NICU warming bed the day he was born. Yes...that's a preemie diaper and it's huge on him! He still sleeps like this.
Connor all hooked up to his monitors taking a snooze after a very unexpected delivery into this world.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Just Checkin' In

I know I haven't posted anything in a few days, but things are just fine in the Danko house! The boys are about 90% better with a few tissue wipes instead of MANY! They are both teething big time, so there's still a lot of crying, but the crying spurts usually only last a few seconds. They cry about it, and then go play with a toy! Tonight, they were being especially cute....

Connor was playing peekaboo with me over the side of the couch.
He looks like the una-baby-bomber!
Here's my little man with a nice sweet smile on his face. I gave in and let them have the pacies this week. I had to do what I had to do to achieve some sanity.

The boys are still my little champion eaters! They have passed the allergy waiting period for cherries and zucchini! I tossed their noodles with olive oil and parmesan cheese for lunch! Brandon put those noodles down so fast that it was hard to keep any on his tray. For dinner, I experimented with some pineapple baked chicken and it was a success!!! I even had a little that they didn't eat and I have to say it was pretty tasty. They also had their first grilled cheese sandwich, one of my personal favorites, and devoured it as well.

It's hard to believe that they will be 1 on Wednesday. We are going to wait until Eric comes home for R&R to celebrate with cake and all that good stuff. However, I'm going to give them mac and cheese for the first time...another one of my all time favorites! I have a recipe for some homemade mac & cheese with veggies hidden inside. I'm sure they'll love it.

Eric will be home in February for 18 days. We have lots photos, lots of family time, the boys' birthday party, yearly vet visit for the pups, maybe a day trip to Raleigh, and hopefully some time for us to be alone. A few of my neighbors have offered to come sit with the boys so Eric and I can go out. It's been 7 months since the 4 of us have been a family and we can't wait to be a 4-some again. So, if there aren't any posts on the blog, or if we aren't answering the phone, or if we aren't even answering the front door...don't worry! That just means we are being a family of only 4!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Puppy Kisses

Brandon's Narration

Brandon narrated a super cute story for our dedicated readers last April or May and he's ready to do it again!

Hey Rena...I bet you won't lick my fingers...
I double "dog" dare you to lick my face...
UNCLE UNCLE're tongue is tickling me!!!

Puppy Love

The boys had a puppy play date this afternoon while I finally got a chance to sit down and eat some lunch. Rena is a very sweet, gentile, and slightly shy dog (not when it comes to squirrels though). She sits and waits for the boys to come to her and then she showers them with kisses!

The dogs love to lick the insides of their ears...yuck!
You can see her pink little tongue lapping up any leftover lunch off B's face!
Here's Connor giving Rena an open mouth kiss, and Jade sitting every so patiently while Brandon grabs her dog tags. Jade is a very hyper lab who THINKS she's a lap dog, but when she's around the boys, she's very docile and laid back.

Yummy Turkeyballs

Now that the boys have mastered chicken, which they prefer baked with olive oil, salt, and pepper, it's time to work on turkey. It's not practical for me to buy a turkey, cook it, and freeze it like I do with everything else. There's a recipe in my Sneaky Chef cookbook for turkey meatballs, but I had to modify it a little. Brandon is allergic to eggs, and I'm not ready for them to have tomato sauce yet since it's acidic and will most likely send his eczema into SHOCK. So, I took 3/4 lb ground turkey, one stage 2 green beans, one stage 1 sweet potato (both left over from my emergency baby food stash), 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and about 2-3 tbsp wheat germ. I smashed it all together, used my awesome pampered chef scooper and scooped them into a baking dish that I sprayed with olive oil. I topped them off with a little bit of pepper and some parm cheese. I baked them in the oven for 11 minutes at 350 and VOILA...TURKEYBALLS. I tasted one, and I can definitely taste the vegetables, but once I can mix in the tomato paste, I bet that flavor will hide it for me. We'll see if the munchkins like them tonight for dinner.

Whatever it takes

I've been doing whatever it takes to get these guys to be happy and not cry the last few days. I think we're finally getting better! Brandon is coughing pretty hard, but the breathing treatments seems to take the edge off for him. We had minimal crying yesterday and that was a wonderful thing. Amongst all of the runny noses, Connor has cut 4 more teeth! I'm sure that is the reason for the bulk of his sadness! Connor started playing with the laundry basket, and it made them both laugh, so I jumped on it!!!

Mooooooommmmmmmm...why did you put me in here???
Brother...come out and play!
Slight smile from Connor!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

For the love of tissues...

The boys have both been pretty sick the last few days. They have the typical "kids cold" that includes a runny nose, occasional cough and a TON OF CRYING! There has been constant crying at my house for the last 2 almost 3 days. They don't have fevers, are eating well, don't have green runny noses, and aren't tugging in their ears, so I'm pretty sure it's not an ear infection. It's just a plain old virus. They had a nice long bath last night with the vapor baby wash and it was the only time neither of them cried for a 20 minute period. We did venture out to Target yesterday because I was going out of my mind, and they were perfect little angels the whole time..until we got home!!!! At least they know how to act in public. Today is supposed to be the meeting for the talent search company, but there's no way I would leave these little guys with anyone today. I really don't think anyone else could handle the crying. I called the commander's wife and she is going to ride with me to the meeting. They love riding in the car and I'm hoping they'll take their afternoon nap! I'm going to pop in and see if there are any handouts and then head back home. At least I'm making the effort!

Connor loves to play with the hair washing cup!
Bubbles taste good mommy!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Brandon loves...


The loved the cheesy crackers I made them. Now I can add those to the long list of things they love to eat...Blueberries, rhubarb, bananas, apples, pears, peaches, mango, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, lima beans, edamame, green beans, carrots, and peas! I'm going to add zucchini in a few days. They love the vegan homemade pancakes and waffles I make them as well. I found a really neat vegan website that I use a lot to make common foods that normally have egg in them. Amen for the world wide web!

The Boys' First Snow

It snowed here in NC today and of course I had to take their picture in the snow!

You can't really see the snow falling...
but you can see it in their hair

I know this picture is dark, but you can see the snow covered ground, house and cars. It's supposed to stay below freezing all day tomorrow and most of this watery snow will probably become ice.
Here's a picture of the back porch.

I'm sure the schools in this area will be closed on Monday. They had delays on Friday because it was raining and it was cold...not quite freezing though! It's not like living in upstate NY or in the midwest...that's for sure.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Last post today...I promise

I've been meaning to post this and keep forgetting. The boys got called back from the talent search thingy we went to last week. I have to go to another meeting on Tuesday to see what all this will entail from me as well as the boys. As of right now, my neighbor and her little girl have not gotten called back so she has agreed to watch the boys for me since no children are allowed at the meeting. It's's in the middle of their nap time anyway. We'll see what happens!

My New Favorite Cookbook

Since having kids, I'd had to give up a lot of extra things in my life like going to the gym everyday, getting my nails done, being able to shower everyday, and cook. Now that the boys are eating almost all table food, I'm getting a chance to enjoy cooking again. Since Brandon has some severe allergies, I read all the labels on foods and much to my surprise, most foods contain eggs and or nuts. I really want to feed my kids as little processed/boxed foods as possible, and Brandon's allergies only make it that much more important. I wish I could have breastfed longer than 5 months, but I feel that I redeemed myself by making all of their baby food. I bought a box of Gerber cheese crackers, but couldn't understand all of the ingredients on the box. I don't eat that stuff, why should they??? SO...I bought a cookbook called the Sneaky Chef. I saw this on the Today show a long time ago and knew I wanted to try it. She tells you ways to "sneak" in all kinds of veggies, fiber, and fruits into foods that kids eat all the time anyway. Boy am I glad I bought the book! I made her Cheesy Animal Crackers tonight and they were easy and very yummy. Mine aren't technically animal crackers because I didn't have any animal cookie cutters, so I just cut them into squares. Here are the ingredients...plain and simple

Chickpea Puree (just a can of chickpeas pureed)
Low fat cheddar cheese (I used regular cheese...not the low fat kind)
Parmesan Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Onion Powder
Flour Blend (An even mix of white flour, whole wheat flour, and wheat germ)

They smell SO good and are very tasty. No MSG, high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils. Who needs goldfish crackers??? Not the Dankos!!!

I'm going to try her Mac and Cheese recipe next. There is cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and carrots hidden inside the cheese! I look at it this way, if the boys eat that kind of mac and cheese now, they won't know the difference. Sneaky sneaky.

The Boys' First Kiss

I was making come homemade crackers and the boys were kissing each other right outside the kitchen. I'm glad I had the camera right there so I could get it on video.

Brandon DID IT!

I can get frustrated at times. I feel that I work with the boys on certain milestones and I either don't see a result, or see a result sooner in one child than the other. Well, I can officially put that frustration behind me. Brandon is now starting to mimic me! I've been working SO HARD on their vocalizations and now I feel rewarded and proud of my men! We have a month to get DADA down pat before he comes home!

Rena loves her babies

Eric requested a video of the dogs and the ya go babe!

Sad Sad Babies

I think the boys are going through some serious teething as well as a growth spurt because they have been SO fussy and whiny the last few days. They were so ugly yesterday that I just put them in bed because there was nothing else I could do for them. They were both fast asleep as I walked out of their bedroom!!!! Here's a little video of them last night after baths while their bottles were warming. Poor sad sad babies

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Children's Museum

My neighbor, Celeste and I decided to take our kiddos to the children's museum today called Fascinate U. It's definitely a great place for 2 year olds and up. I just wanted to see what it was like! The boys did end up having a pretty good time there. We were the only people there, so I let the boys get out of the stroller and crawl around.

Mommy...we want to go BYE BYE
Unhappy joker
They had a dress up station for kids...wig anyone?
They had a really neat old time dental chair with a model to show kids how to brush. The brush was just a little big for them!

There was also a really cute little grocery store where the kids could pick up items and bring them to the register. Connor says...BROTHER FOR SALE!!!!

There were lots of different stations. Military one (of course) a news room, dress up, firetruck, ambulance, police truck, emergency room, dentist office, post office, court house, park, construction house, and the grocery. It's only $3 per kid and $1 per adult. I only had to pay for me since the boys aren't walking yet. It'll be nice to take them back this fall sometime after they are walking and able to enjoy all the museum has to offer. It was nice to get out and do something different.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Baby Nuria

My friend Melissa came over today with her one month old baby girl, Nuria. Nuria happens to be a city in Spain...that's where her husband got the name. Nuria has an older sister, Aria, who was at her babysitter's house this morning. Brandon was very sweet towards the baby and touched her very gently. It was nice holding a little bitty baby again. The boys weren't too keen on me holding her. They wanted to be in my lap too, but it was neat to see them interact with another baby in the house. Melissa and Nuri stayed for about 3 hours while the boys slept.

Connor has mastered standing and pushing the buttons on his mobile! Way to go buddy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fort Danko

Out of boredom, I made the boys a fort to play with. I put a baby gate halfway up the doorway and then draped a blanket over it. It took them a few minutes to figure out how to go under the blanket to get to the other side. Once they figured it out, it was fun. They were fussy this morning, so Connor is a little upset but it's cute nonetheless!

The boys and I both have cabin fever!!! We're heading to the mall to mall walk this afternoon. I'm also going to run to the dealership and pay for the repairs on the Explorer! I'll worry about picking it up later. For now, we're all smashed in the Taurus!!!! I'm looking forward to holding a new baby tomorrow! One of the other dentist's wife is coming over tomorrow with her one month old and I can't wait! BABIES!!!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Videos for fun

Being a kid is all about having fun and laughing at nothing!

Th boys still love to play with their pacies. They don't get them in the car anymore...only at bedtime or very close to bed time.

Mr. Repeat

I work with the boys and their vocalization skills a little bit each day. Connor is really starting to catch on! He can hear the sound and repeat it. Here's a little clip!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Just another day at the Dankos

Today wasn't different than any other day...just as goofy as the others. Here are a few more pictures and you can really see their teeth in these!!!

Hey MAMA...see my teethers????

You can really see Brandon's teeth in this shot. They are working their way in!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

We wanna go MOM!!!!

The boys LOVE to watch out the front door!

Just some pics

We obviously haven't gotten out much...that's why I've been posting so much stuff! Here are just some cute pictures of the munchkins.

Here's Brandon figuring out all of the buttons and knobs on his little activity toy.
This is how Connor greeted me this morning when I went to retrieve them from their cribs. He likes to turn his mobile on and off. That's how I knew they were awake this morning.
We've officially replaced the morning feeding with a sipee cup. I might as well get started on that. Connor actually drank out of the regular cup today! They did OK with the cups, but I had to help hold them UP a little. Once they get used to this, we'll take away the lunch bottle. I'm guessing I'll wait about 2 weeks or so unless they "tell" me differently. I'd like to be off the bottle by the beginning of March. They will technically only be 11 months old at that time, and I think that's a good goal to shoot for.