*******************The Adventures of **************** Zackary, Brycen and Cameron Tummers
-----------Dedicated, with love, to Cameron's twin brother, Cole who lost his battle to TTTS in Dec/08
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Merry Christmas from the Tummers Boys!!! It has been a very busy few weeks so I decided to just post all our holiday pictures at once. This was what our tree looked like on Christmas morning. We were aiming for a minimal Christmas and have decided to practice gift giving in honour of Jesus...he received 3 gifts on the very first Christmas and therefore, other than stockings, each member of our family only got 3 presents to open on Christmas morning as well. This worked well and kept the chaos to a minimum....but still we managed to have a crowded tree!!!
We celebrated with a few friends just before Christmas...and our boys got new pj's, books and movies.
Later that day we celebrated with the Ireland family at our annual holiday gathering. Cameron and Freya had a blast playing together. They are almost exactly 24 hours apart and both had some pretty serious stressful events in their early days so it was absolutely awesome to see them playing together like 9.5 month old babies should!
Cameron in his very adorable and very appropriate new monkey pajamas.
Cameron started a few creeping movements before Christmas and has been reaching up and getting into things. He cut his first tooth on Dec. 23rd and has also had his first (very nasty and gross) ear infection at the same time. He weighs 18lbs 4 oz, eats everything he can manage to get into his mouth as well as everything mommy feeds him on a spoon!!!
Christmas morning was lots of fun with all of our boys. Cameron enjoyed eating the paper and banging on his presents just as much as opening them. He got a lot of noisy music toys and has been motivated to practice his new army/inchworm crawl to get to them. Just today this movement became much faster and with purpose and we've decided NOTHING is safe from Cameron!!!
Never thought I'd see two boys so excited about new socks!!!
Our family gift was a Wii this year...it's the first year we've done a big gift (really our only gift besides clothes and one other toy). So far it has been an absolute blast to play and to watch. I'll have to take some pics and post them another time! Cameron got a new pair of jammies from his big brothers too...they and he are just so adorable...I had to post this pic! It was a very good Christmas at our house but it did have some bittersweet moments where we imagined what could have been. Cole, with Daddy's help, gave me a beautiful ornament titled, perfectly, You Will Always Have My Heart.
I had this message for him: Merry Christmas my sweet son, this first one without you is so hard. I miss you so very much. The ornament that Daddy helped you to give to me is so very perfect. I will always have your heart and you will always have mine. Enjoy this special day in Heaven...it is a season of Miracles and your twin brother Cameron shows me each and every day just what a miracle is! And a few snuggles later with that little miracle, a few adorable smiles later and... the love of our Christmas miracle surrounded me and the joy I felt at the knowledge that Cole was guiding us, loving us and spending Christmas in the best place of all, having birthday cake with Jesus made it all okay.
Yesterday marked the anniversary of the worst day of our lives...the day that we heard those awful words..."This baby doesn't have a heartbeat....I'm sorry, your baby has died". The world, crazy and chaotic as it was once we knew we were expecting twins, collapsed around us and we've been left picking up the pieces ever since. It's been a hard few days for me but today is a much better day. We did some amazing things yesterday to honour Cole including a sky balloon launch. I may post some pictures later on but there are shots of it in the video that I am posting here. I created this video as a tribute to our angel...a way to honour the life and journey of Cole, to inform others about TTTS and to remember the ways we've honoured him. Please post comments here or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org We want...no make that need to hear from our family and friends right now as we remember this precious little boy and his short little life.
"WORLD TTTS AWARENESS DAY is an international mobilization effort created by The Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation to increase awareness of the #1 problem facing multiples. It is crucial for women to get an ultrasound in the first trimester to identify multiples and then to determine whether there is one placenta or two. Women must learn the warning signs of TTTS, the 15 questions to ask at each ultrasound, and the available treatment options. World TTTS Awareness Day is about empowering parents and is filled with messages of Hope, Help and Encouragement. Your babies can make it and be healthy. Don't ever give up. Please, Get Educated, Get Ultrasounds, Ask Questions, Get Treatment and Get Involved! This day is also a remembrance day for all the babies who have had TTTS. Candles will be lit tonight across the world during the vigil and messages may also be left for your babies through lighting online candles."
We lit our candles and sat quietly and thought about where this journey has taken us. Awareness is the key. As I told our exchange student today, we knew TTTS existed but had no idea how serious it was or how devastating. We had no idea that identical twins had so many serious life altering issues that can occur...we had no idea that we could be a ticking time bomb. Our doctor did see me often enough, I did have my scans early enough and frequently enough but that was only because of scheduling mix ups and necessity for repeats due to the size of the boys. All identical twins should see a high risk specialist if one is available...there were tons available to us in London. But NONE of this would have saved our sweet Cole, nothing different would likely have happened except a lot of added early stress. God does work in wonderful ways! Missing you so much today my TTTS angel baby...and loving you so much too. Amazed by you my TTTS survivor and loving you till I feel like I could burst. I love you both so much!!!
The boys posed for this holiday shot for me last week after we got our tree up. The house is all decorated and the baking is started. Most of the gifts are bought and none of the cards are done. Oh well, I am just enjoying the time with my boys this year....who cares about what needs to be done! Brycen LOVED watching all the lights...he could hardly wait to see Santa's float but he got on the Kinsmen one about 1/3 the way through the parade and road with Daddy. Cameron wasn't too impressed with the parade...not enough movement for him I think. Hard to move when you are bundled up like the abonimable snowman! The Kinsmen float with Zack and Brycen on board! Zack seems to be at the age where Santa is cool as long as no one expects him to smile for a picture!!! He did get his gift requests in though!!! Typical Brycen, all grins and giggles. Cameron's first visit with the big guy.... he hammed it up and LOVED Santa and his beard. On Sunday we went to the CUPE 4186 (my union)'s Kids Christmas party. The kids had a blast with facepainting, colouring, playing, eating and, of course, Santa. They all got a great gift and the smiles were HUGE!!! Cameron just wanted the gift...kids sure learn early!!! Brycen talked and talked and talked to Santa...he was so excited!!! Not sure Zack was too comfortable with this Santa but he sure was excited about getting a present!
Our boys love to read and be read to. Zack is becoming a very good reader (he's actually reading to me right now as I type!!!). His brothers enjoy hearing him read...especially when they all lie around in the big boys room and 'hang out'. Just a cute shot of our smiley baby. He weighs 18 pounds now...that puts him about the 40th percentile for a 7.5 month old baby...the age he'd be if he'd been born on his due date. He's actually 9 months old this week and for that age he's around the 15th percentile. Our doctor is very pleased with his development...and so surprised when she saw him again after 5 months...she called him Mr. Piggy!!! We also saw the physio therapist last week and she has given us some new things to work on....mostly focusing on getting him to put weight on his arms, opening up his hands and beginning to move from seated to his belly as well as his back onto his side and up to sitting. He's a long way from being done with physio but is coming along well! Oh another cute one....too bad his Dad has such horrible taste in hockey teams eh! Cameron is 'blessed' to have 2 Montreal jerseys. This is another of his favourite places...the exersaucer. He loves to be on his feet...though one of the biggest reasons for this is actually a negative thing...it's easier to be on his feet and not using his arms or hands to get around, play or balance. Did I mention our kids LOVE books!!! He can even turn pages!!!
A late fall day of fun in the leaves. I think we took this picture when the weather was warm in early November. Brycen and Zack raked up a huge pile...which was amazing since we have almost no trees on our property....and they jumped in! They had so much fun that they had to get their brother to join them! (again not sure what's up with this underlining script) Brycen and Cameron have been having bubble baths lately and pretending to be Santa. Brycen has more of the Colonol Sanders look with his goatee!!! Three wet muskateers Not often we get Cameron quiet and still enough to get a shot like this!!! My boys picture for the holidays...I LOVE IT!!! Brycen at 3 yrs 4.5 mths Zack at 6 years 6 months
Happy Halloween from the Tummers! Brycen, Cameron and Mommy had a great time at a Halloween party at the library in Monkton.
We played a few halloween type games....Brycen's favourite was bobbing for apples.
On Saturday afternoon the boys, Geoff and our exchange student, Edith (sometime I'll post a picture of her...I promise) carved pumpkins. They had a great time until Brycen fell off the chair he was standing on and split his head open. We almost went to the hospital but decided it just wasn't how we wanted to spend Halloween night and thankfully it stopped bleeding quickly.
Here's the spooky end result!
Cameron dressed up as a tiger. We had planned to take him out for a little while but earlie that day he started running a fever and seemed to come down with the bug that Edith and I had had all week...could be H1N1...don't know and really aren't too concerned about it either. So instead he stayed home and watched all the spooks come to the door.
A pair of very excited trick or treaters headed out on Halloween night. They got TONS of candy and had a very good time. Geoff stayed home with Cameron and handed out treats for awhile and then we switched. We had about 75 kids come to our door this year.
Our very 'sharp' lion...sharp was Brycen's word choice because of the claws.
Zack chose his costume because he had the 'perfect' teeth for it...someday soon I hope he'll have some front teeth...it's only been almost 5 years since he knocked them out!!!
Just before we went out trick or treating to Cameron's one and only house...Cheryl, our babysitter.
Just had to add this 6th month picture of Cameron as it is so very adorable!!!
He continues to amaze us with his infectious smiles and laugh, his strength and his amazing personality. I am finding so much joy in being his mom lately. I find it remarkable as I post these Halloween pics that my blogging stopped with Halloween pictures last year at this time. In hindsight I wish I'd blogged all the way through the pregnancy and kept everyone updated as well as wrote I felt at the time. I can't change that but I will make sure that I keep a good account of our lives, the joy our children bring us and the zest we all have for life now.