Monday, May 30, 2011


I started babysitting when I was ten years old, for a neighbor. Yes. Ten. I also stayed home with my brothers, but that wasn't babysitting; that was survival. I babysat all the way through college; I was even a nanny for a year after college. I was good at it. That might sound a little cocky, but it's true, I gave my heart to every child that I took care of. I always hoped that someday I would have a babysitter for my kids that did the same.

Over a year ago, we moved here, and we hired Hannah (a missionary "kid") to watch Cece about 10 hours a week, so that I could take language lessons and take on other responsibilities on the Bteam. I get tears in my eyes when I think about how well Cece has been loved and cared for by Hannah. And, also Hannah demands the same respect from Cece that we do. To say that Hannah (whom Cece calls--Nanno) is amazing is an understatement.

Hannah is leaving for college in the states in just a few months. We are so going to miss her! (Her sister, Hayley, and brother, Noah, are on deck to take over for her, so our kids are in good hands! But, it won't be the same without Nanno!)

She is extremely gifted, and she recently did a photo shoot of the twins. Taking infant photos is not easy, and this was her first time--with twins! The photos are amazing. Check out some of her other work on flickr. (If you live on this side of the ocean, she is hoping to make some money before leaving for college!)

This is my favorite; if you look closely, you'll see that the boys are mirroring each other. They did this on their own. (Alex, left; Gabe, right)










Thank you, Hannah, for everything! You are a very special part of our family, and we are eternally grateful for all you have given us! We love you!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We're ALL Home!

I have so much to share . . .

I have no time.

However, I wanted to at least share that we are ALL home. After two weeks, we are all finally home. Last Tuesday, I went back into the hospital (an interim care section of the hospital--post NICU, for the boys) to be with the boys until they were both big enough to come home. I was there with them until Monday, when they were released. I'll write a blog post about that time another day (we have some precious pictures of Cece seeing her brothers for the first time--through the window)!

They boys are doing great! Our biggest challenge right now is feeding. They are eating well, but not breastfeeding long enough to get a full feeding (they are getting better at it every day, but they are so small, it really makes them tired). So, I breastfeed one boy, bottle feed him with the milk I pumped after the last feeding, breastfeed the other, bottle feed him, and then, pump. The whole process takes about an hour and a half, and they need to eat every three hours! Hence, no time. However, I'm glad they are eating well and growing.

We are so glad to be home! More pics and stories to come, but here's a picture that captures more than I could ever say!!

(Cece and Gabe)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Email: They Are HERE!

Hello friends and family...

What a week!!!

Let me start with the most important news (this is Brian). Last Saturday, Gabriel Roland was born at 10:15pm, weighing 2.25kg (about 5 pounds) and measuring 46 cm. One minute later, Alexander James entered the world weighing 1.85kg (a little over 4 pounds) and measuring 44 cm. They were at 34 weeks and 2 days.

(Gabe) (Alex)

The boys immediately breathed on their own and had great Apgar scores, but because of their weight, they were rushed to the NICU. Aleisha was amazing during surgery (and the doctors even commented on how impressed they were with how laid back she was). But immediately after surgery, she was rushed to ICU to begin a long, painful night in recovery.

I was able to go to the NICU to see the boys, touch them, and hear how well they were doing. But after about 30 minutes, I was headed home since I couldn’t see Aleisha or spend the night with the boys (a little unexpected to say the least).

The days that followed have been filled with ups and downs, confusion, joy, frustration, and a whole host of other emotions. The boys were struggling to eat in the first few days, put on an IV, at times given a feeding tube and were diagnosed with jaundice. We got to see them, hold them, and feed them (Aleisha, not me!) each day and even though they were losing weight (not unexpected), they were making very good progress.

On Wednesday, Aleisha was released from the hospital and came home. For her, that has begun the daily trip to the hospital to care and feed the boys. I am staying home with Cece, who is just absolutely dying to see her little brothers.

On Friday, we heard the great news that both boys were released from the NICU, taken off their feeding tubes, and no longer needing IVs or the UV light. This graduated them to intermediate care, where they will stay until they are strong enough to come home. The length of this is unknown, and we have heard 4 days to 2 weeks.

In the midst of this, we are finalizing the purchase of our home, completing the last steps to getting our car, and going through the details of getting the boys passports, registration, visas, and Czech health insurance.

On Friday night, as we were both feeling overwhelmed with it all, Aleisha reminded me that we have a healthy family of five right now and that is what really matters. And we need to stand firm knowing that God is fighting these battles.

While I don’t think we prepared ourselves for having babies in the NICU and not always being able to communicate and understand, we know that Gabe and Alex are getting amazing care from nurses and doctors who are focused on helping them grow healthy. There is just no question about that!

Please pray for those boys to continue to grow strong so they can come home, for Aleisha as she deals with the recovery of surgery, the care of the boys, the daily travel, the communication with the hospital staff, and the uncertainty on when she can bring the boys home, and for Cece and myself as we miss mommy being home (for countless reasons), and as we deal with not seeing the boys as much as we would like.

We have been led to prayer many times in the past week and have been grateful to experience almost immediate confirmation that God is hearing our pleas. We know our prayers have been joined by yours, and we are so thankful for that. We love you all so much for standing with us.

Can you believe they are here, they are healthy, they are growing, and they are alive!?!?

(Gabe) (Alex)

Brian (for all five of us)