MORE THAN 4 – August & September

We have a new name for the blog.  If we were to have a reality show (and we won’t) Karl and I decided we would call it ‘More than 4’ which really holds true for us.  A special needs child, a diva and twins. Yes, we have 4 kids but it’s a bit more than most.  I am not saying we have it harder than anyone else because we don’t we just have a different mix of issues but I wouldn’t trade it for anything…  well, maybe some days – Just kidding!

Happy 1st Birthday Chance & Colin!

Karl and I cannot believe that a whole year has gone by and we made it to the boys 1st birthday!  It has been one hell of a year but we made it.  We celebrated with a red velvet cake the day of their birthday.  Boy was that a mess.  I don’t know what possessed me to make a red velvet cake as it took one whole package of wipes to clean the boys, their highchairs and the floor.  

                Chance                 Colin

   Getting ready for cake


1st Birthday party

On August 21st we celebrated their 1st birthday with family and friends.  We made if very simple with pizza, salad, fruit and cupcakes and of course alcohol.    


1st year well check

The boys had their 1st year well check and it was the best well check – gold stars all around.  First of all the boys weights are:  Chance 20 lbs 4 oz and Colin 20 lbs.  Cannot believe they were hovering around 3 lbs. each 1 year ago.  They are actually on a ‘normal’ weight chart now.  I typically really don’t care about the charts – rewind 6 years ago to Riley’s issues – but it is good to know.  Formula and baby foods are officially history in the Rissland house.  We are done with formula and on to whole milk. Boys don’t seem to have any issues with cows milk and are gulping it down.  We are down to our last few jars of baby food.  The boys prefer table food over the puree (don’t blame them) and they haven’t met a food they don’t like.  If I kept them in their highchairs all day and kept feeding them they wouldn’t stop eating – it’s incredible.  Karl and I often joke about the amount of food we will be going through. Thank goodness I have a Costco membership. The boys are also officially out of the infant car seats so the double snap and go is history as well. As far as milestones:  both are sitting very well, crawling, getting into sitting position from crawling, Colin is pulling up and cruising and Chance is just starting to pull up.  Since we correct their age for milestones they are certainly doing well when corrected to 10 months. 

1st Day of school for Riley

Riley headed off to his first day of school without a problem.  He loves to ride the bus and loves school. Everyone always asks me “what grade is Riley in?”  He is not in a ‘grade’ though he would be in 1st grade if he didn’t have delays due to his syndrome.  Riley is in what they call an MO class. MO stands for MODERATE and SNK stands for SPECIAL NEEDS KINDERGARTEN. He splits his day between the two and is also pulled out for what they call ‘specials’ where he might go to circle time with 1st graders.  He also has ST, PT and OT therapies at school .The school he is at is the hub for special needs programs in North Fulton County.  He basically did the same thing last year so he is repeating what he did but based on the level he should be at for his developmental delay and his IEP – Individual Education Plan. There is a daily communication log between me and his teacher and so far he is doing and adjusting well.


A visit to the Emory Johns Creek NICU

I took the boys back to the hospital NICU. The nurses and doctors couldn’t believe how big they were. It was so good to see them and catch up. I know I have mentioned this before and I will mention it again – Emory Johns Creek is a wonderful hospital. Being told by my doctor that night when all the EMS people were in m room that I wasn’t going to make it to Northside where all my doctors and pediatricians were was a very scary unknown but I cannot tell you what white glove service they gave me, my family and the boys from the moment I made my grand entrance that night until the day the boys were discharged.  The nurses and I reminisced about that night and joked about my grand entrance and how they had to pull several nurses and doctors away from what they were doing to tend to me and the boys.  We still laugh about it to this day though it was a scary night.  I still can’t believe it has been a year.  I also want to mention Carla.  Carla was the EMS lady that escorted me to the hospital riding with me the whole way in the back on all fours etc, etc….  She was so calming and helpful and was worried about us after she left.  She was so concerned that she found Karl on Facebook which led to me and we have been friends ever since. I also met up with her at the fire station a week prior to my NICU visit to catch up with her and for her to meet the boys.   I owe it all the the wonderful team of folks at both the Alpharetta fire station on Park Bridge and The Emory Johns Creek Hospital – Thank you!


Calloway Gardens

Karl participated in the MS Ride at Callaway Garden’s in GA the weekend of September 10-12th.  He biked approximately 80 miles in 2 days.  Since he was going to be done with the first 40 miles at noon on Saturday we decided that I would bring the kids down and hang out.  My friend Meaghan and I packed up the kids on Saturday morning and headed down.  We enjoyed seeing all the excitement with the riders and event tents on Saturday, had lunch and then headed to the lodge where we were staying to enjoy the pool for the rest of the day.  We had all 4 kids in a hotel room with 2 adults.  Interesting trying to get everyone to bed in one room but we did it.  You are asking “Where was the 3rd adult?”  Well, since Karl went down on Friday night he decided to sleep in a tent – yup that is Karl… loves to camp and since bringing a tent was an option that is what he did.  So he slept in the tent for 2 nights while Meaghan and I and the kids were in a very nice lodge & spa room with 4 kids.  Karl hung out to help us with the kids before he went back to “tent city”.  The next day (Sunday) we met up with Karl at the finish line as he rode in and finished the race.   We all were so proud of him for raising the money for Multiple Sclerosis and finishing the ride.  Thanks to all who donated to his ride!


Disney – Here we come!

So we had a sneak peak of what is it like in a hotel room with 4 kids before we head down to Disney in November.  We decided to go and see my parents for Thanksgiving this year in Venice, Florida but on our way down we are going to hit the Magic Kingdom for 2-3 days.  My parents are going to meet us in Orlando to help us with the kids and to enjoy our first trip to Disney with the kids together.  Karl and I have always said we weren’t going to go to Disney until the boys were at least 4 or 5 years old but Riley and Reese are at a good age.  Riley is really into Toy Story and Reese is all about Cinderella right now. So we decided on a short stay for now and when the kids are older we will go much longer.  I cannot believe how overwhelming it is to book a Disney vacation for only 2 days/3 nights. So much to choose from and making sure you make the right choice for the amount of money you can spend at Disney.  I surely didn’t want to break the bank for only 2-3 days.  We decided on only going to the Magic Kingdom since the kids are little and we could cover it in 2 days.  The last time Karl and I were at Disney was 14 years ago for our honeymoon so we are looking forward to it with the kids.  Look for an update later this year on that trip.  I am sure I will have lots of ‘More than 4’ stories to tell.

One thought on “MORE THAN 4 – August & September

  1. I loved loved loved what I have read so far!! This blog should be a book to sell~ I can’t wait to finish reading it! Your a beautiful , wonderful family!! God bless you ALL! Love and kisses, cousin Sandy Castellana Amicone~ Hope to meet you all one day. You are truly blessed.


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