We received our first snowfall on Saturday, and you wouldn't believe the excitement in our house (including myself)!! I just love the snow! It snowed all day, and it was pretty wet and slushy, so we waiting until Sunday to go out and play. We had a very small window of opportunity, because the temperature was going up, but we definitely took advantage of it! The girls all love to go sledding, and they have chosen our front yard to do it in. No, we don't really have a hill in our front yard, per se, but it is enough of a decline that the sleds move (when given a big push by me). No matter what, we had a fantastic time playing, and we stayed out until our yard was more mud than snow. As in all things we do now, Erin can't wait until our next snow and we have SOLOMON with us.
Yes, this is our very small snowman. He doesn't look very happy about his size either, but he is trying to show off his muscles!! Ha! All three girls made contributions to this little guy, and they were extremely happy to see that he was still there this morning as we left for school. I'm not so sure that will be the case when they get home....
Erin was trying to push herself back up the hill in her sled when her sisters came down and pushed her all the way back. The smile on her face is evidence that she wasn't too upset about it! However, she had been working really hard to get back up by herself, getting mad at me if I tried to give her any help.
I haven't even gotten photos of the girls playing in the leaves yet (because they're still on the tree). Those are usually some of my favorite pics every year! As you can see, some of the leaves are actually still GREEN. Most of these leaves fell during the snowfall.
I wrote all about SOLOMON's big day on our other site, but I wanted to share some of our photos here. I didn't have the opportunity to take many pics that day, because both ceremonies were inside the prison, and we weren't allowed to take our cameras inside. They did have a few photographers there, and we should be getting copies of the photos fairly soon. I will post some when I get them. Anyway, it was an absolutely FANTASTIC day full of excitement and wonderful people. We will begin our transfer training very soon with SOLOMON, and we should have him with us full time right before Christmas. The excitement in our house is building!!!
Taylor and her friend Madison at the
reception. They had a great day
This is Jade and her new love, Nikki!
Nikki's owner, Sharon, thought she
might have to take Jade home with
her too! Jade absolutely loves this
Jade took about 30 minutes to say goodbye!
She couldn't bear to let her go.
This was the only picture I got of all three
girls with SOLOMON that day. We were
just getting ready to go, and we had to say
goodbye to him.
I just want to remind everyone to watch TLC tonight at 9 pm ET. The show we are on, called "Conjoined Twins: After Separation" is going to air. We had the opportunity to watch it this afternoon, and it is outstanding! You will get to see Erin and SOLOMON together. I will post more about this tomorrow, and we would love to hear what you think of the program. Our internet and phone are down right now, so I am posting this through my phone, and it's way more effort than I have time for now. We just got back from our trip to WV for SOLOMON's graduation, and we're still trying to unpack and get the girls ready for bed. The weekend was fabulous, and we were thrilled to spend time with the amazing friends we have met on this journey, and Erin was ecstatic to see her dog. We won't have him with us full time until right before Christmas, but we are one step closer. If anyone is interested in learning more about paws4people, the organization giving Erin her service dog, you can visit their website at http://www.paws4people.org
More tomorrow. Have a great night! Enjoy the show! ;0)
This is the show we have been working on with Figure 8 Films. There are two other sets of formerly conjoined twins who will share the hour with us. We can't wait to see it, because we know it is going to be fantastic! Please watch it (or TiVo it, DVR it, or record it with whatever means you have)! :0) Oh, BTW, these were the post cards they sent to us so we could send them out. Obviously I couldn't send them to everyone (we don't have your addresses), but we wanted to share it with you. O.k., so here is the key information: November 15th (Sunday night), TLC (The Learning Channel), 9 p.m. (Eastern time), "Conjoined Twins After Separation".
Thank you to everyone who has always been so extremely supportive through the years. We could not have made it this far without you! We love you all!!!
Here are the photos from our trip to Baltimore in October (finally). I mean, that's not too bad... it's only November! The pics definitely don't do our trip justice, especially when Erin started initiating some steps. You'll just have to watch the videos to see that! :0) It was an amazing week of physical therapy, and we couldn't be happier with how hard both Erin and Taylor worked. Absolute heroes, both of them! And Jade did a great job helping out and being a good distraction. We're so proud of them all!
I have finally uploaded some of the photos from our trip to the beach. As you will see, we truly had an amazing time! I literally have hundreds more, but these were a few of the best. I will keep working on this, trying to catch up. Please enjoy!
OMGoodness, I can't believe how much they have grown! I compared these to the photos from last year on the first day. It's just amazing! Can you see their excitement? They all picked out their clothes for the first day of school. Check out our other site to read about their first week of school and Erin's trip to the hospital (again). O.k., I know I have also promised pictures of our trip to the beach as well as from our last trip to Kennedy Krieger, and I promise that I haven't forgotten, I just truly haven't had time. I will get to it eventually, but I had to post these first.
We got Taylor's hair cut a few days before school started. She looks beautiful and so grown up!
Erin's backpack is still almost as big as she is, but it's definitely not as cute. She was so proud of her new outfit.
Jade (and Nellie) were ready for their first day. She has overcome (for the most part) her separation anxiety and has been such a brave girl. We're so proud of her!
Please watch Erin as she shows off how she can transfer from her wheelchair all by herself. This is HUGE and gives her one more way in which to be independent (very important to a 5 year old little girl). She can't wait to show her therapists, both at Kennedy Krieger and at school. She is so proud, and so are we! Here is the video.
Let us know what you think, so we can share it with Erin.
Here are a few of our photos from our trip to Minnesota. Most of these are from our stay at the cabin and some of our fun at the family reunion. I have many more to load, but I thought I would start with these.
Our beautiful niece/Goddaughter, Elizabeth having fun with her cousins. She had surgery on her jaw while we were in MN, but we were still able to see her a few times.
Here is the wonderful ramp that my brother built for Erin. They will actually be able to move it to the garage until the next time we visit. Thanks Mike!
This was right after we got to the cabin. It was probably in the 60's, but Jade insisted on going in the water.
The day after we arrived, the temperatures reached a high of 58 degrees. As you can see, the girls didn't let that stop them from going in the lake. I wouldn't call it swimming, because they never went in deeper than their waists, but they certainly went in much farther than I did (which was not at all).
Doesn't this just look cold? My sister took the girls out onto the dock to enjoy the wind and frigid temperatures! I stayed back to take the photos. :0)
Not to be outdone by her sisters, Erin took the plunge for about two minutes. That was enough for her to know that her sisters were a little crazy. But at least she can say she went in too.
Yes, that is Erin standing in front of the ladder. We were able to find the right position where she could support herself standing for short periods of time. Very exciting to see!!
Taylor riding the innertube for the first time. She LOVED it!!
Erin and Aunt Dee Dee riding the tube. I had some serious tears watching them!
Jade rode on the tube for the first time with her cousin Mitch, who was very protective of her. They had a great time! However, Jade did ride by herself later.
Born as a conjoined twin and separated on June 19, 2004. Erin suffered spinal cord ischemia (stroke to her cord) sometime during the surgery, leaving her paralyzed from mid-chest down. It is a blessing that she survived the surgery and the stroke, and she is truly a gift from God.
Jade is Erin's identical twin sister. While she outwardly seemed to have the most complications during the separation surgery, she deals with very few long term affects of being conjoined. You will likely find Jade running to get somewhere, and she keeps us laughing with the things she says. Jade is another gift from God!
Taylor is our sweet girl who truly is a Joy. When she was 3 years old, we found out that she had a tumor at the base of her spinal cord. It was exactly one year after her sisters' separation surgery. This spinal cord lipoma, while benign, was wrapped around her spinal cord, completely enmeshed with her nerve roots. The tumor was tethering her spinal cord, and Taylor was losing function in her bladder, bowel and right leg. During the first surgery, they were able to remove approximately 60% of the tumor. Her cord became retethered almost immediately because of scar tissue, and Taylor had her second surgery in September of 2007. We are fairly certain her cord is retethered again, but because the risk with each surgery on her spinal cord increases exponentially, Taylor's neurosurgeon wants to postpone another one as long as possible. We now weigh the risk of losing more function from her tethered cord with the risk of losing function from the surgery. There is a fine line. Despite all of this, Taylor maintains her positive attitude and has a very sunny disposition. We could not be more blessed!
Jade Hope and Erin Faith Buckles were born on Thursday, February 26, 2004. They are true miracles who have beaten the odds. Conjoined from mid-chest to naval, the girls shared a pericardium (sac around the heart), diaphragm and liver. Their hearts shared a small electrical connection and beat in synch. Erin's heart was 60% in Jade's chest. These beautiful babies were born to Marine Gunnery Sergeant (now Master Sergeant) Kevin Buckles and his wife Melissa. They were also welcomed into this world by their brother, Kevin Jr., and sister, Taylor Joy.
Erin and Jade were successfully separated on Saturday, June 19, 2004. They returned home on Friday, July 2, 2004, just 13 days after surgery. We later learned that Erin suffered a stroke to her spinal cord that left her paralyzed from mid-chest down. The damage occurred at the T3-T7 levels of her spinal cord. The injury is considered incomplete, so we have great hope for at least some recovery.
Taylor Joy was diagnosed with a tumor on her spinal cord in June of 2005, and she has undergone 2 surgeries since then to try to preserve her ability to walk.