Thursday, April 10, 2014

You guys are AMAZING!!!


Thank you! Thank You! THANK YOU!!!

Hey everybody!  We did it!  We've surpassed our goal of $13,800!
To be perfectly honest, we knew we were setting a high bar and had hoped to reach it with a last minute push at the very end...

We should have known just how AWESOME you all really are.

We cannot thank you enough for all that you've done to help us out.  Every donation - big and small - has gone to helping us to give back!

That said...

We have one more thing that will help us shatter our goal.

We've got an online auction.  And it's AMAZING!!!

We have some unbelievable items - autographed items, spa package, meals, and you're not going to believe this, but the Kansas City Chiefs donated a Suite Experience Package for 2 people that is out of this world!!!  2 tickets to a game in a Suite, Pregame on-field passes, and parking.  Normally this would cost $2500 per ticket. 

That's right.  WOW.

We need your help again spreading the word about the auction... Email, Facebook, Twitter... shouting to the rooftops.

The auction runs through April 24, 2014 at 08:30 PM CDT.

This is the cherry on top of the $13,800 sundae!

And here's some information for those of us who are joining us on the walk:

The Walk...
As the ambassador family, Team 138 will start and lead the Walk for Babies on May 10th. We'd love to have as many of you as possible walk with us. 

March of Dimes Walk for Babies
DMACC Campus - 2006 S Ankeny Blvd.
Saturday, May 10th 
Registration is at 8:30
Walk begins at 9:30 (we'll have coffee/donuts/bagels before!)

We need to compile a list of people planning to walk with us - both for the March of Dimes and for t-shirts! 

If you're planning to walk with us, please email Melissa - - with the names of your walkers and t-shirt size. We've found a very generous t-shirt sponsor, so we'll provide everyone on our team Team 138 t-shirts for free! (note, you don't need to sign up to walk on the MoD page, just email Melissa). 

After we get the list, we'll send an email closer to the walk with details for the morning of the walk.

After the walk...
As a small thank you of our appreciation, we're planning a little celebration after the walk. Details to come soon, but we're planning to meet for (free) lunch & beer at one of our favorite places! And would love to have you join us.

Again, huge thanks from the Vogel's. We're getting ready for a TV interview next week - we'll post the link once it's ready!

All our best to you and your families!

Mike, Melissa, Logan and Caroline

P.S. - It's still not too late to donate -

P.P.S. - If you'd like to listen to our interview from the Welcome Home Radio show on 1040 AM WHO, it's posted below!!!

And our recent stint on WHO-TV Channel 13!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Help us give back!

Hi everyone!

We’re doing things a little different this time, and I’m (Melissa) writing the blog update.

Why you may ask? Well, this one is very near and dear to my heart, so it only makes sense that I write this one.

As Mike alluded to in our last blog update, we’ve got some exciting news to share with everyone.

We’ve been asked to be the March of Dimes Ambassador Family for Central Iowa this year. They thought we had an amazing story that needed to be told, and we’re honored and thrilled to be presented this great opportunity.

What does this mean? It means that they’ll be using our family and our story to help raise awareness and funding for the March of Dimes. We’ll also be leading the March of Dimes Walk for Babies on May 10th.

If you would have told me years ago that one day that we would have a 1lb and 2.14lb baby, I would have told you were crazy. Never did it go through my mind that I’d watch my tiny little babies struggle and fight for months to survive. That’s not how life was supposed to work for us – we were going to have full-term, happy, healthy, chubby little babies. We’d bring them home and spend time playing, loving and sharing them with the world. 

But, as we all know, that’s not how our story goes. We had the help of many, many others (doctors, specialists, nurses, therapists, family, co-workers, and friends) who worked tirelessly to keep our tiny little miracles alive and healthy and support us as we helped them grow. And today, after our tumultuous roller coaster ride, we have two happy and healthy 3 year olds. We were told by many in the NICU, that the fact that our babies are both alive is a miracle, let alone healthy. 

We know part of this is due to some divine intervention, and lots of angels looking out for our sweet babies. But we also know that it’s due to those who have lived this roller coaster before us, many who didn’t have the happy ending that we have and the amazing research that has been done to make sure no one else has to have that outcome.

And that’s why we’re beyond excited to help raise money for the March of Dimes. We have benefited directly from their research, which in our case, proved to be lifesaving to our tiny miracles. 

Whether through their education, their research, or the vast support they provide, the March of Dimes is truly committed to healthy babies for everyone – not just those who are born prematurely. I was personally amazed to learn of all that they do to help out families with "normal and healthy" babies. The reach of the organization is vast and incredibly powerful.

What are our goals?

We spent 138 days in the Mercy NICU (the average NICU stay is 7 days) and hope to raise $100 for each day we spent there. 

We are asking everyone, in the spirit of the March of Dimes, to donate a minimum of one dime for every NICU day - just $13.80 - to our team.

Further, we're asking that you share our team - on Facebook, at work, at church, with friends - with 13 other people and ask them to help us exceed our goal of $13,800.

We’d also LOVE for you to join “Team 138” as we walk for babies on May 10th. We’re hoping that many of our friends and family will walk along side Logan, Caroline, Mike and I, to celebrate our two tiny miracles. I’m sure Logan and Caroline will be providing all with some free entertainment along the way as well.

Central Iowa March for Babies
May 10th, 2014 - DMACC Campus in Ankeny

So please join us - either as a walker - or lend your support financially: 

All of our best to each and every one of you and your families!

Mike, Melissa, Logan & Caroline Vogel

PS – a quick update on the babes…

Logan – also known as “Super Hero Logan” is doing great. He’s a smart little man, who loves the alphabet and likes to tell you what every letter in a word is. He loves to wear his super hero cape (normally only wearing a cape and Thomas the Train underwear) around the house yelling “Super hero to the rescue!”

Princess Caroline (she informed us she’s not a girl, she’s a princess) is doing wonderfully too. We’re thrilled to report that Caroline has finally made the physicians' growth chart for the first time in her life! She's in the 5th percentile, but it’s a start. Her g-tube hole has closed and no longer requires a bandage. She’s got some upcoming eye and cardiology appointments that we’re keeping our fingers crossed also provide good news.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

It's Been a While...

It's Been a While...

In honor of our tiny hurricanes turning three, we thought it was time for a blog update. We know it’s been a loooong time since the last blog update – but we’ll blame it on two three year olds, a new house, working full time and trying to get sleep when we can. On a side note, we used to call L&C “tiny tornados”, but that just didn’t seem to properly describe the amount of damage that the two of them can do in such a short amount of time. Hopefully we’ll never make it to the tsunami stage…

We are all happily moved into the new house in Urbandale and have made it our own. The process of moving with then two 17 month olds was quite challenging. They were great at unpacking, but not so great at the organizing. The first few days were a little rough for them as they didn’t know quite what was happening and where they were, but they quickly adjusted. We’re still incredibly grateful to all those that helped us move, we couldn’t have done it without them. Having so much more space is wonderful and a fenced in yard for the babes to play in is even better - (don't tell the kiddos, but sometime in March or April there's going to be a new swing set in the back yard too!!!). For those who have come to visit and enjoy a cocktail on the back deck, thank you. Hopefully those of you who haven’t been over can come over soon for a cocktail and a nice winter hot tubing!

Our new address is:
3918 125th Street
Urbandale, IA 50323


Developmentally, both are doing amazing. They've both been meeting milestones for their actual age (or older), and we haven't seen any delays - which we're beyond thankful for. We were so on track at their last NICU Development Clinic, that we no longer need to be followed. Great news!


As soon as we moved, Logan went from the part time drunken sailor walking, to full on sprinting. He now runs, jumps and climbs on everything. He’s 100% boy – always trying to open things, take them apart, and is very curious about the world. He is very observant – always noticing with something is out of place or different – and wants it fixed. He’s a sweet lovey little boy. He loves to help, please and knows exactly how to look at you and what to say to you to melt your heart. He loves cars, the color orange, construction equipment - especially cranes, airplanes, pancakes and Thomas the Train. He also loves the Chiefs, Jayhawks & Hawkeyes too. He's incredibly independent and does not want help with anything. And if you try, he wants to redo it himself! 

Health wise, Logan has been healthy as can be. He had a milder case of RSV this spring, strep throat, an ear infection and a few bouts of croup. And how could we forget, a bad case of the stomach flu – which Caroline also got at the exact same time. Having two two-year-olds with a bad case of the stomach flu left mom and dad exhausted and scrubbing a lot of carpet. Luckily, the only specialist that is currently following Logan is the ENT!

Logan is currently in the 25th percentile (almost 30lbs) for weight and 89th for height - which makes him a tall skinny little guy. We're still having to supplement with as much fat in his diet as possible (so lots of whole milk, butter, etc). 


Caroline is our incredibly independent determined little soul. When we’ve asked her lately how old she’s going to be on her birthday, she replies “fourteen” – and some days we think she may have the attitude of that fourteen year old. Preemies are known to be stubborn, and Caroline very much exemplifies that stereotype, and we’re thankful for it, as it’s what’s kept her alive. Miss Caroline also started her accessories collection by getting her first pair of glasses. Getting her to wear them was not an easy task, being one of our biggest challenges yet, but now it's part of her routine and she wears them and keeps them on. We're still surprised at the number of people that ask us if they're "real" glasses? Caroline loves puzzles, books, singing, animals (including trips to the zoo and farm) and eating goldfish. She's also quite fond of sassing and telling us she's the boss!

Caroline has made huge progress in her eating. After slowly making our way through feeding specialists in Des Moines, we were sent to the U of I in Iowa City to their feeding team. Our GI doctor sends the worst of the worst to them, and that, in his eyes, was us. When we started, Caroline would vomit at the sight of food due to a severe oral aversion - which made her 100% dependent on her g-tube for nutrition. Iowa City feeding therapy was not an easy or a quick process by any means, and we often had to remind ourself that it was a very slow marathon, not a sprint. And it's not for the faint of heart. It's a LOT of tears (for mom and her), repetition, diligence and determination. But we're happy to report that after a year and a half, she now eats like a normal three year old! Of course it didn't happen that easily, but we won't bore you or gross you out with all the details. And, in even better news, we're now g-tube free! Our GI doctor put her on a very aggressive plan to try and ween her from her g-tube and after 4 months off of tube feeding she was gaining weight without it. So last month, the tube was removed!! A HUGE milestone for us, and a day we often felt would never come. We go back to the pediatric surgeon in early February to see if the hole has closed on its own. If it hasn't, it will be surgically closed. Until then, it's bandaged, but causes no restrictions for her. 

Caroline has been healthy as well. She also had a milder case of RSV, the stomach flu (that required a day in the ER for dehydration) and several ear and sinus infections. She got her second set of ear tubes earlier this year, that required an overnight visit on the pediatric floor after her oxygen levels struggled to get back to safe levels, but all was good. We still have a few specialists that follow us: Cardiology (holes in her heart that are slowly closing as she grows), Endocrinology (thyroid issues) & ENT (ears).

Caroline is still very tiny. At 24lbs, she is is in the 0-1 percentile for weight and 40th percentile for height. She's continues to follow her own curve on the growth chart, and doctors are happy with that. She is also on a high fat, lots of snacks diet! 


Mom and Dad are doing well.  We've been blessed to have such great support from our families, work, and friends... we continue to be so thankful for all that you do to help us out!.

We had some great news in the "help department" as Mike's parents have decided to retire to Iowa and have bought a home in Waukee - just 10 minutes or so away from us.

We're also going to tease you a little bit here...  We have been the beneficiary of some unbelievable support and very soon will have another blog announcing a way which we are going to attempt to give back.  And we're going to ask for your help.  Stay tuned to this Bat-channel.


Since there was no way we were going to be able to squeeze a year and a half of photos on here... here's a link to some 800 photos that we're happy to share...

Thanks for following us on our journey!  

May 2014 bring the very best to you and your loved ones!

-Mike, Melissa, Logan, & Caroline Vogel

Monday, February 27, 2012

Movin on up!

Hey everybody,

Brief update here, but packed with some BIG NEWS!!!

Starting in the beginning of April, the Vogel family will be living in a new home!

That's right - after a long time with our house on the market, we've found a buyer and consequently were able to find a great house out in Urbandale, IA!!!

We close at the very end of March and will be all moved in by the very first of April.

We're very excited to have more space and most happy with the prospect of a big backyard for the twins to take over when the weather gets nice.

Here's some photos of the pad:

It's a 4 bedroom 2 story on a corner lot, with a partially finished basement

Melissa has already figured out how to fill all these cabinets twice over.

Plenty of room off the large deck for a swingset in the yard!
We'll post our new address once all the paperwork is finished and are hoping to have a housewarming party some time this summer... so keep your ears to the ground for details.

In other kids news...

Caroline has been working with the Feeding Clinic from the University of Iowa.  It has been a bit of a struggle, but she's starting to catch on and they like that we're making progress with her.  If we can continue to progress, we'll be able to avoid taking her to the intense 3 week session (which is very tough and would just murder Mom and Dad's dwindling vacation/personal days with our unbelievably understanding employers). 

She goes back in a month to see how our new set of instructions and foods go.  She's pretty stubborn, but hopefully continues to make progress.

She's just recently mastered the Army Crawl and has begun to do some "big kid" crawling - mainly to keep up with her brother.  It's been interesting having 2 mobile kids...  very interesting.

Logan is standing as much as he can.  He hasn't mastered walking yet, but is pretty good working himself around the couch and tables.  It won't be long before he's off and running.  (Editor's note: Those who are gamblers might want to invest heavily in the timing of Logan's walking to Caroline's ability to crawl at the same speed as her brother and thus removing his ability to get away from her.)

Logan had a big milestone 2 weeks ago when Dad finally put his foot down with Mom and took his son to the barber.  He did a great job sitting still (for the most part) and got a good old fashioned barbershop haircut from Mike's old barber Dave.  It's been a few years since Dave saw Mike, but he's happy to have kept the Vogel business.

Mom and Dad are crazy busy with work, feeding schedules, and packing up the old house and making plans for the new house. 

We hope this update finds you all happy, healthy and in great spirits!

All our very best,

Mike Melissa Logan and Caroline Vogel

P.S. - Of course there are pictures.... Here you go!

A photo taken just before we began the Iowa City feeding clinic. That is an entire jar of peaches on the baby.  Not one drop in the baby.
Logan is lots less displeased at the idea of eating when compared to his sister.
Logan in the barber chair at the beginning of the haircut.

A little unsure what was happening, but still willing to sit still.
The finished product with Dad and Dave the Barber.
Unlike most kids... ours LOVE the bath! 

And who need towels, when you can dry your junk off on Dad's couch.

Bath time also means Mohawk time!!!  Grandma hates this.

Sometimes there's nothing more fun on a Saturday afternoon than to play with ALL the toys in the toybox!

It's no Harley Davidson, but this dragon can really move!

And yes... The Big Slab returned to Baconfest this year - to be interviewed by the local station and then uploaded to CNN and broadcast worldwide!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hey everybody!

I hope that this note finds you spending precious time with your families over the holiday season.

We realize that it's been a while since you've heard from us... that's Mike's fault.  He's started and stopped at least 8 times a new blog post.  Funny thing... we were getting lots more rest when the kids were in the NICU and weren't crawling around.  Sometimes the best intentions lost out to hectic schedules and a lack of sleep.  Sorry. 

So here's a really long update about where we've been for the last 6 months.  It's been a bit of a ride!


Logan is growing up so fast! He currently weighs a whopping 19.8lbs and is 30” long. He’s got 8 teeth and we’re currently starting the transition to table food. He’s not so sure about this yet – but he does love grilled cheese, pumpkin bread and “cookies” aka Cheerios. He’s constantly changing and developing. He is quite a chatter box, usually the louder the better. He’s crawling and pulling himself up on everything. He’s recently started to get daring and stand on his own or go from table to couch unassisted. We’re pretty sure this is going to put us in the ER with a “bonked” head soon. He has an obsession with taking his sister's toys – it doesn’t matter if he didn’t want it before, as soon as she has it, he does. He’s got crazy blonde hair and an adorable, melt your heard grin. He’s a very happy little boy.
Other than two bouts of croup, and quite a few ear infections, Logan’s been healthy. After our fifth ear infection in a row, it was decided that tubes would be the best thing for him – so on November 4th he got tubes. And knock on wood, so far, no more ear infections! We’re hoping this continues.
We got good news in August from the neurologist. A routine NICU head ultrasound on New Year’s Eve 2010 revealed that Logan had a possible PVL - periventricular leukomalacia – in his brain. Basically PVL is small hole in the brain where the white matter in the brain has died. PVL is commonly associated with cerebral palsy. While the neonatologist was skeptical of whether or not it was a PVL – they said all we can do it wait to find out for sure. It’s very difficult to get a good MRI image of a premature babies' brains as they often appear cloudy due to the developing dura (sac around the brain). We were referred to the pediatric neurologist who told us that we’d have to wait until Logan was older to see if there were any signs to be concerned about – stiffness in his legs, etc. If at that time there were, we’d do an MRI to get concrete answers. Our visit to the neurologist in August showed minimal concern for possible CP – and he was cleared from needing to go back!


Miss Caroline’s update is a little longer and a little more complex.
Caroline is currently 14.14lbs (although we think most of that weight is in her cheeks) and 26” long. She’s got two little teeth and has recently found her voice. She loves to tell you exactly how she feels. We’re pretty sure that most of the time it’s full of words that we’re glad she can’t say.
In the last blog update, we mentioned that she had some eating issues that we thought we were getting figured out via being treated for reflux. While things did get better, it was temporary. Although she did stop screaming when she ate, she just wasn’t eating the volume she needed to sustain or gain weight. After consulting with the GI doctor, it was decided to do a quick endoscopic surgery to double check that there was not medical reason for her refusal to eat (which there wasn’t) and to put in an NG tube. An NG tube is a nasogastric feeding tube that goes into her belly via her nose. The pros – we can feed her the volume she needs at every feeding, the cons – it’s taped to her face (which she hates) and she can pull it out (which she did several times). The hope was that we could stretch out her stomach by increasing her volume and therefore, she’d start to eat more. After 6 weeks, we were not making any progress and it was beginning to cause more harm than good as it was causing her to be very irritable and upset. She was also having “overflow” issues. When tubing her the 3.5 oz she ate every three hours, after getting to around 3 oz – it seemed as though there just wasn’t anywhere for the formula to go, and thus, it “spilled” out her mouth. She did not love this.
We knew the next step if this didn’t work – a gastric feeding tube or “g-tube”. This would be a permanent tube inserted into her belly that she would be fed through. This was a decision we had feared having to make and one that we lost quite a bit of sleep over. We did a lot of research, solicited a lot of opinions and really struggled with what to do. We had heard really good things about g-tubes, and also had heard really bad things. 

Eventually the NG tube wasn’t working and the decision made itself. On August 11th Caroline had a g-tube inserted in what was supposed to be an easy surgery. The g-tube would be inserted via the GI doctor and pediatric surgeon, she’d spend the night and come home the next day. It was a rough 48 hours and she seemed to be in pain and didn’t overly tolerate her feedings, but she seemed to be doing better and was released to come home Friday night as scheduled.
When she woke up Saturday morning things had changed. She was continually vomiting (which we had read sometimes happens in children with g-tubes), was very ashen, wouldn’t open her eyes and wouldn’t make any noise unless touched – when she’d cry. Something just didn’t seem right. We called the GI doctor on call (who was not our pediatric GI) who said she was in pain, ordered Tylenol with Codeine and said if she was still vomiting tomorrow to take her in.  Melissa decided that something just wasn’t right and decided to take her to the ER. We were rushed back to the Children’s ER and immediately given a battery of tests – a very scary experience. She had developed a severe infection somewhere in her body. Antibiotics were started immediately so we don’t know for sure where the infection originated, but we’re led to believe in was in her abdomen. We would later learn that the ER doctor and nurses were afraid that she wasn’t going to make it, and we were told that if we would have waited until the next day to bring her in (per the doctors instructions) – she most likely would have died. She spent a week on the pediatric floor at Mercy and came home a happy baby.  Melissa listened to her instincts and it was the right thing to do.
For those of you who are medical people, in the NICU, at the first sign of infection you run a CRP test (C-Reactive Protein) which tells the level of inflammation or infection in the body. If this number is elevated (above 0.4) you start antibiotics and treat for an infection. You never want to see a CRP above 1. When Caroline was admitted to the ER, her CRP was 26.
While in the hospital, they ran some more tests and it was determined that she also has a delayed gastric emptying condition. Basically her stomach doesn’t empty its contents as fast as it should. Thus, when you feed her too much, she “overflows” as it has nowhere to go. It’s something we’re hoping that she outgrows soon, as that's really the only resolution... there isn't an easy treatment. To combat this and to guarantee that she gets the necessary nutrition, she is hooked to a continuous drip at night. Via a feeding pump, she receives 1oz an hour for 10 hours at night. This helps decrease the minimums she needs to eat during the day and guarantees a baseline of nutrition for her to grow and develop from.
After her g-tube insertion, she was doing really well with eating everything orally (bottles and medicines almost all the time - go figure) with the exception of her night drip. It was decided that we’d start introducing solid foods as it was something we developmentally needed to do. Unfortunately, a switch flipped when we tried this and we took 50 steps in the wrong direction as far as her feeding aversion was concerned. She suddenly refused everything orally – no bottles, no food, no medication – and would gag and force herself to vomit if you tried.  We’ve spent the past three months battling this feeding aversion – going through many speech therapists (speech therapists deal with feeding issues in babies) with no luck. Trying to feed her food or a bottle resulted in big tears and lots of screaming. Her GI doctor decided it was time to send her to Iowa City for an evaluation their children's' feeding clinic. Luckily for us, Iowa City is home to one of only a few feeding clinics of its kind in the country. They only accept one baby a month into their intensive 3 week feeding clinic – and see great success with their patients.
In early December, Melissa took Caroline for the first of several initial evaluation sessions in Iowa City.  While there for her 3 hour session, she decided that it would be a wonderful time to begin eating and consumed 1/2 a jar of pears and even picked up several puffs off the table and ate them.  Not more than 12 hours earlier Mike had tried to feed her some of the very same pears and she reacted as if he was trying to put her eye out with a hot stick.  

Anyway, the good news is that since that session, and using some new techniques that they suggested, Caroline has begun to eat "first foods' off of a spoon.  It's not for all feedings, and is only a first step... but we're very encouraged.  We go back to Iowa City in early Feb for a longer session and to determine if she'll qualify for the 3 week session later this year.  Since we're still not eating all foods all the time, and we're still balancing the need for nutrition with her delayed emptying syndrome, we're guessing that we'll be spending some quality "vacation" time in Iowa City teaching our daughter to eat. 
Caroline is off of her oxygen! She still has three small holes in her heart (2 VSD’s – ventricular septal defects and a PFO – patent foramen ovale) but they’re small enough that the cardiologist is pretty confident that they should close on their own as she grows. She also was victim to the wrath of ear infections and had tubes inserted in late October – and has since been ear infection free. 

She is being closely followed by a pediatric craniofacial doctor regarding her head sutures. There has been some concern that they were prematurely closing, but we were thrilled to learn last week that they were still open. She is still followed by an endocrinologist for thyroid issues. We’re hoping that her dosage stays the same so we can eventually try weaning her off her medication.
Because she was so tiny and has had quite a battle to get where she is today, it’s taking her longer to catch up developmentally. The great news is, that a MRI of her brain showed that everything was normal – so we know it’s just a matter of time. She just learned to roll over (a huge milestone) and we’re always thrilled to catch her playing on her belly. Babies who were on oxygen tend to hate tummy time – and the g-tube doesn’t help either – so they said she will probably be a baby that never enjoys spending time on her belly. We’re in the process of learning to sit up and are making great strides in this. Part of the delay is that Caroline doesn’t have the trunk strength yet (due to her size and prematurity) to do these things yet. Her PT is confident that once she develops this strength, she’s going to make great strides in sitting, crawling and walking. Our goal is to have her walk by the time she’s 2 years old corrected (or 27 months old). While she has delays with sitting, etc – her fine motor skills seem to be developing nicely.
And if you made it through all that, you're probably saying to yourself, "Holy Schnikeys!!! Those kids have some problems!"  

The thing is, we've got the experience to know that of all the kids who come out of the NICU after starting where ours did, we're living on easy street.  We've met with parents and "graduates" who will deal with extreme health issues all of their lives, developmentally and otherwise.  The stuff we deal with is child's play compared to those folks and while it may not have been a "normal" path to take... our's has been an easy one with an immense bright light at the end of the tunnel.  We consider ourselves blessed.

And one last little thing to touch on before we get to the pictures (and yes... there's a lot for you to have a look at!).

While our lives have been hectic, they have also been bearable, manageable, and fun thanks to the tons of support we've gotten from our families, our workplaces, and our friends.  

The extra hands during weekend visits, the loads of laundry done, the chance for a night out just the two of us... all wouldn't have been possible without help from our families.  

The litany of appointments - nursing visits, doctor visits, specialists, hospital stays, surgeries, and the time needed to care for a kid with an ear infection just two days after the other kid had needed the same thing... Without our incredible support from our bosses, coworkers, and their willingness to help us manage our schedules and work from a variety of locations (home, hospital rooms, Iowa City), we would be living in a van down by the river.  We are truly blessed by your support for our young family.

And to our friends... thanks for all your help.  Whether it's tolerating a double stroller at dinner, being willing to let us talk about something other than feeding schedules or poop consistencies for a couple hours, or the incredible food you brought us (that we are still pulling out of the deep freeze and chowing on during hectic times).  You mean the world to us!

We want to wish you all a very happy holiday season and hope that you and your families are as blessed in life as we have been these past 14 months.  

All our very best to you,

Mike, Melissa, Logan, and Caroline Vogel

And now the pictures!!!

A couple of Hawkeyes trying out their Bumbo Seats

Caroline with her NG tube and a big smile.
This was a pretty rare combination.

Logan LOVES squash!

A day's worth of bottles.

Logan's first 2 teeth.
He has 8 now.
Caroline has her bottom 2.

Caroline happy before her G-tube surgery.

Caroline with her G-tube.
It has since changed to just a button- no tube poking out of her.

A very fancy lady.

"And you expect me to STAY in this spot???"

This hat is gone...

Big smiles from little Miss C.

Big smiles from Big L.

"Did you guys know that these feet are MINE???"

Caught in the act of thievery.

It's been a long season, but we were there for Daddy!

"Who doesn't love a bath???"

Dressed for Halloween at Daycare!

The real Halloween costume - Skunks.

Caught in the act of some Skunk on Skunk crime.

Logan's ok, but Caroline isn't too sure about this Halloween thing.

Aunt Caitlin visited for their first birthday!

The whole family celebrating the first birthdays!

Logan was very into his cake.

Caroline was peeved that we got frosting on her beloved binky.
Logan was VERY into his frosting.

An example of trying to feed Caroline.

Notice the tears mixed with carrots... 

"Look Dad, you can't BS me.  I've been in this gown before.
It means I'm gonna wake up all pissed off and uncomfortable."



Logan unsure of Thanksgiving dinner

Uncle Nick from CO visited for Thanksgiving in Topeka

Caroline eating puffs!

A much more content Caroline eating puffs and carrots after our
Iowa City visit.

"Caroline... come here!  I heard Mom and Dad talking about what
we're getting for Christmas!!!"