June was an exciting month as preschool ended for the girls (Abigail graduated!) and my full-time job started. It has been so nice to have a relatively predictable schedule without having to do any work at night or on the weekends. Hello, family and friend time! We’ve also started looking at houses and are praying that we find one soon. The idea of having a small yard and 3 bedrooms instead of 2 is so exciting to think about! Can’t wait to make it a reality.
Abigail is pushing 5 years old (just over a month away) and is really working to establish her independence. Listening and respecting has been difficult for her, but with recent changes to the structure of our days and reinforcement, she seems to be improving. The end of preschool was a difficult transition for her (read: lots and lots of tears), but we are pretty sure she’s recovered from that change and is now eagerly anticipating kindergarten.
Abigail is gradually phasing out her nap and is starting to go 3-4 days without a nap before asking for one. She’s improving speedily with her reading, writing, and drawing. We are still reading chapter books with her which she really enjoys. She is also getting clearer on the Gospel and stories in the Bible. She enjoys discussing the different men and women in the Bible and absolutely adored VBS this year.
She’s been getting a lot of practice in on her bicycle (with training wheels) this summer and is building confidence. We aren’t sure if she’ll be ready to take off the training wheels this year, but maybe!
Madilyn graduated from physical therapy in June, and she couldn’t be prouder. It has been so exciting to see her progress and develop the skills of running and jumping and climbing. She is developing confidence on the balance bike as well and will sail down the lower half of the hill by our townhome with her feet in the air, balancing the whole way. Along with the progress in PT and with her bike, Madilyn’s overall endurance is much higher. She used to ask to be carried or ride in the stroller instead of walk when we spent the day out and about. Lately, she’s been able to tolerate much longer stints of walking/running outside.
On June 7, we had a pretty scary incident. I was buying groceries with Madilyn and Naomi. Naomi was strapped to me, and Madilyn was being incredibly helpful and attentive to my directions in the store. While checking out, I was focused on the cashier while Madilyn was standing beside me. Without me noticing until too late, Madilyn walked to the side of an empty shopping cart and proceeded to climb (showing off those newly acquired skills). She ultimately pulled the entire cart over and on top of her. God had his arms around her, though, because she made it through without a scratch or any apparent head injury. Praise God!
Madilyn also had her first play date (in forever!) with just her and one of her aged friends, Josephine. She also went to her first (ever) birthday party for one of her own friends (also Josephine). It was so sweet to see Madilyn light up in both situations! Madilyn has also been really getting into playing hairdresser. She’ll spray, comb, and style someone else’s hair. She loves it!
This girl is 7 months old and changing seemingly every day. She’s now got 6 teeth (4 top, 2 bottom), is waving to say “hi” and “bye,” throwing herself from sitting to her belly to reach something she wants, and rolling all over the place—including in her crib which has resulted in some early morning wake ups due to legs stuck in the crib slats. Ouch! She is still our thumbsucker, but we are hopeful that she will stop doing that soon. Fingers crossed!
She’s taken to solids really well and has added zucchini, yellow squash, peaches, nectarines, and plums to her repertoire and loves Happy Baby puffs. She’s even starting to develop the pincer grasp needed to effectively pick up a puff and get it to her mouth.
She’s getting more and more vocal—babbling, squealing, laughing. So many fun sounds! Her next appointment is in August, so we cannot wait to see how much she’s grown by that point!
-David went to Ohio for 4 days at the beginning of the month to see his parents. He had an incredible time, and I got to hang out with the girls solo. So nice!
-Preschool graduation for Abigail was on June 5, and she looked adorable in her white cap and gown. The service was really sweet, and Abigail had a great time reveling in the attention.
-Abigail went to a kids fishing day with David and thoroughly enjoyed the one-on-one time with daddy. One of her friends even caught a fish!
-Berry picking is one of our favorite things about summer. We went on two berry picking trip as a family—strawberry and blueberry. Mmm!
May marked the end of a significant chapter in our family’s life: graduate school and unemployment. I graduated on May 9th and was offered a job at a fabulous retirement community 10 minutes from our house (!) May 14! Praise God for his provision and faithfulness.
During the month of May, Abigail completed semi-private swim lessons with her buddy, Bennett. She learned more in those 4 lessons than she had in 8 group sessions previously. So she’s now going under water, jumping in more confidently, and is just all-around more confident. She finished up those lessons just before we left for the beach. Perfect timing!
She’s also made huge strides in terms of bike riding. She loves her Pinkalicious bike now—had virtually no interest at her 4th birthday last year. She’s pedaling quickly (with training wheels, of course), turning confidently, and is even starting to ride up hills a little easier. Definitely getting stronger!
She loves to sing and dance—especially if the dances or songs have anything to do with Frozen, and she loves being independent. So “Walk in by yourself week” at preschool was right up her alley—she skipped her way up the sidewalk and into her class. She’s growing into a beautiful, fun, smart, sensitive young girl, and it’s so exciting to watch her transition. She’s started asking far more spiritual questions lately, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations and witnessing where her mind goes. “Mommy, is there an actual real devil walking around on earth? Mommy, will I see my friends in Heaven? What about Milo (her fish)? Will he be there? Jesus is my friend!”
This girl has come so far! She’s a couple of months into PT and is doing so wonderfully. She’s able to get both feet off the ground in jumping and is starting to run. Her climbing skills are improving significantly, and overall, she’s just getting stronger and stronger. She just finished up her semester at Hahn’s gymnastics, and compared to the beginning of the year, she is a different girl!
Seeing Abigail ride a bike recently has gotten Madilyn super interested in the Strider balance bike that Abigail learned on first. She was hesitant with it at first, but she’s gained confidence really quickly. She’ll now run on the bike and pick up her feet to coast for a couple of seconds. Yay!
Madilyn is still our jokester, and we think she’d do great as an actress one day. She loves to imitate people and is constantly coming up with hilarious one-liners or witty commentary. She’s also super tough—fell hard onto the asphalt off of her balance bike, skinned up her knee; what did she do? Stood up and said, “Mommy, I think I hurt my knee a little.” Brushed it off, and on her way.
Nighttime sleep—6:30pm-6:00am (went through a couple weeks of 4:30-5:30am wake ups. AH!)
Naps—still 2 a day: 9-11am and 1:30-3:30pm
Nursing—still 4 a day, but she’s highly distractible! She nurses at 6:00am, 11am, 3:30pm, 6:15pm
Growth—she had her 6-month appointment and now weighs 18lbs, 10oz; is 26.25″ long, with a 17.5″ head.
Eating and Teeth—started solids on 5/15, and since then, she’s had sweet potatoes, green peas, bananas, applesauce, butternut squash, pears, and tofu. No real interest in a sippy cup at this point, but we’re trying. She is getting her top two teeth (just beneath the surface) which will give her a cute little toothy smile.
Wake time—she’s blowing raspberries and squealing constantly, knows me and David and prefers us, adores her sisters, has found her feet, and rolls over tummy to back (almost figured out back to tummy, but not yet) which interrupted her sleep for a bit.
Here’s what we’ve been up to, followed by a ton of pictures.
-Marriage conference at Biltmore Baptist Church
-Job interview and subsequent offer from Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community (!!)
-I turned 30, and David threw me a big party with my girlfriends. So much fun!
-I graduated from WCU—the big girls came with us, and I teared up seeing them sitting up in the stands cheering me on
-My parents threw a graduation/birthday party in Greenville which was an absolute blast!
-I celebrated Mother’s Day by having an ordinary day at home with the family (my request after days of birthday/graduation celebration…I was partied out!)
-David organized the 2nd annual Daddy/Kiddo camping trip, and this time, there were over 10 dads with a total of 17 kids! Naomi and I went to Greenville while the camping trip was going on. The big girls had a blast!
-Litchfield Beach 2014! My parents rented a house, and they, our family, and Greg and Chelsey all met up for a fun family week. The weather was perfect (only one slight drizzle, and temps in the low-mid 80’s)! We walked to the beach and/or pool each day, rode bikes, ate delicious dinners in, went out to eat, took awesome family pictures, and to our great surprise, saw Asheville friends there! Abigail’s buddy, Addisyn, and her family were there the same week. It was so fun to let the kids play, and we even got a night to hang out with Michael and Tiffany, kid-free. For the win!
I finished my last week of classes this month and will graduate on May 9. I have a couple of interviews this week (praise God!) and hope to secure a job in the near future. David and I are so excited to have this chapter nearly behind us as it’s been wrought with challenges. Amidst the difficulties of the past 2+ years, however, have been numerous blessings and things for which we thank God daily. What a story God has given us to share!
What a big month for Abigail! Not only did she complete 4 weeks of swimming lessons, but she got registered for kindergarten. We had been toying back and forth with whether or not to start her this fall in public kindergarten or if we should hold her back a year. With her 5th birthday only 3 weeks before the age cut-off, she’ll be the youngest in her class. In the end, though, we’ve decided to go ahead and send her and see how she does. She’s super excited!
Another big thing for Abigail is the development of friendships. She’s got a small group of girl friends that she is constantly asking to play with or invite over, etc. It’s so nice to see her developing the confidence necessary to be successful socially. So sweet!
She’s also developing a larger sense of compassion for others. For example, Madilyn hurt her ankle in a fall recently, and after I carried her inside, Abigail ran to grab a washcloth and wet it to put on Madilyn’s ankle. This is huge for her as she didn’t seem to be aware of other people’s feelings as much until recently.
Due to some gross motor delays, Madilyn had a PT evaluation at the beginning of April. She now goes to PT once a week to work on the development of jumping and running, among other targets. She absolutely loves her PT time and has made significant progress since the onset. Additionally, Madilyn has been in a gymnastics class (thank you, Karon and Leo!) that is serving to bolster her confidence in the same areas targeted in PT.
Madilyn always has a hug or kiss for those around her and asks a ton of questions (as does Abigail, but Madilyn’s more at the “but why, Mommy?” stage). She likes to sing nearly as much as Abigail and can be heard belting, “Do you want to build a snowman?” from Frozen nearly every day.
This girl is 5 months old, and we cannot believe it. She’s becoming such a cutie as her personality develops. We cannot wait to see what she’ll be like as she continues to grow and develop.
Naps—dropped to 2 naps first week of April. They typically run from 9-11am, 1:30-3:30pm
Nursing—dropped to 4 times a day the first week of April. She nurses at 6:30am, 11am, 3:15pm, 6:15pm
Growth and Wake time—She’s sitting up really, really well now. She just topples backwards occasionally. She also flaps her arms when someone she recognizes comes into her sight line. We are experiencing the beginnings of separation anxiety as she knows when David or I hand her off to a stranger. She outgrew her infant/toddler pink bathtub and is now in bath seat. Her first tooth broke through on April 16, and the second one followed a few days later. She’s become increasingly adept at reaching for objects, grabbing them, and bringing them to her mouth (and keeping them there for a long time). She especially enjoys frozen teething rings!
-April 12, my brother proposed to Chelsey, and I got to take pictures
-April 23, I finished my clinical rotation at Park Ridge Hospital
-April 25, I presented my master’s project and passed!
—that night, Abigail and Madilyn had a “Frozen” movie night with a small group of buddies. They had a blast!
-April 26, wedding in Greenville while David was camping with a group of men from our Connect Group
March marked an exciting achievement off of our bucket list—taking a family trip and staying for a while to really enjoy it. We spent 2 weeks away from home! The first week was spent in a condo at Myrtle Beach (found a great spot on www.vrbo.com), then a few nights with David’s grandparents up the road at the beach, then four fun days/nights in Raleigh with Kevin and Brittany for the North Carolina Speech-Hearing-Language Association (NCSHLA) conference. What a whirlwind, but such a great time!
Oh, and in 3 weeks, my master’s presentation will be complete, and I’ll be done with graduate school 2.0—perhaps not technically (that’s May 9), but in most all other ways, FINISHED!
She is still loving the BOB books and continues to sound out words in other books. She’s picking up on quite a few sight words as well; I keep forgetting to buy sight word cards, though. Will have to do that soon! She’s also trying to sound out words she hears people around her say (e.g., “Daddy…/d/…/a/…/d/…/i/”). Her writing is getting better and better—especially since we bought some of that kindergarten lined paper to help her with consistency. So fun!
She’s still a little shy around new friends, but who isn’t? Her kindergarten registration is on April 15, and we’re looking forward to getting some more information. Not 100% sure about it, but we continue to pray that we make the right decision regarding her next academic year.
I feel like I say this every blog post, but Madilyn keeps us smiling. She’s just so spunky and happy and carefree! She’s constantly saying, “Hey guys, guess what?!” and filling us in on whatever’s going on in her life. She also has a pretty good sense of humor and is starting to tell little jokes here and there. She started gymnastics (thanks Karon and Leo!) last week and absolutely loves it. As she still hasn’t started jumping or running, we were excited to get her in a class that will challenge her gross motor skills.
The speechie in me wants to report that while we were at the beach, Madilyn became stimulable for /k/ and /g/ sounds. Of course, I jumped on that, and she’s now using them properly about 50% of the time in conversation. It’s great to be able to understand her better, and she seems to really like her enhanced intelligibility as well!
Just so I don’t forget, she’s still calling a pineapple “pinecone” and her fingers “thingers.” Heh.
Nighttime sleep: consistently going 6:30pm-6:30am (we’re about 3 weeks+ into this schedule)
Nursing: she’s in the middle of dropping a feeding, but currently nurses at 6:30am, 10am, 1:15pm, 4:30pm, 6:30pm, but the last two feedings are short. We’re hoping she’ll move to a 4-hour schedule by next month. Nursing at 6:30, 11, 3/4, and 6:30 sounds great to me!
Waketime: she’s starting to sit up unassisted for 5-10 seconds and loves it! She’s a pretty happy baby most of the time and loves the exersaucer, Bumbo, and high chair—anything that enables her to be able to watch the action around her.
Naps: She’s currently restructuring these. She was napping before the girls went to preschool, but doesn’t anymore. Her current schedule of naps is something like 9am-10am, cat nap around 11:30, long nap 1:15-4pm.
Growing: She had her 4 month appointment and was 17lb 12oz, 26″ long with a 17″ head. We thought she was teething, but no teeth yet. She’s belly laughing, bringing toys to her mouth, sucking her thumb (!), sucking her bottom lip, and keeping a keen eye on the every move of her sisters.
To save time, a list!
-I turned in my master’s paper in early March and just got it back. I passed!
-NCSHLA conference—Got to attend two presentations by dyphagia expert, Dr. Bonnie Martin Harris; she was incredible!
February was a fun month. Seems like everyone around us was sick at some point. We weren’t spared—two weeks of colds. We are all in the clear now, though!
The biggest change in Abigail since last month is the fact that she’s reading now! She read her first full book (8 page BOB book) on February 8, and now she wants to try to sound out the words in every book we read to her. It’s making me acutely away of how confusing the English language is. We have so many vowel sounds!
She’s still hanging on to her nap 4 days a week (Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun) and will sleep 2+ hours. No issue with her going to bed at night afterward either. Honestly, she would probably nap most every day if we let her. With kindergarten rapidly approaching, however, we’re trying to slowly wean her of that need.
Our little Madilyn is now three whole years old. Whoa. Her check up went well–34 pounds, 36 inches tall, vision and hearing screened (she passed). She’s really far behind on gross motor skills (as was Abigail between 2-3 years old), so we’re working on that. Our kids develop the brains far earlier than the muscles and agility!
She’s gotten pretty good at memorizing books and likes to “read” them to anyone who will listen. She’s got the kindest heart and throughout the day will randomly hug any one of us (Naomi included) or say, “I have a kiss for you!” or “I love you THIS much!” (while stretching out her arms). She’s still got the drama going on if she’s unhappy with something, but it’s endearing.
This wee one is now three and a half months old. She’s incredibly alert and has started truly laughing at us or laughing when tickled. Precious!
Nighttime sleep: it’s been a consistent week now that Naomi has gone to bed around 6:45pm and slept until we wake her up at 6:30am. She first did that on 2/7 (12 weeks old), but wasn’t consistent until this past week. All that sleep is making mommy and daddy so happy!
Nursing: She still nurses every 3 hours, but only because I make her…heh. She’s showing signs of wanting to space out her nursing sessions, and we’re going to let her start doing that this coming weekend. Can’t wait! She may follow in Madilyn’s footsteps and be down to 4 nursings a day by 4 months of age. That would be so cool!
Waketime: she’s awake on average for 1.5 hours but is having more spans of 1.75-2.0 hours. Once she’s up for consistent 2-2.5 hour stretches, she will hopefully drop a nap.
Naps: she’s been taking 4 naps a day, but is starting to show signs of wanting only 3. Her last nap of the day is rarely longer than 20-30 minutes, so we are hopeful that within the next month, she’ll be ready to drop it. Her long nap of the day coincides with Madilyn’s (and Abigail’s on nap days for her) which gives David and me a nice chunk of quiet time—2.25 hours, usually.
Growing: she’s now officially in a size 3 diaper. We are likely switching to cloth after we run out of our 3’s.
Just a list for this month. I’ve got a master’s paper to write!
-Madilyn’s princess bday party
-Snowpacalypse on 2/12—we got around 7-8″
-Girls to Greenville
-7 year anniversary of marriage—11 year anniversary since we started dating!
-Working on my master’s paper (turning it in on Thursday of this week!)
-Starting the job search
-Girls night out to downtown Asheville
January was wrought with frigid temperatures with incredibly cold wind chills! By the end of the month, though, we finally got a decent snow to go along with those cold temps, and the girls loved it.
Abigail is loving “school” time and asks me to pretend to be a teacher while we are together. I just change my voice a bit, and I’m good as gold in her eyes. As soon as I started back to classes and clinic, David’s been doing this time with Abigail, and she continues to thrive. She’s doing really well with handwriting (just targeting capital letters and numbers, but will move to lowercase soon). She can read the time on a digital clock pretty accurately and will do so randomly in the van. She looks forward to reading Charlotte’s web, but I’m not sure how much of the story she absorbs and how much goes over her head. She remembers the basic gist from day to day and gets excited when a page happens to have a picture. There is so much great vocabulary in that book! We also started two sound segmenting. So I say the word “moo” and she says “mm….oo….Moo!” Just some fun pre reading stuff. Also, we started working through “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.” We are only on lesson 6, but Abigail has really taken to it, and thankfully, it only takes 10-15 minutes each day to do. She so desperately wants to know how to read, and that motivation makes it fun to teach her.
In late December, we started a schedule at home. It’s hung up on the wall with a clothespin on the side for the girls to move as we move through our day. After breakfast, we have 30-45 minutes of book time where we read a storybook Bible story first and discuss, then read 4-6 books that the girls pick out before heading to preschool. Their favorite afternoon schedule item is “Pick an Activity” time. I cut out strips of paper and wrote 30+ ideas of activities on the papers, folded them, and put them in a jar for the girls to pick (e.g. decorate a magnet, paint with water, draw with stencils, play Kerplunk with Daddy, watch a video, etc). So fun! Abigail really thrives under a schedule, so she has eaten this up.
Madilyn is still really enjoying her one-on-one “school” time with me and David. She got really good with lacing cards at the beginning of January, and with that newfound fine motor ability, she’s now nearly mastered the 3-point grip on crayons, pencils, markers, etc and loves showing it off. “Look at me, Mommy. I grabbed the pencil this way all by myself!” She’s nearly 100% on capital letter recognition and is starting to learn the sounds that each letter makes. Abigail was 3 when I started working with her on making the “th” sound instead of using an “f” or a “d” in its place, so I just started working with Madilyn. I have to rein in my desire to be her SLP and instead be her mom, but I’m at least modeling the right “th” production. Ha! She’s stimulable for it in single words, so with practice, I’m sure she’ll get it soon. K’s and G’s are still coming out as T’s and D’s or as omissions. I might start informally working on that soon because I don’t think we can do therapy through the schools with just k/g until she’s 4 years old.
We’ve also been working on getting her more independent with daily activities. She’s doing a really good job getting herself dressed and undressed and only has little struggles with her shirts. She gets frustrated pretty easily with some activities, but she’s getting more and more confident and persistent as the days go by. She’ll be 3 years old next Tuesday, and we’ll be celebrating with three of her buddies tomorrow with a princess party!
As will continue to be the case, the notes I took through the month of January on this one are all out of date now.
Nighttime sleep: On average, she sleeps at night from 7:15pm until 4:30am, nurses, then goes back down until 6:30am. UPDATE: On January 30, Naomi went to bed at 6:50pm and didn’t wake up until 5:40am; instead of nursing her, I asked David to see if he could get her back to sleep on him. She fell back asleep and didn’t wake until we woke her up at 6:30am. Woo hoo! At the beginning of the month, Naomi was incredibly difficult to settle down at night, often having to nurse her to sleep. Just a few days ago, I nursed her at 6:30pm, put her down at 6:50pm or so, and she was asleep by 7:15pm. Woo hoo! She’s kept that streak alive, and I hope it continues. No more 1-2 hours of rocking and shh-ing and swaying! And she is officially in the girls’ bedroom in her crib for night sleep and all 4 naps (as of 1/17)!
Nursing: She’s nursing at 6:45am, 9:30am, 12:30pm, 4:00pm, 6:30pm, then at 4-5am.
Wake time: She’s currently awake for 60-75 minutes at a time before going back to sleep. She’s smiling a lot now and starting to giggle. She coos at our faces and at stuffed animals or hanging toys on her play gym. She’s rolled from tummy to back multiple times and really enjoys tummy time.
Naps: She’s still taking 4 naps a day. The last nap is around 4:45 and usually only lasts 30-45 minutes, but that’s ok. It’s long enough for us to eat dinner and clean up the kitchen. The other naps vary in length depending on the day, but she usually has one or two good naps lasting 1.5-2.25 hours.
Growing: Naomi had her 8-week appointment on January 10. She was 13lb, 12oz, 23″ long, and had a 16″ head. Another milestone? Naomi got her first cold. Not sure there’s any way to avoid it when she’s got two older sisters in preschool who love all over her and share their germs all day every day. Ah well. She’s nearly outgrown size 2 diapers now, too. Once we finish off the ones we have, we’ll be shifting to cloth diapers, I do believe!
The first half of January, I was still at home, so we just had a ton of family time—what a blessing! We took down our decorations the first weekend in January, and our Christmas tree was still green and hadn’t started shedding needles yet. It felt like a crime to get rid of it! We cut it down at Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm more than a month before, but it was still drinking up water and smelling amazing.
We—with the rest of the country—went through the deep freeze that blew through. Whew. When it came through our area, I was still sleeping downstairs at night on the couch since Naomi was in our room and making all kinds of noise. Our downstairs got extremely cold at night, so I ended up sleeping in David’s sleeping bag rated for 30F. I felt like I was in a sunbathed car (you know that perfect napping temperature?). Fabulous!
My classes started back on January 14—or should I say class, singular. I’m taking my final course: infant/toddler communication. Haha! I feel like I’m living that class on a daily basis. Thankful that I have a pretty strong base knowledge going into the course! I’m also working on my master’s project and starting to look for jobs. I cannot believe that it’s already been two years since I was accepted into this program. Wow!
On January 13, I started my new clinic placement too—at Park Ridge Hospital. I am absolutely loving this placement and am learning so much each day. It’s a pretty fast-paced environment with all kinds of neat medical SLP experiences. I’m not sure if I definitely want to work in an acute setting yet, but I definitely want to be in a more medical environment—as opposed to a school or private practice. That said, I’ll take a job wherever I can find one!