it's positive (again!)

Praising God for our family of 6

Our growing family August 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sally Ann @ 5:49 am


Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers


April: Sports, Races, and summer approaching April 30, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sally Ann @ 7:42 pm

Our homeschool year and Madilyn’s preschool year are winding down; summer is upon us; we couldn’t be more excited to have great warm weather and time to play outside!

Abigail Grace

This month saw the beginning of Abigail’s first soccer season, and she is really enjoying being part of a team. She doesn’t quite get the ins and outs of the sport, but she is truly having a blast. It’s fun to watch! She had her first game on the 30th, and her smile was huge anytime we caught her eye.

She’s also participating in the Healthy Kids Running Series. Her age group does a 1/4 mile run once a week. It’s been neat for me and David to get to talk to her about pacing herself, breathing, stride, etc. Makes us both want to get back into distance running one day!

She finished her 1st grade homeschool curriculum a couple of weeks ago, so until the middle of May, we’re doing our own low-key school to keep practicing her skills. I wrote down activities on slips of paper in 5 subjects (reading, writing, arithmetic, science, computer), and each day, she picks slips out of a basket to create her school day. Some are more fun than others, but so far, she’s thoroughly enjoyed the randomness of it all. Our last official day of school is May 20. Exciting!

Madilyn Joy

Madilyn also started soccer this month (second season), and she has definitely gained confidence and ability since last year. She one of the oldest girls on her team and is enjoying being able to run as fast/faster than her teammates. During her first game, she got hit square in the face with the soccer ball during a throw in, but she hardly cried and got right back on the field. Tough girl!

The Healthy Kids Running Race for Madilyn consists of a 50 yard dash which she is running really well. So far, she’s finished with 1-2 other kids behind her, and after all last place finishes two years ago, she’s thrilled with herself. We’re pretty proud too!

Madilyn is really eager to be home with us for homeschool, so we decided her last day of preschool will be May 4—the same day as the Mothers Day Tea event at school. She told me, “Mommy, you just can’t miss it!” Her amazing teachers arranged for her to have an early graduation ceremony since we’ll miss the real thing; she was SO proud of herself that day. It was adorable. Once she’s home, she’ll then get to pick little slips out for her school day with me for a few weeks before summer break. Then we’ll kick off her kindergarten curriculum late June!

And perhaps she’s going to be a geologist or entomologist one day. This girl admires rocks and bugs. She’s been catching anything that creeps or crawls or slinks around our backyard now that it’s warmer and the critters are out. Eep! She’s been “rescuing” caterpillars with Abigail and putting them in the habitat that we used for our painted lady butterflies. Three of the caterpillars from our backyard have made cocoons in it!

As far as rocks go, she collects them and gifts them to others. “Look mommy, this rock has a little red on it and a sparkly part. Isn’t it beautiful!?” Although, if you ask Madilyn, she’ll tell you she wants to be an ice cream man when she grows up!

Naomi Hope

I’ve been taking the kids to the gym M-F for a few weeks now, and Naomi has really enjoyed the structure provided by the main childcare worker there. Anytime I pick her up, she’s sitting and completing some craft or other activity. Seeing that success, I started doing more preschool type activities with Naomi this month (colors, shapes, counting, sticker books, coloring books), and she really took to it all well. She’ll be going to preschool in the fall, and I think she’s going to love it!

New developments with this gal: she’s going to the potty solo with the help of a stool and calling, “MOMMMMMYYYYY! Wipe me, please!!” when it’s my turn. Yee haw!

She’s also in the “why” phase, and she asks it following more than 90% of what I say. Tries the nerves, my friends. Whew. Other favorite words/expressions? “ME do it!,” “Peek a boo!,” “push me HIGH please,” “Hey Mister Gideon!” (pronounced “ideon”).

She’s really taken to her brother, and David and I are loving it. She sits by him in the car and talks with him, plays peek a boo, lets me know if he needs something, etc.

Her manners are top of the line right now (what?! never thought I’d be able to say that about her): please, thank you, yes ma’am, no ma’am, (you’re) welcome, sorry. VICTORY!!

Her tantrums are top of the line too. Geez. They don’t happen nearly as much as they once did, but oh man look out when they do. I probably have to put her in a tantrum time out 2-3 times a day. Thankfully she snaps out of it quickly.

For the most part, she’s now a fun, zany, spirited little gal.

Gideon Joel

We’ve hit the dangerously mobile stage with this one, and he’s only 8 months old! He pulled up to stand on April 4 and hasn’t looked back since. It did take him a few days before figuring out how to sit back down after standing up, but he’s got it mastered now. He’s beginning to move his feet a tad while standing up but not quite cruising yet. He transferred from one chair to the chair behind him on April 20. Ah!

Keep in mind that at this age, all three of his sisters were either not even crawling yet or barely crawling. Forget about pulling to stand!

Gideon is obsessed with doors and will play with the edge of one moving it back and forth for minutes on end. He’s drooling like his life depends on it, often soaking through 10+ bibs a day (and yes, I mean like I could WRING out the bib) without much to show for it (he has his two top teeth to match the two bottom ones now).

He’s babbling a lot now—mostly da da da, ba ba ba, and ma ma ma though no consistency yet. He does significantly increase his babble when a familiar face comes close to him. He mouths just about everything but just started banging toys together and will slap his hands on any hard surface. He loves peek a boo (especially with Naomi), is highly ticklish, and his hair has started to CURL!

He plays a little game with us when he’s in the highchair. He leans his head over to the side until we do the same, then he’ll sit back up until we copy. Rinse. Repeat. If I’m holding him and a new person approaches to talk to him, he snuggles against me to look away from the new person. It’s so sweet!

He has a fabulous laugh and is into everything. He adores his sisters and lights up when they come to play with him. Naomi plays a little too rough at times, but Gideon doesn’t seem to mind.

As far as eating goes, he is losing interest in nursing. Combine that with the fact that he won’t take a bottle (yes, we’ve tried everything and continue to try without success) or sippy cup, and I’m not sure what we’re going to do. Praying he sticks with it for another 2-3 months! He still nurses 4 times a day, but only 1-2 of those a decent nursings.

For solid food, he’s loving puffs and can pick those up to feed himself. He’s also tried avocado, white potatoes, kidney beans, cannelleni beans, and carrots. Applesauce is still a huge hit for him along with bananas and sweet potatoes. Eager to get him eating table food, just for convenience sake!

His sleeping for the most part consists of two naps a day (9:30/10ish for 45 minutes and 1:45/2/2:15 for 1.5 hours), and a good 11+ hour stretch at night starting at 6:30pm.

Notable events

A list for the month for my reference:
-Colds for me and Gideon—lasted nearly a month for me and overlapped with allergies and a period. Boo!
-Released our butterflies—the caterpillars in a cup from Greg and Chelsey turned into painted lady butterflies that we got to release into our backyard. So fun!
-Love loud—our connect group helped beautify the outside of MAPS (Mountain Area Pregnancy Services); the girls helped with weeding and mulching.
-Backyard steps—after getting private contractor quotes for $4,000-$5,000, David opted to buy the material himself and enlist the help of a few friends to build stairs down our back hill. It only took about 4.5 hours!
-Different devotions—at the homeschool conference in March, Lisie and I went to a seminar about taking devotions out of the box. We’ve done a few of these devotions so far, and the girls thoroughly enjoy them and seem to retain the nugget of truth taught much longer than they would without a hands-on type deal.


March: Baptism, Easter, and a Few Warm Days March 31, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sally Ann @ 12:36 am

This month flew by. If I didn’t have the pictures, I’m not sure I’d remember all the details!

Abigail Grace

The big news for Abigail this month was her baptism. She has been counting down to this since December and was thrilled to have so much family in town to celebrate. Mr. Bill, our church’s children’s pastor, had some really nice words to say beforehand, and David and I got to be up beside the baptistry to watch and greet Abigail after. Such an incredible experience, and we’re so happy that she’s taken this step!

She’ll finish up first grade in a few weeks, and I’m really looking forward to doing homeschool with both her and Madilyn in a few months!

And she’s a climber for sure! Climbing trees or the outside of our swingset…or really any structure on which she can get a foothold is her thing these days. Might have to look into rock climbing!

Madilyn Joy

This gal lived up Dr. Seuss week at her preschool through crazy hair day, silly sock day, and crazy hat day. She’s spunky for sure!

One thing I’m not sure I’ve documented in this blog is how much Madilyn enjoys all things art related. She’ll color for her entire quiet time (2 hours!) some days, really likes creating things with craft supplies, and sees beauty in some of the simplest of things. She’ll be taking an art class in the fall, and I think she’s going to really enjoy it!

Naomi Hope

I had a huge breakthrough with her this month! I attended a home school convention in South Carolina with a few friends that was incredible. Instead of going to seminars related to homeschooling, I found myself gravitating toward parenting-strong-willed-kids seminars. The techniques I learned during those seminars have made a world of difference in Naomi’s demeanor, obedience, and her interactions with those around her. This is HUGE!

She’s also continuing to add words to her repertoire and stringing more together. I no longer have a “panic” light on in terms of her language development.

Gideon Joel

Gideon started crawling on March 16 and now, at the end of the month, is pulling up to his knees on anything he can, and on fixed items lower to the ground, he’s able to get to standing. Oh my!

His top two teeth have broken through (thank goodness!) after a few weeks of 5:30am wake ups. Yawn. He’s also really enjoying nodding, though he obviously has no idea what it means. Haha!

He turned 7 months old on the 10th, and he’s starting to show the first signs of separation anxiety. Hopefully the fact that I have been dropping him off daily at the Y or at the church nursery will help soften the blow of the anxiety. Fingers crossed!

He’s still nursing 4 times a day, though he’s easily distracted and would much rather be motoring around. He’s eating solid foods really well still. New this month: tofu, peaches, carrots, and puffs.

His daytime sleep isn’t super consistent, but he usually naps around 9:30-10:15am, and then again from 1:30-3:15ish. It varies widely based on how much he’s been moving around while awake. At least he’s pretty much happy while he is awake since he’s awake a lot more than his sisters!

Nighttime sleep is consistently starting between 6:15-6:30pm, but he’ll wake up anywhere from 5:30-6:30am. Gotta find a way to keep wake up time to at least 6am. Seeing a “5” as the first number on the clock in the morning is a blow to the gut!

Notable Events

I didn’t keep good notes this month, unfortunately. We had several great homeschool co-ops this month revolving around the NC Primary election and Easter. We also spent a lot of time with friends; I even braved the Biltmore Estate with all 4 kids with five other mamas. I think there were at least 15 kids combined and only about 500 steps to drag the double jogging stroller up. Haha!


February: the sick cloud has passed February 29, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sally Ann @ 8:46 pm

So it’s official; we’ve had winter. Let’s bring on SPRING, please! My kids are dying to get outside. Or maybe I’m dying to send them outside. Regardless, we are over being cooped up due to sickness and weather. Hopefully no more than another month of the intense weather! We did actually get out a few times this month, and it was incredible. Counting down to spring!

Abigail Grace

Abigail officially has 6 weeks left of 1st grade. We somehow got ahead of schedule with the curriculum, but that’s ok. Will probably start 2nd grade at the end of June. She’s really excited to start some new stuff, and I have to say, I am too! She and I are those type-A, school supply loving, let’s move on to the next step people. She’s definitely my daughter. Ha!

Her biggest event this month was getting her own library card. She did the whole process by herself and has been so proud to tout her card any chance she gets. It’s pretty adorable.

As far as school goes, cursive, reading, and keyboarding are her favorite things to work on.

Madilyn Joy

This gal is now 5 years old! She had a great “all about Madilyn” day with us–breakfast at Cracker Barrel, a play lodge day, birthday themed co-op, cake and ice cream—so fun! At her wellness checkup, she was 40.5″ tall and 40 lbs. Everything else checked out great too!

I just got her kindergarten curriculum in the mail, and Madilyn can’t stop asking about it. She’s really looking forward to getting started!

Her favorite school subjects are handwriting and reading, but above all ART! She thoroughly enjoys drawing, coloring, stencils, painting, etc. Investigating art camps/classes for her as I really think she’ll love it!

Naomi Hope

Naomi is finally completely healthy after a month of the stomach stuff and a horrible cold (likely RSV) which hung on for three weeks before finally leaving. I’ve become her official speech-language pathologist after fighting it for a while, but it’s going really well. There have been hiccups, of course, but she is using more and more words in combination which is incredibly encouraging.

She’s gotten adept at climbing just about everything, wants to learn how to ride the Stridor bike, really enjoys coloring, but above all, BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS! Her favorite thing to do hands down is sit in a lap and look at books.

Gideon Joel

This little guy is 6 months old now. How did that happen? Halfway to his first birthday already! At his well-visit, he was 17lb 13oz and 28.25″ tall (over a pound lighter and 2″ taller than any other of our kiddos at this age) with a 17.75″ head circumference.

His top two teeth appear to be really close to coming through, so the fussiness has ratcheted up a bit lately. Other than that, he’s a really, really, really happy baby boy. He is such a joy!

In scary news, he developed RSV early in the month which required a sick MD visit and a lot of stress on me and David to pay attention to Gideon’s breathing and hydration. Thankfully, he is fully recovered now. It took over 2 weeks to get there, though.He is still sleeping well—11-12 hours at night, and takes two 1-2 hour naps during the day, nursing 4 times a day. We introduced solids much to Gideon’s disdain. He’s doing a little bit better now, but he’s definitely taking his time. So far, he’s had banana, applesauce, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and pears, but he hasn’t really eating much of any of it. Still trying, though! He also hates bottles. Still trying there too. For now, I’m sort of his only source of nutrition and hydration. Considering it a blessing as much as I can—focus on the positive, right? Yes!

Gideon is our most active kiddo at this age; he’s sitting up independently, easily up on all fours, not crawling yet but close, rolling all over the place, and he absolutely loves the jumper.

Notable Events

We had a somewhat busy month when we weren’t quarantined due to sickness. Ha! Just keeping a list for reference: the girls went to the circus; Wee-Trade was a success again; went to Greenville for my mom’s 60th birthday; David and I celebrated our 9th anniversary at Posana and the French Broad Chocolate Lounge; David took Abigail and Madilyn to a late night daddy/daughter dance, I took all the kiddos to a “Royal Tea Party” at the library; and I took Abigail and Madilyn to their first ballet performance.



January: Naomi’s saga January 31, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sally Ann @ 2:56 pm

Naomi spent the better part of this month battling a mystery GI “bug” or infection or something. She threw up and had diarrhea basically every day between December 27th and January 21st. so.much.laundry. She lost 4 pounds, regressed with her potty training and expressive language, and slept upwards of 16+ hours in every 24 hour period. Unreal. Then just as quickly as it came on, the illness disappeared. All lab tests were negative (tested for viruses, bacterial infections, parasites, etc), so we have absolutely no idea what happened. We are praising God that it’s over, though, because we were pretty concerned. We made an appointment at Levine Children’s Hospital with a pediatric gastroenterologist for the end of February that we may or may not go to depending on Naomi’s health by then. Praying this never happens again!

Abigail Grace

Abigail has proven her first-child responsibility with Gideon and Naomi over and over this month. She protects her brother without any prompting at all, and it’s so sweet. She’s also started really helping out with Naomi—even in the not-so-pleasant times (e.g. cleaning up after Naomi has an accident)! Fabulous!

She started her second reading log at the beginning of the month, and had to read 60 chapters to complete it. She knocked it out in a couple of weeks. Ah! Just started the one for February—90 chapters: 45 of which have to be in her Bible. Excited about this girl’s love for reading.

Her whining and complaining has picked up a bit in the past couple of months, and we’re working to nip that in the bud. She also has a really hard time if Madilyn can do something better than her. In such a case, she usually dissolves into a pool of tears of injustice. She’ll mature soon enough. For now, lots of talks about how to handle such emotions.

I ordered her second grade curriculum, and I’m really excited about starting it later this year. I planned to do year-round home school ending for a slightly longer break in June, then starting back up mid July. However, it looks like she’ll finish first grade around the middle of May, so we may go ahead and start second grade mid-late June. Why not? We’ll just keep the school days shorter (maybe spreading the curriculum out a bit) so that she has plenty of time to play with buddies while they’re out of school for the summer.

Madilyn Joy

Madilyn has made huge strides this month with her reading—in large part to the reading log. It’s been a great accountability tool for me to ensure I’m encouraging her to read consistently. She’s about 55 lessons into “Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons,” and is picking up sight words quickly. She wants to read as well as Abigail, so she will often read a little too quickly and guess at words incorrectly, but she’s making incredible progress.

She is incredibly affectionate (love language: physical touch) with everyone, especially Gideon. “I just love this little boy! *kiss kiss*” and recently started telling most every woman she interacts with that, “You’re beautiful.” I told her not too long ago that the best thing she can say to a pregnant woman is, “You’re beautiful,” and she’s applied that more liberally. I’m all for it!

This month also marked the beginning of Upward basketball games where Madilyn is a cheerleader. She’s nearly the oldest girl on her cheerleading squad, and she’s really into it. She practices her cheers at home, and Naomi has been copying her every move. Adorable!

Naomi Hope

Most of Naomi’s news this month is related to her stomach trouble. She got to experience 3 weeks of life as a gluten and dairy free child. That was tough for us to enforce, and tough for her accept. Both have been reintroduced without incident.

She’s pretty much back on track with potty training and language. I’ve been working with her intentionally for the past week on combining words. She’s not quite putting 2 words together spontaneously, but she’s been incredibly responsive to my prompting. I know she’ll get there. She’s able to communicate her message very effectively and understands everything said to her. Just need to keep working on lengthening her utterances.

Gideon Joel

This not-so-little guy is now 5.5 months old. He’s officially down to two naps a day (9-10:30am, 1:30-3pm), and is pretty consistently sleeping from 6:30pm-6am. Victory! He’s nursing 4 times a day (6:30am, 10:45am, 3pm, 6:15pm) and still hates bottles. Ugh. We will start him on solids around his 6-month-old mark. I’ve already made purees out of sweet potato, pears, peas, and butternut squash and plan to include bananas and applesauce in his menu as well. Hope he takes to it easily!

He’s giggling, putting everything in his mouth, has two teeth that broke through mid January, and started pushing up to his hands and knees on January 23rd. He’s now rocking back and forth on his hands and knees and lunging forward. He likes sitting up and is moving all over the crib when he’s sleeping. He’s also jumping like a crazy boy in his doorway jumper.

He adores his sisters but shows favoritism toward David and me. We’ve left him in the church nursery a couple of times this month, and he did really well. All in all, he’s growing up incredibly too quickly!

Notable Events

A list for my reference:
-Happy 2016
-AWANA and all other weekly activities started back
-Baabal’s for completing reading logs
-Mandy’s baby shower
-Clemson vs Alabama
-SNOW! We got a full 12″!


December: Christmas time is here! December 31, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sally Ann @ 9:23 pm

We had a packed December, as it seems to be each year: so many great events going on, and lots of family time!

Abigail Grace

Chapter books are this girl’s new thing, and it’s hard to stay on top of how quickly she’s soaring through them. Current series of interest: “The Boxcar Children” and “The Never Girls.” Her enthusiasm for reading reached a new level when I introduced a reading log for Christmas break; fill in all the squares (30 total, each representing a chapter), and get a trip to Baabal’s Ice Cream. It took her less than 2 weeks, and these books are all over 100 pages. So glad she loves reading; I was the same way at her age.

She’s now a few weeks into gymnastics and is really enjoying it. Her big goal? To learn how to do a cartwheel. As I don’t think I can even do one anymore, it’s time for me to learn too. YouTube instructional videos, here we come!

Ballet is also of continued interest. The weekend before Christmas, her dance studio put on a mini ballet with the advanced classes; David took the girls, and Abigail especially enjoyed it. We may try to see “The Nutcracker” next Christmas if her interest continues. She’d love it!

The most exciting news in Abigail’s life came on December 20 when she made the decision to invite Jesus into her heart as Lord and Savior. She had been asking questions on and off for a few months, but she made her decision during her date night that Sunday, 12/20. David prayed first, then Abigail said the sweetest, most genuine prayer, and I closed everything up…teary eyed of course. She wanted to get baptized right away, but we’re waiting until family can be in town to celebrate with her in a couple of months. Praise God for her coming to Christ at such a young age!

We gave her a Bible and carrying case at Christmas, and she is really enjoying reading it. Unfortunately due to sickness, we haven’t been to church since she got it, but she keeps talking about how she can’t wait to bring it the next time we go.

Madilyn Joy

Over the Christmas break, I drew up a reading log for Madilyn too, but she had to complete one reading lesson with me to color in a diamond. She has made such awesome progress. We are on lesson 42/100 in the “Teach your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons,” and she is really getting the hang of it. Next up, sight words.

Madilyn really enjoys drawing, coloring, and crafting with modeling clay. Not sure if she’ll be homeschooled for kindergarten yet or not, but if so, I’ll definitely be signing her up for some sort of art class on the side. She’s got a great imagination and doesn’t get easily discouraged. It’s fun to watch her create!

She started cheerleading in November and is really loving it. She’ll cheer at Upward basketball games through January and February, and as several of our Connect Group buddies are playing basketball, she’s stoked to cheer for familiar faces.

Naomi Hope

We finally had Naomi’s 2-year check-up in December, and she’s 27 pounds, 33″ tall, with a 19″ head—the lightest of our 2-year olds yet, probably because she’s so busy, busy, busy all the time. She loves to run back and forth in our homeschool/play room and climbs anything she can. She also LOVES to dance and “sing” whenever she gets the chance.

Naomi’s language is getting better, and while she’s not using 2 words at a time all that often, she has a very large vocabulary. She’s still omitting the beginning of a lot of her words, but she seems to be adding more of those sounds in with every week that passes. Funny story, we were walking through the lobby of church on a Sunday morning, and Naomi wanted to tell me that she would eat a snack in her class. In her 2-year old speak, she tried to say “eat class,” but alas, the “cl” of “class” was left off. I’ll let you figure out the rest. And yes, she was yelling it. Heh.

Her behavior is better than the past few months, but when she tantrums, it’s pretty intense. We are just keeping as consistent as we can in terms of discipline and expectations, and it seems to be working—albeit, gradually.

A couple of days after Christmas, Naomi came down with some sort of stomach bug, and by the end of December, she was still battling it. Poor baby…probably heading to the doctor after the new year.

Gideon Joel

This little guy is 4.5 months old now and growing and changing so quickly. He was sleeping through the night for the first half of the month, and then regressed a bit. Growth spurt? Maybe. Rolling over in the middle of the night and waking up angry on his back? Oh yeah. He also had a cold for a little of the month. Man, once he is consistently sleeping through the night, David and I will be past that phase…forever. Yes!

He is in the midst of spacing out feedings and dropping a nap. He’s eating 5 times a day, but really only needs 4. It’s just a timing thing with his nap situation right now. He’s napping from 8:30-10am or so, a cat nap around 11:30/12, then an afternoon nap from 1:30-3:30pm. He’ll probably drop that middle nap soon.

Still no teeth. Just lots of drool, swollen gums, and fists in his mouth.

During his awake time, he’s reach for and grabbing things then jamming them into his mouth. He’s rolling easily from tummy to back and seems to like to do that in his crib instead of sleeping. Sigh.

He’s incredibly strong and loves his doorway jumper, exersaucer, and sitting with a little assistance from the boppy pillow. We have to really be on guard when holding him because he’ll push off with his hands or just throw his weight and nearly fall out of our arms. Ack!

Notable Events

Lots of events, so I’ll just list ’em:

-Went to Greenville for my Dad’s birthday and Christmas with Greg and Chelsey
-Had our Connect Group Christmas party at Matthew and Alison’s house. So fun!
-My parents took the girls to Greenville so we could go to the party (our great neighbor, Toni, house sat while Gideon slept)
-We had our Connect Group’s supper club at Brandon and Robin’s neighborhood clubhouse, and while the turnout was small, we had a wonderful time with great friends.
-My friend, Lisie, hosted an Arbonne party, and I used it as a great excuse for a girls night out:)
-Madilyn was the star of her Christmas play! Haha! Yes, she was the Christmas Star—the one that led the wise men to Jesus. Hehe. She got a kick out of telling folks “I’m the star!”
-On the 21st, some friends of mine and all our kiddos caroled at a local skilled nursing facility. We had 21 kids total, and it really brightened the faces of the residents. The kids got to hand out cards that they made and some Christmas cookies to boot. So fun!
-Christmas morning, we had cinnamon rolls before David headed out with the girls to hand out candy canes at the local fire station and hospital. The girls caroled for the folks too. So neat! I stayed home with Gideon so he could nap. Next year, we’ll all get to go!
-We hosted my parents, grandparents, and great aunt for an early Christmas dinner, and all had a lot of fun!
-My brother and his wife came up to Greenville the next day, and I decided really last minute to drive down after putting Gideon to bed so that I could see them again. It was a really awesome night, and while driving back to Asheville at 1am was difficult, it was so worth it.
-And what better way to end the month than with Clemson beating Oklahoma and advancing to the National Championship game. Can’t wait for January 11!! Go tigers!!


November: So very thankful November 30, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sally Ann @ 3:58 pm

We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time this month, and in preparing for that weekend, we realized just how much we have to be thankful for. Praising God for His mercy anew every morning!

Abigail Grace

Her interest in reading continues to grow, and I’m doing my best to provide her quiet times throughout the day to be alone to read. It’s hard in a house with 4 kids—especially with the cold temps and rain keeping us inside a lot. Abigail is doing great in first grade homeschool and continues to show a preference for reading and writing (primarily penmanship over actual composition—unless it’s to a pen pal!) above all other subjects. We have a three week break for Christmas, and she’s really looking forward to the downtime to—you guessed it—read “all morning if [she] wants to.”

She is excelling in ballet (splits are her favorite thing) and just started up gymnastics. It’s exciting to see her so passionate—ballet is just about her favorite thing, ever. We are going to see about taking to her a real ballet performance for her next birthday (shhh! don’t tell!) She’d be blown away, I think.

Madilyn Joy

We’ve started Madilyn on BOB books, and she’s loving learning to read. I felt a huge push to get Abigail reading before kindergarten, and it was stressful, but with Madilyn, I’m taking a more relaxed approach, and I think it’s working out much better.

Madilyn loves coloring, and her favorite center at preschool is the Art table. She comes home with all sorts of imaginative creations. She finished up gymnastics earlier this month and told us she was sort of bored with it. We signed her up for cheerleading through Upward Sports, and she is psyched to get started. They had an introductory cheerleading clinic that David took her to, and he said she just ate it all up. She’s been showing us her cheers ever since.

She’s our super compassionate child and is always the first to run to a hurt friend of family member to try and offer aid. She thinks about others and peppers her prayers with thoughts about our compassion child, Genesis, along with friends and family for which she has concern. Really sweet.

Naomi Hope

Welcome to the start of your third year of life, Naomi. In the past month, we’ve seen some breakthroughs in her communication and behavior, though we still have a long way to go. For my SLP friends, I sat with Naomi for about an hour gathering a language sample to establish her phonological processes (both typical and atypical) and get a sense for what sounds are in her phonetic inventory. She’s got final consonant deletion for some consonants and initial consonant deletion for others, a frontal lisp, and a Spanish-sounding dentalized d/t/th. Yee haw! Working on one thing at a time…minimal pairs intervention, anyone? Ha!

She’s learning colors, sorting by shape/color, and more fine motor skills. She loves transferring objects from one container to another and likes to make “food” for us and her dolls. She’s attached to her stuffed frog (“og”) and sleeps with him all the time—napping 2-3 hours each day and sleeping 11ish at night. We went to the dentist for her most recent check-up, and her aggressive thumb sucking while sleeping has already started moving her top teeth out and forward. So begins to adventure of ending the thumb sucking. Prayers, please!

She has a really funny personality and knows how to get laughs. She’s also feisty and strong-willed. We’re figuring out how to communicate with her, though, to minimize blow-ups from her. She’s done great with potty training from before Gideon was born and is getting close to ditching diapers during naps. We aren’t anywhere close to wanting to deal with nighttime dryness yet, though. That’s a commitment!

She has a good sized vocabulary, but her favorite and most-used words are, “eat, up, NO, mama, dada, abba (Abigail), mada (Madilyn), baby, more, all-done, night night.”

Gideon Joel

This boy is now over 3 month old! At his 3-month well visit, he was 15lb 2oz (80th percentile), 26″ long (95th percentile), with a 16.5″ head. He is incredibly strong and loves bearing weight on his feet, rolling tummy to back (and nearly back to tummy), scooting on his tummy from one side of the crib to the other during naps, and has no issue keeping his head up.

He had an almost 7-day stretch where he slept a straight 12-hr stretch at night, but that was more than 2 weeks ago. Nighttime sleep has been more difficult for him, but we know it’s temporary. Trying to get as much sleep as we can *when* we can to make up for the lost Zzz’s at night. He’s napping 3 times a day still, and we assume that’ll continue until he’s about 6 months old.

He nurses 5 times during the day, and usually once at night. Going to bed in the evening is no longer an event—he just goes right down around 6:15-6:30pm. Naps are sometimes a bit trickier, but a little extra rocking beforehand helps him settle quickly.

He’s a vocal little guy with smiles and little giggles for days. We have “conversations” with him back and forth mimicking the noises he makes, and he really seems to enjoy it. We do too, of course!

He’s drooling like his life depends on it and is determined to fit both of his fists in his mouth. When looking at his lower gums over Thanksgiving, we saw what we feared was messing with his sleep—two white lines just beneath the surface. Teeth! All the girls got their first teeth around 4.5-5 months, so this is really early, but hey, he’s gotta get them sometime, right?

Notable Events

In this month, we had David’s 32nd birthday, Naomi’s 2nd birthday with Greg and Chelsey, Christmas tree shopping, Thanksgiving at our house with the David’s parents, Kevin, and Brittany in town, and more good homeschooling days.


October: Fall break, Baby firsts, family fun October 31, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sally Ann @ 10:30 pm

Another month gone already? October was a bit of a blur—thanks to sleep deprivation and busy schedules, I’m sure. We had a lot of fun, though.

Abigail Grace

Abigail’s love for reading has extended to new places this month, and it’s been so fun. She spends some portion of reading to her sisters and/or to Gideon and has additionally begun reading independently for pleasure. She’ll ask, “Can I go to my room and close the door and just read for a little bit?” I did the same thing as a kid, so this thrills me to no end! Just a couple of days ago, I got her the first book in “The Boxcar Children” series that I read as a kid, and she’s devouring it! Suggestions for other chapter book series for early readers?

Our homeschool experience continues to evolve. We recently hit the 50th day of homeschool, and it’s been a fun and challenging ride. Most recently, we started Wacky Wednesdays where we do something just a little bit different and special (e.g. pajama day, silly sock day, etc). Abigail had a lot of fun brainstorming a long list of options to pick from.

We’re also figuring out ways to make what she’s learning more practical and fun instead of relying solely on worksheets and drills. For example, we’re using arithmetic skills as applied to money/money games, temperature, baking/cooking, etc; for handwriting, Abigail had the idea to have pen pals, so we’re attempting to get that underway; and for reading, of course, we’re doing more pleasure reading instead of just phonics study. So far, so good! Hoping to add in some science and art with local courses around town. Stay tuned.

I must say, though, that being in homeschool has made Abigail much more grateful for time spent with friends and really soaks up that time with pals. We make sure that it happens on a regular basis so that she doesn’t feel any sort of isolation, but she’s not surrounded by peers 7+ hours every single day, so when it does happen, she’s all about it.

Oh, and this girl loves ballet. I mean, loves loves loves it. It’s so great to see her exploding with excitement in anticipation over something like ballet! She practices at home and is constantly demonstrating her new moves. Not sure if this will be a passion that continues for years and years, but we are happy to encourage it as long as she loves it!

Madilyn Joy

I’m not sure what to do school-wise with this one. She loves preschool but has been quite vocal about how she feels left out with Abigail, Naomi, and Gideon home all day while she goes off to preschool. I was really hoping to keep her in school until kindergarten, but am open to bringing her home whenever it’s appropriate. Will keep checking in with her to see what she wants to do. She definitely misses being home and probably feels lost in the shuffle between all my focus on Abigail (homeschool) and Gideon (uh, he’s a baby and requires A LOT of time/focus/energy) and Naomi (little pistol).

She’s still our outdoorsy, bug-loving, risk-taking daughter, though. One of the pictures I have of her this month is in the backyard holding a branch of a tree up in the air like it’s a million bucks. She’s constantly got dirty fingernails and worn knees on her pants from all her digging and adventuring outside around the house. She’d rather ride her bike than walk and wants to jump off of everything. She’s still enrolled in gymnastics, but she doesn’t LOVE it like Abigail loves ballet. We’re brainstorming what she might get more enthused about, though she does say she enjoys gymnastics. Suggestions?

And in really exciting news, she just read her first two BOB books recently. She is so proud of herself (and we are crazy proud of her too)! She loves having Abigail read to her, but says she can’t wait to read to Abigail. She seeks a lot of approval from Abigail as she admires her and really looks up to her. We have been trying to make Abigail more aware and sensitive to this fact as she will sometimes brush Madilyn off a bit. Work in progress!

Naomi Hope

Oh my goodness. I love this girl so much and am pretty much certain she will be the cause of my first gray hairs. I think we were spared the terrible 2s for the most part with Abigail and Madilyn, so Naomi is making up for them and doing a great job living out her own terrible 2s. This too shall pass.

Truthfully, I think a lot of her acting out and tantrums stem from her lack of spoken language ability. She is our third child whose spoken language has come late. She understands everything we say to her but is quite limited in her ability to respond. She relies on gestures and grunts for a lot of her communication. The speech pathologist in me makes sure she at least attempts the correct word, but a lot of her verbalizations are vowelized, and she’s pretty consistently dropping the initial consonant (and sometimes final consonant too) of words. Geez. Talk about a tough case!

If you ask her any question (ANY…yes any), she will immediately answer “NO!” before considering any other answer. She has bitten, kicked, scratched, hit, slapped everyone except Gideon. Of course there are consequences for her behavior, and David and I have been very consistent with that. She’s just really strong-willed. Praying that our consistency in discipline and our overt love toward her will eventually break through—oh, and that her language would improve soon because, well, I’m trying everything I know to do from what I learned in grad school, but so far, limited luck.

She is quite the comedienne, though, and a great physical actress—mimicking movements or poses of people around her/in magazines/in books/in movies, etc. It’s fun to watch—kind of like miming or something. She’s got a great smile, and she really does love her sisters, brother, and “mamaaaaaa” and “dadaaaaa.” Heh. Can’t wait to see how her personality continues to develop. She’ll be 2 in just a couple of weeks—can’t believe it!

Gideon Joel

Gideon hit the 2-month mark this month and has had quite a few firsts: first laugh (10/9), first 12-hr straight stretch at night (10/15), first time rolling from tummy to back (10/16), and his first cold (compliments of his sisters) in addition to first coo-like talking and more happy awake time. We used the time change to our advantage and moved his bedtime back to 6:30pm instead of 7:30pm. While he did have a great 12-hr stretch a couple of weeks back, he’s pretty consistently going 7-9 hours at night before we hear from him. Not too shabby!

He’s still napping 4 times a day around 8am, 11am, 1pm, and 5pm, goes down for the night between 6:30-6:50pm, and wakes up once around 3am before nursing and going back to bed til 6:30am. Not too bad!

He hates bottles. We did a bottle bootcamp last month, and after doing mostly all bottles for two days in a row, he was downing them like a champ. But it’s really difficult (ok, almost impossible) for me to give him bottles during the week and make time to pump too to keep him well practiced with bottles. That means on the weekend when I’m working, I’m basically having to just come home to nurse him because he’s refusing bottled breast milk. Praying this changes soon!

He nurses 5-6 times every 24 hours and is pretty efficient (only 10-15 minutes total), so that’s nice! I wish I was able to savor the nursing time with him, but I’m usually in the midst of chaos while he’s eating—often having to hold him on while taking Naomi to the potty or helping Abigail with homeschool stuff. Heh. Multitasking at its craziest!

He’s still in size 2 diapers but is nearly maxing out his 3-6 month footed sleepers. Such a long baby! He enjoys tummy time for a few minutes each day and is getting increasingly happy on his floor mat and bouncy seat. He still falls asleep on me and nuzzles into my neck…soaking it all up as we are officially finished with having kiddos—no possible way to turn back now. So excited that our family is complete!

Notable events

A list of events from October to remind myself of later: homeschool fall break from the last week of September through October 12, homeschool co-op for leaf art, apple picking at SkyTop with Blythe and her kiddos, I started back to work at Park Ridge on the weekends, the girls spent a weekend in Greenville, we caught then lost then caught then lost again then finally caught a stray kitten that had been hanging out around our house a couple of days, pumpkin patch fun, family bonfire, co-op for pumpkin carving, Halloween. See you next month!



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