Monday, June 27, 2011

Sixteen Months Old

Oh my word, ya'll. My baby is a full-blown, busy, active toddler. Complete with temper tantrums. How does that sweet newborn stage vanish so quickly?

This girl is into anything and everything. She prefers to run everywhere, and do most everything herself. Though she cannot say "my do it" like her sister did, she insists on doing things herself by pushing our hands away when we try to help. She is quite the adventurous little climber, and she also has a facination with toilet water that keeps us on our a-game around here.

Whenever Brooklyn disappears (not that it ever happens in my house since I'm able to closely supervise my children every second of every day, mind you), she can usually be found inside the front door looking out. She is facinated by the great outdoors.

Brooklyn now says "Uh-oh" and "bye-bye" with the appropriate meanings. She can also say "Mama" and "Dada" although not necessarily correctly. She sometimes says "joo" for juice. She uses signs for "more" and "all done." She is about to meet her first speech goal (after months of hard work!) of making five non-speech sounds spontaneously during play, so we are getting super excited about that.

Brooklyn and Savannah play very well together. They thoroughly enjoy each other and are going to be the best little buddies. Savannah is protective and Brooklyn adores her and wants to do everything she does. It brings such joy to hear them making each other laugh. And about as soon as you realize how proud you are of them, one of them hits the other one, and its all downhill from there. Lets just be honest. But you take what you can get.

Brooklyn has quite the mischevious streak that is emerging. She is continually "messing with us" and it definitely keeps us guessing, and keeps her laughing. The other day we were trying to feed her, and she would sit there with her mouth open until you got the food right up to her, at which time she would promptly close her mouth so that you spilled what was on the spoon. Then she would just laugh.

She also has started to try to charm her therapists out of making her work. Today when she was supposed to be making the "b" sound to get her therapist to blow bubbles, she decided she would just give her therapist a big ole smooch instead. Unfortunately, it didn't work and she still had to ask for the bubbles. But it was cute.

We sure are thankful for this girl... from the curls on the back of her neck to the pudgy belly that hangs over her diaper. From the slobbery kisses to the sticky hugs, we just couldn't ask for anything better. We love our sweet Brooklyn, even if she does remind us that its the quiet ones you have to watch out for.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Five-Minute Friday: Wonder

Gulp, I'm gonna try something new. My awesome writer friend Renee (who used to be my mom's friend but now I can call my friend too... weird how that works huh) has been doing what is called "five minute fridays" for a while now and I always enjoy reading her posts. So, in an effort to grant you something a little more... insightful... than pictures of darling babies with food on their faces... I present five-minute fridays. Only five minutes. No editing allowed.

The topic this week: Wonder

Ready? Go!

I feel as though I often get too busy to wonder. When you are rushing about to the gym and planning dinner while on the bike and talking on the phone while driving (but not texting while driving!) and just multitasking in general, it is difficult to find the time to appreciate the wonder of it all. When was the last time you noticed water droplets on flowers or the shape of the clouds or the beauty in the sunset? I sure don't do it often enough.

Perhaps the most striking sense wonder is through the eyes of a child. Have you ever noticed the sweet enthusiasm for bubbles floating through the air, or the facination with those dandelion fluffy things (what are those called?), or the instant celebrity status you are granted if you can snap your fingers? Sometimes we can learn such great lessons from our children... like the invitation to set it all aside, appreciate the beauty, and just... wonder.

Yesterday, as I was on my way to a baby shower, a song came on the radio by Steven Curtis Chapman, and the words struck me... this is the only moment we can do anything about, so breathe it in and breathe it out and listen to your heartbeat. Theres a wonder in the here and now...I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment. Here's to hoping we all stop and rediscover the wonder today.

Time's up! Stop!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Princess Kate, aka Savannah

Savannah had to give up one of her current titles this past weekend, and since we are fresh off the royal wedding, she decided her crown looked an awful lot like Princess Kate's.

So, at the pageant, when people asked her what her name was, she replied, "Princess Kate!"

We got some confused and amused looks.

Savannah had a good time. She was recognized on stage for raising money for Children's Miracle Network.

And she helped to crown the new Young Miss queen.

I'm proud of these sweet girl who is beautiful inside and out.

Even if she did forget she was next to a microphone when she said, "Momma! Hey Lauren! Do I have to be quiet while I'm on the stage?" much to the amusement of the pageant audience. Love that crazy girl!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Seeking Strawberries

Oh maaan. So, a few weeks ago I thought I'd go strawberry picking. Strawberries are one of my kids' favorite foods (a rare one they will BOTH eat) and I thought it would be fun to make strawberry jam because they consume PB&J like its going out of style. Anyhow, I didn't realize how short strawberry picking season is. Like, you blink and you miss it.

So when I called about going to the strawberry farm, they informed me, in the middle of the day, that it was the last day. Oh no! Not one to be defeated easily, I loaded up my jeep and drove to the middle.of.nowhere. to pick strawberries.

Maybe I should've been alarmed when there were no cars in the parking lot. Or when the old man sitting at the front desk said "you better take you a gallon of water to drink" or when I was told "you'll be lucky if you can fill up both your buckets without dyin'." Now, I've always been one of those book-smart people (read: I can write a paper on anything, but ask me to figure out something that doesn't involve getting a 4.0, and I'm pretty worthless), and Darren likes to point out that someone in the common sense department skipped over me. But I probably should've re-thought my plan. To pick strawberries. On the last day. In the heat of the day. By myself.

Nevertheless, I continued on with my buckets. For miles. A nice old gentleman gave me country directions down the fields and they involved something about turning past the 19th bale of hay and going over a bridge and past a pond and "you can't miss 'em." So I drove my trusty jeep down and down and down into the fields... and then I had a thought. I wonder what strawberry plants look like? Yes, folks. So I started to slow down every time I saw green vegetation. Are strawberries bushes? I know they aren't trees. Why haven't I ever paid attention? Then I remembered he said something about going over a bridge, and I knew I hadn't done that yet. I do know what bridges look like.

I finally arrived, and they are kind of like rows of bushes, by the way. I got out and noticed how hot it was. And oddly enough, as I stood there next to my jeep, I noticed that as far as I could see in every direction, there were no humans. Interesting. I turned on my pink ipod and figured if there were no people around, no one would mind me belting out some Brad Paisley songs while I did my picking. I grabbed my two buckets and headed over to pick the fruit I'd come so far for. Except I didn't see ANY strawberries. Rather than picking, I like to call the next part of the adventure "seeking strawberries."

Two hours later, I finally had two buckets full. The workers may or may not have been snickering at my red face, large amount of time spent, and two small buckets full of strawberries. So when the old man said, "I told you it was too hot down there," I may or may not have grinned and replied, "Sir, I'm from Alabama. It ain't even hot here." To which he replied, "Well, I guess that explains it then. Roll tide."

Moral of the story: It would probably be better to pick strawberries... early in the season. In the morning. With a few friends. But when its all said and done... they taste just as good in June.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Overheard at My House: Fathers Day

Savannah was interviewed about her Daddy in church this morning. You might enjoy her answers!

How old is your daddy? 6.
How much does your daddy weigh? 4 pounds.
What does your daddy love to do? Play basketball.
What is your daddy's favorite food? Spicy stuff.
What is Daddy's favorite movie? Rapunzel.
Where does Daddy work? Well, he doesn't really work right now because somebody stepped on my daddy's very long foot and broke it but its not broke all the way off.
Why do you love your daddy? Because he reads me books before I go to bed.

Friday, June 17, 2011


My garden is growing! And that makes me all kinds of happy. In the back of the picture, those are potatoes. To the back right corner, the corn. On the right, overtaking the garden, is the squash. Thats only two plants worth... I don't really know whats going on with that. In the center, barely poking up, there are sweet potatoes. On the left, tomatoes. Front center, cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumber. And far front, sunflowers.
All. kinds. of. happy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Little Moments

It just doesn't get better than enjoying a hot summer night with two fresh-smelling babies giggling as they drip everywhere in matching towels after bathtime. The little moments... thats where life happens. Stop and enjoy a little moment of your own today!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow! Our Whirlwind Roadtrip to Cincinnati

Well, this week took a turn I didn't expect. But I'm beginning to learn that with Miss Brooklyn, I really should expect the unexpected. Her pediatrician and therapists have becoming increasingly more concerned about her atypical development and continued seizures. So, last week they referred her to Cincinnati Children's Hospital. It is a long drive from our hometown, but it has won multiple awards for being the best, so we were in agreement that a road trip might just be necessary. When they began to process her paperwork, they said she would most likely be seen in August, or maybe even the fall.

Then Monday rolled around, and I called to confirm they had received some paperwork I had faxed over. They said they did, and then said... "Hey... we've had a cancellation for tomorrow... would you like that appointment?" Tomorrow? Tomorrow?! Tomorrow! So began a whirlwind of travel arrangements, requesting PTO, childcare arrangements, packing, etc. And within two hours, we were off!

Can you believe this girl would not sleep in the car in spite of me listening to George Bush's Decision Points on audio-cd for school? :) Eight long hours later (thank you, construction workers for slowing traffic for miles when you weren't even working) we arrived in Cincinnati and checked into our hotel at 11pm.

Someone may or may not have been relieved to be out of the car and able to move.

We got a few hours of sleep, and then headed to the hospital.

Brooklyn underwent a two-hour assessment in the Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She saw a nurse, social worker, physical therapist, developmental pediatrician, and a nurse practitioner. They ran a whole battery of tests on her, which she really thought was playtime. They were awesome with her, and the facilities were incredible. They even had volunteers to play with her while we spoke with doctors and listened to instructions.

Then the team met and wrote their report and made decisions about treatment options. They came back and explained several things to us. Some of it we already knew, and some of it was new discovery. They explained that Brooklyn has extensive developmental delays. She is about six months behind in speech and language development, and four months behind in social and emotional development. She is about three months behind cognitively. She also has a slight delay in fine motor skills. She was, however, right on target for her gross motor skills.

They also told us that Brooklyn's head is atypically large for her body size. While her height and weight are 75% for her age, her head is almost 110%. This is called macrocephaly. This is a pretty big red flag. It can mean that something abnormal is going on in her brain, like a growth or too much fluid, or something like that. It can also be benign, though.

They also noticed her low muscle tone and balance issues, and would like to continue to keep an eye on that.

Their final concern was her seizures. She continues to experience those quite often, and they want to run more tests to try to ascertain the cause. If they rule out all structural causes, they will most likely place her on anti-seizure meds to help get those under control.

They asked us to come back up and stay for 3-4 days so that they can run extensive tests and get her in to see multiple specialists. They are going to do an MRI under general anesthesia, and also measure the fluid levels in the brain while they are doing that. They also want to do a prolonged EEG to see if they can capture images of seizure activity. They want her to see a neurologist and a speech pathologist.

We loaded back into the car and began the long journey home. After being gone 32 hours, and spending 15 of those in the car, we arrived home very tired. We are so thankful that Cinci was able to see our girl though and that they share our concerns. Most of all, we are grateful for their commitment to get answers.

Special thanks for our church family and friends for your support, to Mimi for entertaining Brookie in the backseat so that I could drive, to Grandad for a free hotel room, to Mariott for setting up a pack-n-play for us and having everything ready to go when we arrived, to Mattie and the awesome volunteers at the hospital for entertaining baby B, to Gram-B and Miss Catherine for keeping Savannah, and to the great team of doctors and staff there!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Operation Swingset

My husband is awesome.
He is amazingly talented.

When all of you voted for Savannah to win the Halloween costume contest a year and a half ago, she was awarded $400 in visa giftcards. We used the money to buy supplies for this "swingset".
It started out as a swingset anyway. Then it kind of morphed into a fortress of sorts. I guess thats what happens when you turn the carpenter loose with visa gift cards and graph paper.
My kids are so lucky to have such a good daddy that was willing to spend many hours in 90-degree weather building this for them.
And they are very happy with it. Me too. Even if I do think maybe we should've gotten a building permit.

What can I say? My husband has skills. Great job, honey, and thank you!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Best of Intentions

I've been learning a lesson over the course of the past year about being intentional. Sometimes motherhood is so exhausting that its hard to be intentional about anything. If you all make it through the day alive, fed, clothed, and unharmed, then by golly its a success! And we definitely have those days. I've become more aware, however, that if I don't set out with the intent to accomplish certain things, I won't accomplish much of anything. I read somewhere that 95% of people who set goals meet them. So why don't we set more goals?!

The first area I learned this in was time with my hubby. If we didn't intentionally plan a night to go out or even just to spend time together, we ended up doing other things. And not bad things, just other things. We'd have a night with no plans, and he'd flip on the tv and I'd grab a book and go read in the other room. And we'd spend zero time together. But when we intentionally planned one night a week just spending time together, it made a huge difference.

I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago and she said "I want to be intentional with my summer." And I thought yes! I don't want the whole summer to pass by and feel like that time that both of my kids were home was just... gone. So I began to think about what I wanted to accomplish with them this summer. And most of this applies just to Savannah because Brooklyn is so little, but some of it applies to both.

1. I want Savannah to practice writing her letters for a few minutes each day.
2. I want us all to make time for daily devotions.
3. I want Savannah to complete the public library reading program (5 hours of listening to an adult read by the end of July).
4. I want to spend at least one morning each week just enjoying my children. Either at the pool or at home or out somewhere fun... I want uninterrupted, high-quality time with them not worrying about work or school or house work.
5. I want Savannah to learn to swim.

There are other things I want to accomplish around the house, and in my own life, but this is a good starting point for an intentional summer. What do you think? Anything I should add to my list?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Date Forty-Five

Redbox movie, steak dinner, apple pie, and sweet tea.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It was time.

It was time for some organization. Or reorganization. Or something. Sweet mercy, the state of the cabinets was not good. There were things that expired in 2008. And things we never use. And 17 packages of popcorn, three opened bags of croutons, and four bottles of barbecue sauce. It was time.

Some rubbermaid containers were purchased (who even knew rubbermaid has a bread container shaped like a loaf of bread?!), tortilla chips that had turned green were disposed of, cabinets were washed out, and all is happy in kitchenland again.

Except, of course, for the husband that wasn't exceptionally amused by cleaning out kitchen cabinets on a Friday night. Ahem.