Friday, August 30, 2013

Weekend Links 8/30/13

Hope you all enjoy a nice long, holiday weekend! Any plans? We have lots of relaxation, friend time, and eating scheduled over the next three days, which pretty much makes up the perfect weekend in our book! If you have a few seconds of down time, check out some the links below. Happy reading!

Missing Out - (in)courage
Lessons from my 28th year - RATM
Hope for spicy families - Jen Hatmaker

ED, Mental Health and/or Self Esteem
Baby makes four: When mothers have eating disorders - ED Bites
I label you - Surviving Anorexia
What I want you to know about Seasonal Affective Disorder - RATM

Infertility and/or Miscarriage
One Year - The Blogivers
You must be this pregnant to ride, Guest Post: Lindsay Riddell - Enjoying the Small Things

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dealing with delays

**My blogging friend, Chelsea, wrote a post a while back discussing her daughter Audrey and her developmental delays. I am stealing the title "Dealing with delays" from her.** 

Clara had her 15 month well check yesterday. A little late this time around due to the pedi's jam packed schedule (hello school starting), but we fit it in nonetheless. When the nurse took us back to our room she proceeded to ask a series of questions (this is normal) relevant to an average 15 month old.

You can probably see where this is going. . . 

Nurse : Does your child say 3-5 words?
Me: No

Nurse: Does your child follow simple instructions such as "Bring me the ball?"
Me: No

Nurse: Does your child drink from a sippy cup?
Me: No

Nurse: Can your child feed, or attempt to feed, herself with a spoon?
Me: No

Nurse: Does your child point to objects in a book with one finger?
Me: No

Nurse: Does your child understand how items are used such as using, or attempting to use, a brush to brush her hair?
Me: No

Nurse: Can your child scribble with a crayon?
Me: No

Nurse: Is your child walking?
Me: No

Insert emotional meltdown on my part. That I did not see coming. 

Nurse: I'm sorry, these are just all questions I have to ask.
Me: I know and I understand. She's just really delayed so you most all of these questions will probably not apply to us.

On most days, I am strong and confident, and do not feel weighed down by the delays my sweet girl is experiencing. I guess I get used to what "our normal" is, and just learn to roll with it. But not yesterday. It hit me like a ton of bricks. During all the questioning Clara was sitting on the examination table struggling to play with some wooden puzzle game, so I suppose visually watching her struggle, coupled with hearing the questions and speaking her delays out loud were just too much.

I went home a little upset with myself that I let my emotions get the best of me. But as the day went on I keep asking myself "Why?" "Why am I so upset with myself for breaking down?"

Maybe because I thought getting emotional equals a weakness of some sort? Weakness as a mom when I need to be strong for my daughter? Not sure.

But, deep down, I know that's a lie. A lie that is easy to see now, but not so easy to distinguish in the moment. So since the events of yesterday I have been focusing on what I know to be truth.

Isaiah 43:2
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

I think this verse applies to many areas of life, outside of my family & our experience with developmental delays, does it not? Insert what you want. Insert whatever you are facing this day, and it is bound to provide a glimmer of hope. Hope in the midst of mental illness, infertility, marriage struggles, sickness, family dysfunction, financial woes, and so, so much more. 

So on days like yesterday, because I am sure they will come again, I will choose Isaiah 43:2, and remember that emotions do not make me weak, they just makes me human. And even though the flood and fire are bound to come, I have a hope that wins out, every time. 

**Now I know full well that there are parents that have it much worse. That have a much harder road to walk, maybe a lifetime worth of struggles that face their children. I am not pretending to be that parent. That said, being honest and open about our journey is the best way I know to properly process OUR reality, during this life phase.**

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Clara 15 months

Clara turned 15 months on August 2nd! Same day Brandon turned the big 3-0!

Yes, she's now closer to 16 months but better late than never, per usual. 

A few things about Clara at 15 months:
Crawling like a champ! Love to see her cutie booty crawling all over the house!

Learned to shake her rattle (it's things like this that might not seem like a big deal to some, but for us, stuff like this is HUGE and so fun to see her little mind get it!)

Pulling up some (has to be the perfect set up but she is trying)

Expressing her opinion more (via whining and meltdowns) and showing more of her personality

Makes herself laugh while she is playing alone, which is fun to watch & hear!

Overall just becoming more and more interested in the world around her

LOVES bath-time, swimming, playing in the mirror, looking out the window, crawling around and exploring the house, and anything musical. Still does NOT love when we wipe her face, touch her hands, clean her nose, or try to brush her teeth (oh man do we see big dental bills in our future!).

She is such a JOY to be with every day. Love her so much!

In therapy we are working on: holding items with two hands, holding items in both hands at once, desensitizing her aversion to hand/mouth touch, desensitizing her aversion to certain noises, pulling up, feeding (girlfriend still has NO desire to swallow anything with texture), and making noises such as "baba gaga dada mama," etc (none so far, but I am confident she is soaking it all in).

Other info: We received her EEG results and they were totally normal! Praise God! Neurologist even called her report "boring." He said she is showing no signs of cognitive abnormality or delays. SO thankful! Clara had a swallow study done this summer to access if there is a medical reason why she is opposed to swallowing anything that is not pureed. She did not cooperate during the study (ha!) but from the small amount they saw via camera the therapist saw no medical issues. Her guess is that Clara's texture/solid food aversion is purely sensory (which we suspected, but had to rule medical reasons out) & motor related (motor meaning, her jaw is not strong enough to chew the food up enough where she is comfortable swallowing). We also completed blood work for the whole genome sequencing genetic test. Should get results end of the year or right after the New Year. She is getting her eyes rechecked at the end of this week.

Size 12-18 month clothes, size 2 shoe although some are too small yet 3's are way too big

Weight = 21 pounds 12 oz
Height = approximately 30 inches, nurse had a hard time getting exact measurement
HC = 16.73 inches (0%)

Schedule: Sleeps 7:30pm - 7:30 or 8am, and takes one nap per day usually around 12 or 12:30. She will sleep anywhere from 1.5-3 hours. We just move bedtime earlier, around 7pm, if her nap is on the shorter side.

That's about all! She is truly the sweetest baby around and I wouldn't trade anything for my days at home with her!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bedrest and best daddy ever

I mentioned in this post how we were in Galveston recently (two weekends ago) celebrating a friends 30th birthday. We arrived Saturday afternoon and spent the day playing with the kids on the beach and eating delicious hamburgers, chips and sides. We stayed the night there with the intent of waking up Sunday to enjoy a lazy day/afternoon with our friends, playing with the kids and letting Clara play in the ocean water mud one more time before heading back home. But that all changed quickly when I woke up Sunday morning.

I won't go into a ton of descriptive details here, but I will say I was experiencing some symptoms related to pregnancy that I knew needed to be checked out by a Dr., asap, and not taken lightly. I called my Dr's on call line, and was told to come to the ER for blood work and an ultrasound. (16 weeks 5 days at this point)

We spent five hours in the ER Sunday, but PRAISE GOD the baby is ok. We saw the baby and strong heartbeat for a good 30 minutes while the tech was checking everything out. I had tears streaming down my face during the entire ultrasound. The symptoms came back, while I was there, but stopped enough where the ER Dr. told me to go home on bed rest until I was able to follow up with my regular OB. Followed up with him the next day and at this point, there was no huge concern or reason for symptoms that he could see off the bat, but told me to come back in a week (follow up appt is today actually) for another exam. Three hours later, once I was home, the symptoms returned. I was told to stay down the rest of the night and my Dr would check on me in the morning. Then Tuesday morning I fainted (y'all. . . I don't make these things up). I was told to stay down the rest of Tuesday and for the rest of the week to just take it very very easy. Brandon was able to work from home all week and help with Clara since I wasn't supposed to lift her if at all possible. Thankfully, I have had no symptoms at all since last Tuesday morning. I go back to my OB today (now 18 weeks) for another exam just to make sure everything still looks ok. Praying that all is well and that these were random and/or insignificant symptoms that are now behind us!

So while I was on bed rest most of last week, Brandon played the role of super dad and had a week full of fun with Clara. I am sure she is wondering where her daddy is this week and why mommy is back in charge!! Here's a few pics from their week. . .

Watched mommy on the monitor. . . If you look closely you will see Clara is watching ME on the monitor. Yep. . . Brandon set me up in our bedroom and put the camera on the nightstand so he could spy on me to make sure I wasn't breaking my bed rest rules.

Practiced her crawling

 Helped daddy with his computer work (or something like that???)

 I'm not quite sure what she was doing here, ha!

Practiced holding toys with two hands 

Snuggled with mommy in the mornings (he would bring her in our bedroom each morning so we could have some cuddle time)

Swam in the backyard

And Brandon cooked for us every single meal. Grilled chicken stuffed with onions and bell peppers, salads the size of my face (that I ate out of a family style bowl, and yes every single bite was consumed, don't judge), and a double chocolate pb pizookie (he made up ALL of these recipes off the top of his head!). I am having food withdraws this week and it is only Tuesday.

Praying for an uneventful OB appt today and pregnancy from here on out!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Weekend Links 8/16/13

Haven't done one of these in a while so I thought it was about time. Happy reading & happy Friday!

Here is good too - Enjoying The Small Things
Slowing down to breathe - (in)courage
Words, Walkers and Possibilities - Life Rearranged
Down Syndrome: Where We Are Now - Enjoying The Small Things

Both the Life Rearranged and Down Syndrome post from ETST are a must read for any parents of special needs kids, regardless of your child's special need, even if the diagnosis is developmentally delayed. Or even if there is no diagnosis, but you just feel that life is/will be different for your child, for a time or permanently. While I cannot pretend to understand or relate to a parent whose child has Cerebral Palsy or Down Syndrome, I resonated with so many concepts presented, in both posts.  

ED and/or Self Esteem
Eating Disorder News Roundup - Living with Food (Lots of great links within this one)
The trauma of having an eating disorder - ED Bites
Getting off the scale: Non-weight severity markers in anorexia - ED Bites

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Clara's (current) favorite things. . .

PLAYING THE TRUMPET - Girlfriend is still trying with all her might to make noise with her trumpet. She has come so far (she can pick it up with two hands, bring to mouth and press the buttons) but doesn't quite understand how to blow. She literally did this for 30 minutes one day. 

ROCKING THE PONYTAIL - Since her hair is actually really long on top (well, it's long all over but you just can't tell b/c of all the curls), I tried to pull it together in a top pony tail. It worked. Kind of. Ha! And no - I don't think that ridiculously large bow matches her outfit, I was simply trying to see if her itty bitty ponytail would hold a bow. I do not plan for her to sport that thing in public. No worries.

And here I tried pigtails. Didn't work so well. Her expression says it all.

READING BOOKS WITH DADDY - Once Brandon is home from work, this is her favorite spot. She will crawl over to her book cubby and hit them (her way of showing us what she wants, she cannot yet pull the books out on her own) until Brandon comes over to read with her.

LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW - If I ever walk out of the room for a minute and come back and Clara has moved out of sight, 99.9% of the time I can find here right here.

GOING TO THE BEACH - We took Clara to the beach last weekend to celebrate a friends 30th birthday and she absolutely loved it! (I know you are all super jealous of our breathtaking ocean water. I should have added a filter to these pics for the sake of your eyes.)

 "Mommy, don't expect me to look at the camera when the sun is blaring in my eyes."

We have had A LOT going on since our beach trip last weekend, but all of that is another post for another day. Have a great week!

Monday, August 5, 2013

HelloMornings, registration starts today!

Have you guys heard of HelloMornings Challenge?

I participated in the last challenge, that ended Friday, and I LOVED it. I wanted to pass the word on to all you females in case you are interested in participating. I know the concept of waking up early sounds completely torturous to some of you. . . but it is so worth it!

A little bit about HelloMornings (source). . .

What is the HelloMornings Challenge?

The HelloMornings challenge was birthed several years back out of a desire to provide encouragement and accountability for Christian women pursuing the life-changing habit of getting up early. Through Facebook or Twitter, accountability groups check in with one another throughout the week and encourage one another in their early-morning goals, with an emphasis on their time in the Bible.

When is the HelloMornings Challenge?

There are typically 3 HelloMornings Challenges a year. One in the fall (August-November), winter/spring (January-April), and summer (May-July) each lasting about 13 weeks. Specific dates and lengths vary from challenge to challenge. Subscribe to the blog to receive all announcements and updates for the upcoming challenge.

How does the HelloMornings Challenge work?

The HelloMornings Challenge is a daily check-in via social media accountability groups.  Before or after their morning routine, group members check in with their assigned group on Facebook or Twitter.
You choose the group that fits most with what you are looking for, or you can form your own group at church or in your community. Once you register, your Accountability Captain (group leader) will contact you before the challenge begins with more details.

How can I register for the Challenge?

All ladies are welcome to join the Challenge! Subscribe to get our blog posts by email to be sure you don’t miss the next open registration!
In the meantime, you can always jump into the #hellomornings Twitter stream, or join the conversation on Facebook.

What if I want to form my own group or stay with my previous group?

You are welcome to organize your own group for the HelloMornings Challenge. We just ask that you email us about your group so we can stay connected with you and support you on your journey, and that you review the group leader expectations.
We will provide the inspiration and a variety of resources. You will be responsible for making sure your group knows how and where they will connect with one another.
This is a great option for those who want to do the HelloMornings Challenge with their moms group, church group, blog audience, or some friends. It’s also and excellent option for previous HelloMornings groups who want to stay together for future challenges.
“It is very easy for me to give up…but I’m learning that it’s not just an all or nothing routine. I’m learning to take grace for the day and try again the next. I have noticed a great difference in my overall attitude towards my kids and my outlook for the day. This was my first challenge and I’m excited to register for the next one!” – Janice Morrow (via Facebook)

#HelloBibleStudy! Using the Quench Bible study method, Lara Williams and Katie Orr develop a wonderful and simple Bible study for each challenge for us to go through together each session. Of course, it’s optional and you are welcome to do any study you choose.
#HelloExercise! Focusing more on building a foundation than reaching a certain goal (i.e. run a 5k or lose a certain amount of weight), we will help you develop the habit of exercise and healthy living.
#HelloPlanning! We share various tips, resources, and product reviews to help enable you to become a better planner. We hope this blog will be a great space for everyone to share ideas and ask questions.

Now. . . I am naturally an early riser, so this was not a hard transition for me to wake up early, but it was so neat to connect with a group of women, early in the morning, as we took time in the word, planned our days, and fit in some exercise. Obviously, the whole fitting in exercise thing was the hardest part of the challenge for me. But there is something about waking up early, with some purpose and intention, that just really sets the day off on a better note, at least in my experience. 
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