Sunday, April 24, 2016


It's officially spring in Iowa and we are loving it!  All of my kids love being outside and let's be honest the fresh air and sunshine is therapeutic to me too!

We celebrated Easter only about a month ago, but it seems like ages ago already.  The kids and I made these sunset paintings and then cut out three crosses to glue on top and read the story in their Bible.  Amaia particularly enjoyed this, because my big girl could paint for days on end and not get tired of it :)  We also made palm branches out of paper and found a kid's worship song entitled "Hosanna" and danced and sang along.  It was so fun and all 3 kids really enjoyed it, which is hard to find in an activity. On good Friday we washed each others feet and talked about Jesus' example in doing that and they also enjoyed that more than I expected.  I love traditions and really value them so I hope that some of these things become something that we look forward to every year.  On Easter we went to church on Saturday at our regular service and then had some family over for a casual lunch on Sunday.

One thing that I have learned about Haddon this spring is that he is absolutely fascinated by worms!  I fear the day that he picks one up and brings it into my house or puts it right into my face.  Ha ha.  In March we did a lot of jumping in puddles and exploring nature.  I'm a just a city girl trying to encourage my kids to love the outdoors :)

In March we had a really wonderful visit from Grammie and Amaia was gifted her first big girl bike, which she loves! She has been faithfully practicing since that day.  She is definitely slow and cautious  like her mama, but I can already tell that her skills have improved.  Lately when we have going on walks in the evening she rides along with us.

The past week or two it has been pretty warm and we have been all about the park!  My sweet little baby Vera does not enjoy being carried around or pushed around in a stroller at the park anymore, which is VERY dirty because she is not walking yet, but the experts seem to say that dirt is good for you :)  I have been really trying to encourage a lot of walking practice at home with her, because I do hate crawling outside.  I really think that she could walk and she will occasionally take a step or two on her own, but she is currently not so interested and prefers crawling.

And lastly, my sweet Haddon mowing the lawn along side his daddy.  Adam was mowing the lawn and Haddon said "I want to mow like daddy" and then proceeded to run into the garage and get his lawn mower too.  It was a really sweet moment and I'm thankful that Aunt Ash grabbed a picture for us, because Haddon is normally too cool for school when it comes to picture taking.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Amaia Turns 5!

My baby girl turned 5!  All Amaia wanted for her birthday is to have friends over and eat cake.  It's the simple things! So we planned a simple party for Saturday with friends and on her actual birthday (Friday) she chose to go out on a breakfast date with daddy and then on a Starbucks date with mommy.  I asked her a few days after the fact what was her favorite part of her birthday celebrations and it wasn't the cake or the unicorn present or the balloons, it was going on dates with mommy and daddy. 

Here we are on on our coffee date.  The birthday girl got a cake pop and hot chocolate and we chatted and played the Frozen memory game, which we tied fair and square.  I do not know why we have not done this before, because it was SO fun.  We are definitely going to have to start doing this more often.

I didn't get a lot of pictures of her friend party because lots and lots of children at my house requires attention!  But we had the rare of opportunity of playing outside because it was so nice out!  We played a few games outside, which didn't go as I had planed, but the kids still seemed to have a lot of fun and got to run out some energy.  Then we came inside for presents, pizza and cake.  Amaia chose this birthday cake with the princesses on it so that she could keep the dolls for playing with later on. Turning 5 seems like such a big milestone to me and it was really fun celebrating our sweet girl.

Here are a few things I want to remember about my beautiful 5 year old:

She loves all things princess and super hero equally.  She chose an Avengers balloon for her birthday this year and is always imagining new super heroes and telling me about them.

She is one smart lady.  She is already reading very well and has the imagination and memory to match.

She is still one tall lady - in 90 percentile for height.

She loves her friends.  All she wanted for her birthday was to have friends over, and seemingly everything she looks forward to (church, school, etc.) is just because she wants to see her friends.

The week of her birthday she started waking up VERY early in the morning, so we have officially transitioned to a quiet time in the afternoon instead of a nap time, which she is handling wonderfully. She plays and reads quietly and occasionally still falls asleep.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Vera is 1!

Our sweet little miss Vera is 1!  I am so excited to celebrate her, but also sad to say goodbye to her baby days.  Vera has been such an easy going and sweet baby and I can already tell that she wants to get in the mix of all the crazy antics of her brother and sister!

At one year old Vera is sleeping from 8pm until 830 am.  She takes two naps a day, but I think she is ready to switch to one longer afternoon nap.  She is a great eater and eats whatever I give her.  The only thing that she has refused was avocado, but I think that was based on texture, because she really seems to enjoy it now.  She has been on 3 meals a day for a while now, with an extra before bed nursing session, during which she is usually VERY distracted so I fear our nursing days may be limited.  As much as nursing can be hard and time consuming some times I also love it and am going to miss it!

Just this week she started pulling up the stand a ton!  She thankfully also mastered bending those cute little legs to get back down from a standing position quickly.  She enjoys dumping everything out, pulling books off the shelves and I have dubbed her my sweet little tornado.  She is also excellent at mimicking.  I don't remember this with my older two (but maybe I just don't remember) but she is very good at watching a repeating sounds and movements that we do.  She is also clearly saying "mama" and "hi" and maybe "bye bye".

Last night we celebrated her birthday with some family and good friends and it was SO MUCH FUN.   Vera was a little bit on the fence about all the people at our house until I gave her her cupcake and then she was all smiles from there on out.

We love our sweet little sister!  

Saturday, January 9, 2016

On developmental milestones

I recently wrote out the story of the health struggles we went through with Haddon during his first year.  My big 3 year old is now is the 60th percentile for both height and weight, which feels like a big accomplishment for both of us that needs to be recorded!!  I'm so thankful for my little boy and everything he teaches me!  He certainly has challenged me, but all of the struggles have been so good for me heart and perspective on life and parenting, so I wanted to share.

When Haddon was born he was perfect, even the doctors agreed.  It was at his two-week well check that his pediatrician heard a heart murmur and sent us to see a pediatric cardiologist.  My sweet little baby had a ventricular septal defect (VSD) or a hole in his heart.  My heart dropped upon hearing this and true to form I was full of worries, but we were sent home with a list of symptoms to look for and the reassurance that he would likely be just fine.  He was growing well, eating well and a content little boy, but many questions lingered in my mind.  Did I do something to cause this?  Was it my fault?  The doctors said this just happens sometimes.  No reason given.  No cause.

When he was around six months old his weight gain started dropping off.  He was happy and content, but also VERY skinny. He didn’t sit up until a few months later than my first-born and wasn’t making any attempts at crawling, but I knew that all kids develop differently.  He was a great eater. I was amazed that he never refused a single food I gave him, but every time I gave him a bath and saw how skinny he was there was a pit in my stomach.  I listened to others coo over their chubby babies and my worries and questions constantly circled around in my mind.  When he was a year old, I felt that something wasn’t right and talked to his doctor about it, which was followed by countless tests and doctor’s visits.  It felt like all I did that winter was take Haddon to the pediatrician, neurologist, physical therapist, hospital for testing, etc, etc.  In the end, we were told that he had hypotonia or muscle weakness, but again no cause.  My mind again immediately went to all the questions.  Was this my fault?  Did I do this to sweet baby boy?  Did I drink too much coffee during pregnancy? Is it because I am getting older?  Should I have stopped breastfeeding?  What did I do wrong? I questioned myself on everything.

After he turned 1, a physical therapist with the AEA started coming to our house for weekly therapy.  She worked with him and gave me things to do with him to improve his strength and get him moving. I also met with a dietician who told me I was doing everything right.  He started walking at about 20 months and is now a fast and fun-loving almost 3-year-old boy.

I’m so thankful for Haddon’s doctors and physical therapist.  I’m so thankful that he is walking and running and climbing now, but all of this was a GOOD thing, a really good thing.  It made me realize that I absolutely do not care if my children meet their developmental milestones on time.  I do not care if they walk, talk, read or do any of those things when they are supposed to.  That sounds harsh and I’m so thankful we have those guidelines, but I realized that all of my focus on developmental milestones and what my friend’s babies were doing was really only me playing the mommy comparison game.  I thought I wanted my son to be physically strong, but I don’t.  I want him to be brave.  Brave enough to do the right thing when it’s hard.  I don’t even want him to be the most intelligent. I want him to be the most compassionate.  I want him to the most loving and the most wise.  Because our world doesn’t need more smart men or strong men.  We need more men of character and that is my goal for my son and I lost sight of that.