Friday, May 31, 2013

Johnny at 7 Months

Johnny,

Today you are seven months and just returning from your first vacation. I will post more about our family trip to the beach in the coming days, but as a brief aside, you have been a perfect little prince on the trip. So many people commented on what an adorable and good baby you are, we felt lucky to have you under our care.



 You continue to surprise us. In therapy you are surpassing all of our hopes. You grow stronger in sitting propped up and can even balance for a few seconds at a time. You are also rolling over both ways now and when trying to roll from tummy to back you are getting your knees far underneath you which is great to move towards new things. You are also pivoting around a lot to try and move to see us or toys as you have your tummy time. You continue to be verbal and will talk to us in repetitive two syllable babble. 


You still love the "itsy bitsy spider", but also love "if you're happy and you know it". I think you like the hand motions. You are reaching out for our faces more and it seems like you are pulling our faces and hands towards you more too. 


You have enjoyed most of the food you have tried. We continue to see some distaste with peas, but you like spinach more than I thought you would. We have to thicken up your food with cereal because you like food with a bit of substance to it. You are taking five bottles a day for a total of 25+ ounces along with one to two solid feelings. Your sleeping schedule is still about the same as last month with one minor detail. You are in your own room! When Auntie Crystal and the family came to visit us they needed to borrow your pack and play so we booted you up to your crib with no problems. Now that you can roll, you seem to like sleeping on your side or tummy most. And you also like to have a blanket up near your mouth, clasped in both hands. Mommy takes all the little naps on her chest that she can get, they are becoming less frequent. When you are trying to sleep or relax in my arms you have started "scratching" or kneeding into my neck which I think is adorable and makes me feel an extra shot of love for you.



Your hair is lightening up some, it may turn blond? And your eyes are definitely brown but have held a ring of blue around them. Your little arms and legs are getting perfect little fat rolls and muscles in all the right places. While you can still wear some three month clothing you are more comfortable in six months me can wear some mine month too. 

Johnny we are amazed at how the time is passing. You are so easy that the days breeze by. We love you and cannot wait to see what you do in the next month!

Love,

Mommy and Daddy


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Watching what I say

One of the great things about having kids is teaching them things. It is amazing when you tell them to say "mama" and they do. It is amazing to teach them colors, shapes, animals names, and noises. It is charming to hear their own little vernacular and mispronunciations. Then comes the point when you need to watch what you say around them. When you catch your youngest daughter saying "C'mon Dude!" because you say it when you are frustrated by traffic. And when you catch your older daughter saying "Dangit!" and the younger one mimicking her of course. 

Sigh. 

Better keep spelling stuff. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Funny Life

As I dealt with my issues from yesterday, God gave me one of His teeny little gifts for perspective and to remind me of all of the great things in our life.

Johnny has been rocking a lot during tummy time or when he props up while we hold him on our chest  or facing us. I thought it was a little game he would play because it always looked like he was trying to see our face better. Imagine my surprise when he was laying next to me on the bed tonight and he started rocking back and forth and promptly rolled over from tummy to back. Another little victory or a milestone for our little man! 

So despite all my worries that his milestones would start to drop off or that he would stagnate are worries that I need to out aside for now. Johnny has things he needs to do right now and my job is to help him. My job involves working in the moment, working with what I've got, not what I am worried about happening or not happening. 

I continue to be proud and honored to be Johnny's mommy!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Issues

I've come across a new startling issue in dealing with Johnny's Ds. I knew all along that at some point there would be delays, but I was struck today with a new emotional aspect of those delays. 

So many people I know, myself included, often comment on how they want their children to slow down. And I get the concept. I feel like I shouldn't blink because the girls change so much from day to day. I look back and hardly recognize the babies they were and when I get adjusted to the new version of them they have grown some more. I often wish for a slow motion button or even a pause button so I can relish in each moment a little but more. I love our life so much that I want to be able to keep each moment on for a lot longer than I am able to have. 

But our job as parents is to usher our children along. And isn't that a great word for it. Our job is to usher them, guide them, lead them, correct them, to show them the way. As much as we want to keep our little nest full at some point you have to let those little birds fly. 

And that is where I get sad. Because I am so torn now in how I feel about Johnny. Where I have silently wished for the girls to  slow down so I can enjoy each moment a bit more, I have started willing Johnny to hurry up. I don't want him to slow down and to lag behind his peers. I don't want him to start missing milestones. I don't want these small week differences in reaching goals I turn into month and year differences. The gap very well may grow larger and larger and while I want to enjoy him for who he is, I want him to grow and do "normal" things too. It's so hard to balance enjoying everyday life and wanting him to grow up and accomplish normal things. 

I will myself into accepting Johnny for the almost seven month old he is and how could I not, but it is an interesting parenting dilemma. I guess regardless time moves as it will and we just do the best with each moment we are given. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Crossing over

With Mattie's wonderful purchase of my very own iPad Mini for our anniversary, I finally decided to cross over to the dark side and download a few ebooks. I have resisted for a long time because I like hard copy books. Unlike the feel of the pages under my fingers. I like being careful to not break the binding on the book for the first few reads. I like feeling how much of the book I have moved through and how much is left in store. In like searching for my page when I forget a bookmark. I am devoted to hard copies of books. 

But an ereader is so convenient and handy. And I already had the iPad so... I cheated and downloaded a few books. Only free books and mainly classics that I have wanted to reread or never got around to reading in the first place. First up was Little Women and I am enjoying the reread. I like how my inner dialogue voice changes with the books that I am reading. I also plan to reconquer Anna Karenina and attempt Les Miserables. We will see how it goes. 

In the mean time, does anyone have other recommendations of free books to continue my dark side journey with? 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

New Friends

About four years ago we started attending our church regularly and we were ready to get plugged into a group of people our age. In fact, this was a main requirement for us finding a church home, that we had peers that were our age that were either close to or already had kids. We were invited to check out two ABFs (Adult Bible Fellowship) at our church, one for young married couples called Becoming One and the other for young married couples with young children called Becoming More. Seeing as we were already pregnant with MacKenzie at that point, we skipped right over BOne and treked out to the church portables to find the Becoming More class. We couldn't have picked a better time to join this class as there were about a dozen women expecting at the same time we were. While everyone else at the time was on their second or third go around, we were happy for the chance to bond with men and women at our stage of life. And we bonded well. And we caught up to their two (and in some cases lapped them with our three). We have made some wonderful friendships over the past four years. As time has progressed, many of the Becoming More families have moved on to other things within our church family. Either they have been called to pursue other ministries in the church or have seen some of the curriculum repeat or have been interested in seeing what other classes the church has for us. It has been hard to see some of our close friends "go" because it was great to have forced socialization time every week between large church and ABF. We love our friends dearly and while we do not begrudge them for leaving, it has left us torn between moving on and staying put. And while Mattie and I do like to substitute teach in nursery and preschool Sunday school from time to time, we feel very much satisfied with continuing on in BMore.

Thankfully, BOne has heard the call to BMore and they have started expanding their families as well. Many have had their first and some are moving on to a second child as well. So we have gladly welcomed them into our little class and have enjoyed meeting new friends. In fact, it has been a great exercise for me to initiate contact and to work at new friendships with some of the women in the class. I have really enjoyed getting to know the new classmates and find it to be a nice balance of maintaining my old BMore friendships with making new ones. We all have so much to offer one another and it will be nice to (hopefully) have some great playdates this summer with all of our friends.

Today we were lucky to expand a few of those friendships further as we attended the birthday party of one of Keegan's little besties. Keegan loves Luke and was shouting all morning, "Luke, I'm coming to your party!" as she got more and more excited about his special day. The party was at their neighborhood splash pad which I hope will lead to a big play date very soon!!!





Good thing we like Luke's parents...we are in trouble!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Listening

There is no doubt that Keegan keeps us on our toes. After all, her name means "Little Fierce One". In everything she does, she is either 0% or 150%, she is usually either sleeping or on the move. And as we move through her third year (which feels odd to write because she is two, but it is her third year of life), we find her testing us more and more to see what her limits are. In fact she will be rather up front about it and when we ask her to do something she will do a version of it and say, "Like this?", try a different version and say, "Like this?" and will go through that in several different ways to see what she can and cannot get away with. For example, we will ask her to sit on her bum instead of standing in the cart at the store and she will sit on her bum with her legs down, sit on her bum with her legs up, sit on her bum while squatting, and then will stand to see what we will accept and what we won't as we ask her to sit down.

In addition to her testing her boundaries, she is at the stage where she knows what she is feeling, but she can't quite communicate it to her satisfaction. We worked a lot with Mac at this age, practicing what to say when we had an idea what she was upset about. So we have started that with Keegan as well. If they drop something in the car, before we get it for them we practice saying, "Mommy, I dropped my toy, can you help me please." MacKenzie has this phrase down pat, Keegan usually gets the "Mama, help please" part pretty well. Instead of feeding into their emotions and getting upset with their outbursts, we show them how to ask the way we want them to ask. And because we don't comply with their want until they try to ask they learn fairly quickly how to communicate what they need or want.

It is important to work with them on those communication skills though and that was abundantly obvious today at lunch. We went out for lunch and towards the end of the meal, Keegan was getting extra squirmy. This is not unlike her, but usually I can distract her with my theoretical bag of tricks. She was having none of it and was getting more and more upset, distracting the tables around us. I quickly went through the list of questions trying to figure out what was wrong, if she was just testing our limits or if there was a legitimate need. I asked her if her tummy hurt in the slew of questions and that made her even more upset. I felt her tummy, but couldn't get a good feel for it as she was sobbing and getting more and more frantic and loud. I rushed her outside so she wouldn't disturb anyone else in the restaurant (as all of this had escalated in a minute or two) and asked her again what was wrong. As I crouched there beside her she was crying and all of the sudden let out a little burp and then a much bigger belch. After that she stopped crying, smiled at me, and held my hand so we could walk back in.

While she was still a little squirmy for the rest of the meal, she wasn't upset and making a scene like she was before. I am so glad I trusted my instincts to communicate with her rather than feed into her panic and my frustration that our nice lunch out was quickly going south. I could have gotten mad (and have in the past, I'm not saying I remember this all the time) and made a scene with her. I could have yelled at her or punished her for something that I shouldn't have and I am glad I took the time to ask a couple extra questions to get to the root of the problem. I can imagine the pain she was in that it escalated that quickly. Granted there are times that kids and being kids and learning how to operate within the world around them which means sometimes they have naughty behavior. But there are other times when they just simply cannot communicate a legitimate need and that is exceedingly frustrating to them. It is my job as these kids parent to work with them to filter out those times that can be resolved the easy way instead of the hard way.

All of this being said, I just heard Mattie walk into the bathroom where Keegan had climbed on the bathroom counter in order to get at the stash of "Potty" jelly beans. She has a mighty strong will!


P.S. I cannot remember if I shared this picture or not, but Matt had the brilliant idea to tape Keegan's doll's fingers too at night to help with the finger taping process!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Breastfeeding update

I made the decision about a month and a half ago to stop the direct nursing attempts. It wasn't getting anywhere, the pumping was going well, and I didn't find it worth it anymore. It made me sad that he didn't get more chances to nurse, but I have no regrets about how it all played out. He had specific needs that I was able to meet in a different way and I am thankful for that.

As far as pumping goes, it is all cyclical. There is a significant dip in my milk production towards the end of my cycle and it bumps back up as the new one is ushered in. This is pretty normal from what I understand. I do have to pull from my stash in order to have enough milk for Johnny, but it has been less than one bottle's worth per day. And while I haven't been making an incredible amount for storage at other parts of the month, I am usually able to stash a couple bags so I suppose it is an even break in the end. I have tried assisting my milk production with oatmeal, flax seed, extra calcium and Vitamin D, and drinking a lot of oatmeal and haven't noticed a lot of extra help when my body is gearing up for my period. I haven't tried Brewer's yeast or other milk helpers yet, but may next time I need a little assistance.

It's strange being an exclusive pumper. You are working to give your child the benefits of breast milk, but you have to think about keeping a bottle the right temperature, washing bottles, warming bottles, and being tied to getting meals from home at a certain time. When people ask how your baby is fed you don't know whether to say you breastfeed or not because the milk is from your breast, but they aren't fed from the breast. I have become less and less modest (even more so than when breastfeeding) because I have had to pump at other people's house and while I definitely cover up in some situations, I have ventured into pumping in front of others. It is a lot of cleaning up and keeping track of pump parts. It is good work though, and it is work!

I am overall satisfied in how things have gone. I am one week away from 7 months of pumping milk. We have not needed to give any formula in that time which is fantastic because that is what we determined as important. This has been important for a number of reasons to us as listed before, but as I think about it now it is greatly important for me to keep trying for as long as possible for economic satisfaction as well. Even as expensive as needing to buy a replacement pump last month was, it has already paid for itself in not needing to buy formula. Johnny is thriving on the food we are choosing for him too which is first and foremost in our minds. I have an illogical desire to count out all the milk I have stashed to see how long we can make it on stored breast milk, but I am resisting that urge. Giving it a once over I would say we have 1-2 months of stored milk ready to go at any point in time. That makes me exceedingly happy as it means Johnny will probably get breast milk for 3/4 of his first year if not more.

I am glad that I have plugged through so far. Beforehand, I never thought even I, the working and pumping queen, would be able to exclusively pump, but I have taken it a day at a time and sometimes measly drops at a time. While I have a few milestones I would like to make it to, I take it a little at a time so I won't get overwhelmed. I think that is important advice for nursing or pumping moms. Take it a little bit at a time, a day, a week, a few weeks, so you don't get discouraged by the AAP recommendations. If you think about a full year in the hardest of times, then you are likely to think "I will never make it, may as well give up." If you think about a day or a week in the hardest of times with the chance to reevaluate, then it is easier to keep going. I suggest that you get a good friend who is willing to hear you out and support you and remind you that you are doing an awesome job and that your baby is worth it because that is helpful on the bad days. I also suggest that you tell yourself all of that frequently and that you applaud the really good nursing and pumping sessions so you remember why you do it all in the first place. I am glad this has worked for us and look forward to seeing if we can make it another month.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

9 Years of Marital Work

Nine years ago, Mattie and I said I do to one another. Before family and friends we made the commitment to be together through good times and bad, sickness and health, and the slew of traditional vows. I could say that it has all be sunshine and rainbows and unicorns, but that would be a lie and everyone would know it. Marriage is work. It is hard work. It takes sacrifice and humility and a lot of responsibility. There are plenty of times we have gone to bed angry. There have been plenty of times we have had, as my uncle who performed our marriage ceremony says, "moments of intense fellowship". There have been plenty of times that we have had to stop mid argument and confirm that while we are really upset or mad or angry, the commitment is still there, we are still willing to work together to make this work. The truth is, as we grow (as all humans do), so does our relationship. The hope is that we continue to grow alongside each other. Sometimes that means I grow a bit, like when I got my Masters in 2008. Sometimes that means Mattie grows a bit, like right now when he is getting his Masters. We have to sacrifice and take from one another, lead and follow, and take moments to walk side by side to enjoy the blessings we have. Our life has been work and will continue to be work. But it is good work. We have affirmed over and over again that we are willing to do anything to make our family work. Taking jobs, moving positions, rearranging our family responsibilities, giving one another time to pursue commitments that are beneficial for us all, carving time for the whole family, piecing together time for one another, it seems kind of messy in the midst of it all, but looking back at the last nine years, it has had a really good flow to it. We are not on the road we thought we would be on nine years ago, but this road is better than we ever could have imagined. I am excited to make our first steps through our 10th year together and cannot wait to see what is in store for us next.

On a more casual note, we really enjoyed dinner at Mark's tonight. The salad was ok, but the entrees and dessert were supreme. I had the prime rib/American Kobe beef rib special that was served with a loaded baked potato side. I have had Kobe beef before and didn't care for it, this was better. I like that instead of having chunks of marbling like a ribeye, the fat sort of coats the entire muscle fiber in an entirely delectable way. The loaded baked potato was diced potato that was combined with all the traditional fixings so it was creamy, but had all of the delicious flavors of sour cream, bacon, cheese, and green onion. Matt's steak was probably the best filet I ever had. A perfect cut of meat that was cooked to a perfect Medium rare. I enjoyed both desserts, but always like the raspberry shortbread tart that is crumbly, but soft and buttery, and love the pistachio ice cream that comes with it. It was also nice to be surprised with writing on my plate, even if it did say Happy 8th Anniversary. I forgave the pastry chef though because an iPad Mini, courtesy of Mattie came along with it!

It was a great day and I really hope (for more reasons than the food and gift) it sets a great precedence for the year!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Year/Would I test again?

About a year ago is when we learned about the possibility of Johnny having Down syndrome. It all started with a simple 12 week visit to my Ob and an ultrasound that came back with a pretty extreme number associated with Ds. The nuchal translucency was well above the normal range and paired with my blood test results, we were given that one in five. I remember so much pain and worry associated with this time.

Those words feel so entirely inadequate to describe exactly how I felt. I was devastated thinking that I would never be in a "situation" like this. Matt and I frequently joked that the only reason we did the screening was to get the ultrasound because we loved the time seeing our baby. I felt loss. Loss for myself, loss for my husband, loss for my girls, and loss for this baby I was carrying. I felt confusion on why it was happening to me, why God was letting this strife into my life. I mourned what I viewed as perfection and ideal, watching my worldview coming shattering down all around me. It hurt so much more than I can say. I couldn't breathe, I had small panic attacks, I cried often, I withdrew, only able to think about and talk about this looming diagnosis. I said over and over again that I didn't want this and shook my head as if to physically deny it's plausibility.

At the same time though, I immediately grew more fiercely protective of Baby Raptor. I grew confident in my ability alone to care for this child. I felt that deep set internal, rumble of primitive ownership over my responsibility to my baby. While I wanted to reject this diagnosis, I also wanted to love this baby for who they were, and deeply regretted every moment of wishing any part of him away. I didn't know what I wanted, but we dealt with our feelings, fueling the positive ones and addressing each of the negative ones in our own time. We recognize these feelings when they come up again because we were able to deal with them slowly.

I can see why people don't find out. As scared and worried as I was, I found comfort in our knowledge. But there is so little that the test actually tells us. It didn't tell us that Johnny would hate peas. It didn't tell us that his hair would grow longer in the middle to make styling a "faux-hawk" all the easier. It didn't tell us that he would let us rock him to sleep at 7 months old and cuddle onto our chests like a newborn. It didn't tell us that he would have full lips and long eyelashes. It didn't tell us that he would love to sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider". It didn't tell us that he would love to bounce on our legs. It didn't tell us everything about him. So everything we deal with now in relation to Ds is so much easier because we know him, who he is, while we deal with the struggle. We know that the hardships are worth it because of all the wonderful things he brings to our life. When you find out at 12 weeks that your child may have a chromosomal abnormality, you don't even get comforting kicks to assure you that things will be ok. The hugs and the snuggles make a bad doctor appointment so much better.





Would I still test? Yes. I needed to go through all of that and be removed from it before my labor and delivery. I could not have been in a better place to meet my son than I was on October 31st. I don't know how women and men deal with all of the emotions of meeting their child and dealing with a surprise diagnosis all at the same time. It is not for Matt and I. We are so thankful we found out that he has an extra chromosome beforehand and we contend that it probably saved his life because we had extra precautions in place for an extra doctor appointment to check on him. It is hard to tell someone what to do in this case though. There are negatives and positives to both. There is a lot more worry ahead of time, but you can deal with the negative emotions over time. There is more enjoying the pregnancy and having an actual child if you wait, but you are kind of slammed with all of the testing and dealing with things at once. It is a lot to think about.

The testing didn't tell us everything about what his future holds. That is for him to decide...and we are fortunate enough to be along for the ride.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Drop everything

My hope and prayer is for the kids to develop relationships that are "drop everything and help" friendships. We got the chance to practice this today when one of our friend's kids had to go to the ER for stitches. The day was only slightly altered, but I would have been ok with everything turning upside down in order to help them out. These friends have been good to us too, taking the girls overnight when I was admitted to the hospital for Johnny, watching all three kids last minute for my sister's wedding, being willing to do and share. And we reciprocate, sitting, meal taking, trading off who buys lunch, it all evens out. I love the pure simplicity of "Hey, do you think you can..." phone calls or trading texts of availability for kid wrangling. This isn't the oy friendship we have like this and I hope others know we try very hard to oblige and help out when we can. It's important and it's necessary to have people you can rely on and fall back on. It's also nice when other kids are involved because it usually means the kids get extra play time in and sleep really well that night. Maybe they will have that kind of drop everything relationship with one another as they grow up. The kind where ice cream is brought over after a bad test grade, where glares are given in passing because of broken hearts, and when they really need each other a hug and a shoulder to cry on will be there. I'm glad we were open to helping today. It felt good.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Easter 2013

I forgot to blog our Easter this past year.

When we first had Mac, we started a tradition of Mattie taking care of Valentine's Day surprises for the kids and I take care of Easter surprises. We just get little things to make the day fun and I enjoyed putting together little baskets for the kids. They were only able to look in their baskets briefly as we had to get ready for church. Our service was great and packed with so many people ready to celebrate such an awesome day! We served in preschool for the second hour of church before heading to our friends house for egg hunting and lunch. Here are some pictures from the great day!









Saturday, May 18, 2013

"Beef" and Broccoli

We have a massive amount of venison in our deep freeze. I really need to par down the amount of food in storage so I have been looking for new ways to use the same old tired deer meat. Last night we tried a "beef" and broccoli stir fry recipe with thinly sliced backstrap. It was delicious. Some of the best I have had, tender, slightly sweet, deep flavor, and just salty enough to make you drink extra juice and water the next day. It was perfect served with steamed rice last night and fried rice tonight. I added a tablespoon of oyster sauce for a deeper flavor and a shake or two of teriyaki sauce as well, but adjust to your liking. Very easy recipe, especially if you just use frozen veggies like we did!

Ingredients:


3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
1/2 cup water, plus
2 tablespoons water, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lb boneless round steak or 1 lb charcoal chuck steak, cut into thin 3-inch strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
hot cooked rice
Directions:

1
In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water and garlic powder until smooth.
2
Add beef and toss.
3
In a large skillet or wok over medium high heat, stir-fry beef in 1 tablespoon oil until beef reaches desired doneness; remove and keep warm.
4
Stir-fry broccoli and onion in remaining oil for 4-5 minutes.
5
Return beef to pan.
6
Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and remaining cornstarch and water until smooth; add to the pan.
7
Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
8
Serve over rice.


Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/the-best-easy-beef-and-broccoli-stir-fry-99476?oc=linkback

Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer Fun List 2013

Here is our family "Bucket List" for the Summer

Go to the beach
Zoo plus train, splashpad, and picnic
Bake on a rainy day
Splash outside on a rainy day
Snowcones on a hot afternoon
Bikes and breakfast (donuts, bike/trikes/ and an elementary school flat top)
Movies (either drive in or theater)
Sprinkler/Splash day in our backyard
See some fireworks
Make sidewalk paint and paint a mural
Watermelon and hot dogs outside
Blueberry picking
Make bead necklaces
Mac to learn the states and planets
Keegan to learn the rest of her ABC's and numbers
Feed the ducks
Vacation Bible School
Swimming- specifically both girls willing to dunk their faces, work on floating and swimming
Picnic at the park
Visit both Great grandparents
Practice and learn more ASL (50 new signs for the girls), three signs for Johnny (milk, food, more)
Make a bird feeder
Kite flying
Go to The Woodlands (pet store, walk around some of the water way, and maybe eat at Grimaldi's!!!)
Family game night
Take the kids fishing
A trip to College Station, walk around campus with the kids

Does anyone want to join us for any of these?
Does anyone have great ideas to add on?
Let me know! We want to make this summer a great one!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Last Day

Today was the girl's last day of school. I have been prepping them for the past couple of weeks, making sure that they knew it was standard operating procedure to be off for the summer and not go to school. I am glad they know and it was easier for them to understand as we said goodbye to their teachers today.

Both girls have grown so much over the past 9 months or so. MacKenzie is still quiet and reserved, but has made friends, gained independence, and learned so much. She surprised Matt the other day by saying the Lord's Prayer at nap time. She will also sing songs and tell stories that they learn at school. MacKenzie has amazing memory and as we looked through her memory book today, she was able to show us paintings she had done throughout the year and recalled special things about each one. In our own learning time at home, she has learned a lot to build a foundation for reading and writing. She wrote little cards for her teachers yesterday, one said Ms. Debbie and the other said Thank You, Lobe Mac (I said V and she heard B). Keegan has made a lot of progress too. She was hesitant and maybe even a little hostile at the beginning of the year and is now one of the favored children in her class. Over the past two or three months, I got lots of words of amazement over how she is the most helpful kid in class and is always willing to participate whether that be reading, a lesson, or cleanup. Both of the girls were laughed at by the music teacher who said Mac never sings or participates and that they would take Keegan's glasses off in music time so she wouldn't break or lose them as she danced and jumped around enthusiastically. 



 To celebrate splash day last week the girls and I had Sonic slushes on our way home from school. Tonight after dinner to celebrate the last day of school we all went to Coldstone for ice cream. We told the girls we had a surprise treat for them after dinner. As we loaded up into the car, Mac said she wanted ice cream, good intuition on her part. After convincing Keegan that ice cream was a better treat than broccoli, we picked out our scoops. Daddy got the chocolate devotion, I got the chocolate devotion made with cinnamon ice cream instead of chocolate (amazing choice), Mac got mint ice cream with sprinkles (her favorite color is green right now so that is a no brainer for her), and Keegan got pink with gummy bears (again, favorite color motivates choices, not actual flavor profile). I loved starting a new little tradition with our family and hope to celebrate a great school year for many more to come!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Slowing down vs. Moving along

Without a doubt, my favorite time is my morning feeding with Johnny. I love cuddling up with him on the couch, watching his sleepy eyes drift in and out of wakefulness, occasionally checking to see if I am still there or if it just a dream. I love hearing him gulp his first half of the bottle and then settle into a slow, steady feed, while also keeping half an ear attentively listening for the girls to wake up in their room. I love feeling his hands search for mine, reaching out and waving until they find what they are looking for, grasping my fingers until the doze catches further hold on him and he slackens his muscles, drifting off to sleep. Sometimes I troll the Internet on my phone, sometimes I look intently on my son, other times I drift in and out of slumber myself, 110% comfortable with where I am in that very moment. 

Today was an especially wonderful morning as I listened to the thunderstorm and rain pass through, reclining on the couch with my sweet boy who completely passed out as his bottle was done. As I drifted in and out of sleep, I tried to treasure each detail of him in my arms. Already I forget what that was like with the girls. I could look back at pictures of them and take more pictures of Johnny, but will I remember what it feels like. Will I remember his length in my arms, with his legs always curled up in a 90 degree angle and his bum pressed firmly into the crook of my arm, resting against the arm of the couch? Will I remember his exact weight, getting heavier by the day, but still so lovable and willing to melt into me? Will I remember the way his little hands twitched as he falls asleep, mimicking the small smiles that are fleeting glimpses of his gummy smile he gives when fully awake? Will I remember brushing my fingers along his rolls, especially the ones on his thighs and at his wrists, that super soft baby skin that is padded by the fat underneath? Will I remember those sighs of contentment, the ones that get caught up in his breath that are duplicated by my own heart stopping when I realize just how much I love him?

I want to yell "Slow down! It's going by too fast. I am enjoying it too much to watch it go, let it linger!"



But this afternoon, he reminded me of the purpose of being a parent. I have been working diligently with him in conjunction with his therapist on certain milestones. We have been working a lot on sitting and rolling over. Never before has he done these things on his own, but I held my breath several times over the past month as he made progress towards rolling over. I knew as soon as he started picking up his feet and throwing them to each side that it would only be a matter of time. So I kept working, grabbing a foot and pulling him over, training those muscles and building muscle memory to roll all the way. I thought he would be sitting before he actually rolled over, rolling over means wanting change and he is so content to just be. I wanted this milestone though. It was time, we are in the spectrum for this milestone to be reached. But I wasn't expecting it. Getting ready to run some errands this evening, I put Johnny on his play mat and left the room for several minutes. I walked back into the living room to find him happily playing on his tummy. I stood, quietly thinking, trying to remember if I put him on his tummy or his back. I knew I had put him on his back. I asked MacKenzie if she had pulled him over and she said no. So we rolled him back over and waited. My heart pounded, hoping for him to repeat his new trick. He slowly lifted his legs, threw them to his right side, arched his back to follow, and rolled onto his tummy.

I cannot tell you how exciting this is to us. I cheered like I have never cheered for a milestone before. I teared up, so glad for his progress. I can't believe this moment is here and it means so much. It means that the work and the goal was worth it, it means that we are moving in the direction that we deemed to be important, and it means that for now (and this very well could change, but for now) he is progressing at a normal rate. He rolled twice more, one time on each side, really starting to figure things out.

And this is what Johnny reminded me of. That while Moms and Dads get sad for what they may not be able to remember, that our job is to help our children grow and to change. That our mission is to nurture them into what they will become and those sweet moments are just a small part of that. That as much as we want to slow things down, they need to progress and at their own pace. That we are to guide them, lead them, teach them, help them, and sometimes, throw them out there to see what happens. As much as I want all of those moments with my children back, as much as I want a pause button, getting to these milestones are so sweet too. Such is life, you move forward, you loose some moments, but you gain others. This victory was small for our family, but I cannot tell you how sweet this was.

I am hoping for a bit more time with cuddling my son, but the milestones we will help him reach are stretched out endlessly before us. And one day I won't even be there for the milestones. One day he and his teachers will tell me what was accomplished that day. And one day he will call us with excitement about the new things he has done. And there may even be a day that a new milestone is mentioned is passing, as he is an adult and less willing or more forgetful in telling us about his wonderful life. In the meantime, I will cheer for each one, cherish each one, and pray for his progress to come.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

VBS at CBC

This summer our church, Cypress Bible Church, will be holding a Vacation Bible School. I have never been involved in a VBS ever, but due to my dear friend using statements like, "What about Ashley Howard? I feel that she is an underutilized member of our congregation.", I have been sucked into a coordinating role. I am actually enjoying it, it is all data work up front, coordinating the volunteers into their little spots. It is organizing and communicating, two things that I rather enjoy. Plus, it means that my kids get to participate in VBS this year as under Kindergarteners only get to attend with a parent who is volunteering.

I sat at my first meeting today, listening intently to all the planning that goes on for a week long endeavor such as this. With introductions, we were asked to also name a person of the bible that we admire, relate to, or just simply like. When my turn came around, I mentioned Joseph, Mary's husband. While not much is known about him or his life, he is someone I have always felt a connection with. I grew up pseudo Catholic as my grandmother who was uber Catholic would teach me about the Catholic church and take us throughout the year when we stayed weekends with her. She is the one who told me that I was born on St. Joseph's Day. As I got older and learned more about who Joseph was, I admired this man. As I explained today, "He took on her and this child, when he didn't have to, and when society would have said otherwise." As my turn passed at the introductions went around the table, I was struck with the realization that I have always felt a connection to Joseph and now feel an even deeper connection to his story of taking on a child that I "didn't have to" and that "society would have said otherwise" about.

I never would have thought growing up that I would relate to this man in that way. I am grateful for the decision he made and I am grateful for Matt and I's decision as well.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Johnny's Dedication

This past Sunday, Mother's Day, we dedicated Johnny at our church. Our church waits until people can make a commitment themselves to be baptized or to undergo some other declaration of faith, so at childhood or infancy we do dedications instead. A dedication is merely a promise of the parents to raise their child in a Christian manner and the congregation's commitment to support families and friends throughout their child's life. Having friends with kids our kids age was very important to Matt and I in finding a church family. It is something I longed for and hoped for. Attending church with Matt's family in college, I would catch glimpses of friends greeting one another, asking to hold each other's babies, rocking kids to sleep in service, and being content as a family both household and church wide on Sunday mornings. I craved that for my family and we are so happy to be blessed in the church we found.




As part of the dedication we have to pick verses for our children. When searching for verses for the girls, we incorporated their middle names.

MacKenzie-

Out of his fullness we have all received grace 
in place of grace already given. For the law was 
given through Moses; grace and truth came 
through Jesus Christ.
-John 1:16-17  

Reflecting on this verse, we couldn't have picked a better one for her. MacKenzie tends to be some legalistic, so black and white, that we hope it will help guide her to acknowledge saving grace throughout her life.

Keegan-

I have no greater joy than to hear that my 
children are walking in the truth.
-3 John 1:4

I think this is a great verse for Keegan, one because she is such a joy, and two because it involves action, "walking". She is definitely a go getter and can be a little quick to movement, that initiative should serve her well, we hope that it is in line with God's will in her life.

Johnny-

I mulled over his verse for a long time and sought out advice from numerous people as I thought about it. It was a nice chance to delve deeper into specific verses of the Bible as I searched for one that really said something about Johnny and what we feel, at this time, his purpose is. With both of the girls having their verses from different "John" books, we searched for one for Johnny for a long time, but didn't have one that really spoke to us. We kept coming back to Psalm 139. And while we feel that it is a great verse for all children, we really felt compelled to use it to make a statement on Johnny's behalf...

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am 
fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
-Psalm 139:13-14


We wanted to make sure our church body knew that Johnny was purposefully made, that every cell of his body containing that extra chromosome was designed to be that way, that he is the way he is and it is perfect, not because there won't be things that hinder him, but because he is created. It has really spoken to me because of the fear and wonder I have each day as his parent. And I can use that fear to fuel our lives or I can let it cripple us. 

As part of the dedication process, the church body commits to supporting and praying for us. I had already teared up a bit when our verse was read, but I also choked up a bit when the congregation made this pledge. We have been so blessed with our church family walking this journey by our side. While we have had to face certain battles on our own because that is the nature of some aspects of life, we have known that an army of support and prayers was behind us each step of the way. Blessings and prayers have rained down on us until our cups poured out and over. I firmly believe that because are cups have been filled to the brim and then some, we have been able to pour into others.


It was special time for our family and I am delighted to have Johnny "formally introduced" to the church. We were both so proud to be his parents yesterday and to show him off. It is a long way from where we were about a year ago, crippled with "what ifs" and "destroyed dreams". It was such a necessary process, but one I am very glad to be on this side of. I am very thankful for this special day.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Today, appropriately, I reflect on Mother's Day and the ever changing meaning that day has. Granted, Matt is under the belief that all days should reflect societies appreciation for Moms and all that they do, but he got the message loud and clear when I told him, "I better have something for Mother's Day, if I don't you will be in trouble. Big trouble."

Growing up, Mother's Day was about helping my dad celebrate and honor my mom. He always made sure a good meal was ready and would have some sort of present for her. My sister and I tried hard to make little tokens of our appreciation too. None of those handmade gifts stick out in my head, but I am sure they were much loved at the time. I have the distinct honor of having an excellent relationship with my mom. We have always enjoyed one another's company and often chose to spend time together growing up. We would walk the neighborhood, run errands together, watch "Supermarket Sweep", or read curled up on the couch together. As mother and daughter we obviously spent some special moments together, I love when you recall little moments that are filed away deep in your memory that you haven't thought of recently. My mom loved me in the way that only a mom can and I feel that love each day. I remember telling my mom one day, shortly after Mac was born, with tears in my eyes, "I can't believe it, the way I love her, is the way you love me! That's amazing!"

Joining Matt's family meant taking on another Mother and one I have very much enjoyed having in my life. It is interesting to acquire such an important woman at a later point in life, there is always that bridge that needs to be crossed in learning about one another and how to communicate and show love to each other. Deb has been generous in her time and support of Matt and I. I cherish the times that we share and wish we had them more often. We have very much tried to show her our appreciation on Mother's Day, planning little gifts, special meals, and heart felt cards, we know our efforts have been appreciated.

I think about my friends and other family members that are moms. Moms that parent similarly to us, moms that choose different ways. Moms that limit their number of children, moms that secretly hope for  and desire more. Moms that need to work, moms that are at home. Moms that do it all, moms that take things easy. We all weave an intricate web of parenting choices. Often, we pay lip service to supporting one another and disregard the idea that we are all doing our best in the next breathe. We get too caught up in taking the easy road out, rather than recognizing that sometimes, doing the right thing means doing something that is challenging, difficult, or uncomfortable.

I think about my friends who have struggled with becoming a mom. Moms that are expecting and count each day until they see the heartbeat flicker, until they reach the end of the first trimester, until the see certain features on ultrasounds, and waiting for those two terms that are comfort to all parent's hearts "viable" and then later "full term". Moms that have kids and are trying for another. Moms that are debating whether to expand their family. Moms that want more kids but can't due to a number of circumstances. Moms that aren't sure if they want more. Moms that face the difficult road of infertility and health concerns. Moms that are waiting for adoption. Moms that have welcomed children into their home and saw them moved elsewhere. Moms that rejoiced over children in their womb and saw them lost before seeing their little faces. My heart is especially filled on this day for them. I have two sweet friends in particular who have loved children temporarily in their home and have had to say goodbye, losing a part of their heart with children who, according to law, weren't theirs. I hope they know that they are still Moms to those kids, just in a different way. I also think of a dear friend who is moving along on foreign adoption, how much we anticipate that child with them, wondering if he or she is out there waiting for that application to go through a complicated system. We pray with them (and all adopting Mommies) that God's love sustains these children even more and that His "hugs" are transferred back and forth until they can love each other in person.

I think about my kids, who have made me a whole new person.


MacKenzie, the girl who made me a mom, one of my favorite titles in the world. We cherished her from the moment we found out we were expecting her, over four years ago, we were excited about each day we got to spend with her, growing in my belly, and gleefully anticipated that moment she would be placed on my chest. Where I would lock eyes with her and tell her, "Hello little one, I am your Mommy." I didn't know that she would be more brilliant than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. I didn't know how her eyes would shine with pride when she learned something new. I didn't know how her dimple would flash, barely noticeable, when pleased or in moments of shyness. I didn't know that I would fret about doing a good enough job in teaching her, guiding her, and leading her into the person she would become. But the loving her, that has come naturally. The moments of exhaustion in her first months, all fade into memories of snuggles and comforting her in the only way I could. The repetition and methodical learning, transform into new skills that lead to pictures, flowers picked, and statements of love and happiness, reciprocating my love back to me.


Keegan, our bonus child, the one I never knew I wanted until 5 months into Mac's life when I craved to be pregnant again. My sweet girl, who is as fierce as her name implies, but also loves to be loved. The clever little girl who walks around with an air of confidence which was present at birth. The funny one who hides that cleverness until she is ready to reveal it in her terms, who we go back and compare to her older sister and realize she is just as brilliant, it is just lost in that "second child". A child who I loved in a different way from everyone else, obvious by comments of "How did you stand all that screaming?!?" which I don't remember very well, if at all. For all the ways I love Mac, I love Keegan in entirely different ways, the way she nurtures and cares for others, the way she flits around like a social butterfly, the way she grins her impish grin just to make us laugh, and how she wiggles her way into everyone's arms, laps, and hearts until she has completely won them over. As if she really cared, she knows she is amazing and just thinks your life would be better off with her in it too!


Johnny, the boy who has completely stole our hearts. The boy who stirred this Mommy's heart into expanding in a way I didn't think it could, much less would. And while I would do anything for my girls and get completely caught up in that love on an hourly basis, the love I feel for my little man is different, it stirs in a different place, a place deep within, at the bottom of my heart, that almost growls with protection and fierce love for him. A love that will fight battles and break barriers in order to make sure that his needs will always be met. A love that anticipates great things, but also basks in the glow of the smallest moments that probably passed by, unnoticed, with the girls. A love that relaxes into long cuddles on the couch despite a thousand things needing to be done. A love that rejoices over every new accomplishment and works hard to meet milestones that we have deemed as important, rather than a book or guidelines. A love that is proud and defiant, in a way that only others that love kids like Johnny can understand, feeling immensely honored to selected to be a part of his life, and feeling a little sad for those who don't know how good it can be. A love that understands that the struggles and difficulties make the victories a thousand times better and make your heart burst all the more.


For Mothers, past and present, that come in all shapes and sizes, just like their kids, I honor you and celebrate you today. And to the kids who make us who we are, I celebrate you too!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What makes us happy...

Matt getting home safe from a week long trip. Late night visits with out of state friends. Black and Tans. Puppies according to Mac. New projects. New opportunities. Lasagnas for Moms. Baby showers for newish friends. Encouraging others. Dance recitals for the girl's "sister". Daddy/daughter dates. Family dinners of onion rings, burgers, and chocolate raspberry shakes. Daddy and sprite according to Keegan. MacKenzie learning her states (she knows where Texas, New York, South Dakota, Utah, and Florida are...Oregon is next). Dedicating Johnny at church tomorrow. Milk and squash according to the little guy. It's been a Good Friday and Saturday so far. I hope Sunday is just as fulfilling!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Extra Special Sister Love

I have mentioned before how much I love having two girls so close in age. The girls really do enjoy each other and have become great playmates. In fact, I have been told several times that they have chosen to play together at their Mother's Day Out program when the whole school has been out together. It makes me happy to see them spending good time together and it makes things nice when I need to pump, focus on Johnny, or do things around the house.

Today the girls were being very affectionate to one another and giving each other big hugs while they played. Mac was initiating the hugs which is extra special and was saying how much she loved Keegan. They hugged and hugged one another while I looked on, happy for the chance to catch this special moment of them together. As I basked in the warm glow of sisterly love, Mac squeezed her sister even tighter. Apparently she squeezed a little too tight and all of the sudden they both started laughing as Keegan tooted and exclaimed, "Tootie-a-bootie". 

(Reenactment)

Glad to see they can share in the humorous side of having a good friend/sister as well as the loving side. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Doing stuff

I consider myself to be a reasonably educated woman. I have to remind myself of this sometimes though. So often even I, a woman with two degrees and years of experience under her belt, falls prey to stereotypes and a "I cannot do this attitude". Which is funny as I so often tell myself to give all sorts of things a try when it comes to doing things with the kids. I felt that way with crochet before last year, that I wouldn't be able to catch on and it may not be right for me.

This week we have friends visiting and as they have little ones, it was helpful that we had a crib, extra bed, and could acquire a pack and play for them to use. However, Matt was unavailable to drop the crib to a lower height so their 9 month old didn't tumble out and onto the floor. I fretted over what to do and almost had another pack and play to take up more limited space in that room. But I decided against it, I decided it was time to pull up my big girl pants and learn how to drop the crib to a lower level. After asking Mattie what tools were required, I went up to Johnny's room prepared for battle. I was pleasantly surprised when only 15 minutes later I had successfully dropped the crib to a lower level and had adjusted the bedding accordingly.

Why did I allow myself to be convinced that it was too hard or that I couldn't do it? Why didn't I do this  before without stressing over all sorts of other solutions? Why did I tell myself that as a girl, I probably didn't have that intrinsic "know how" and thus shouldn't bother? After all, what would a single mom do? What would our military wives do? My sister in law is a military wife and she kicks butt at home renovations and building stuff when her hubby is deployed or is out of town doing training exercises! There are mommies who cannot ask their man for help or don't have one to help them, so they figure it out.

So if I am trying to teach my girls about what it means to be a strong, capable woman, then I need to do some of these things myself. Does that mean that I won't leave a lot of "man chores" for Matt? Of course not, I think the girls need to see him doing stuff around the house that he enjoys doing and is good at too. But I do need to show them that when push comes to shove, I can do a great job fixing things, hanging things, moving things, or being a general help around the house.

That being said, I am not sure how I can move my couch from upstairs to downstairs...Oh Matt...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Apple Mac

Matt and I converted to a Mac in 2008. His grandmother used to send us what we affectionately termed "magic checks", random surprises in the mail. We received one such check that summer and needed a new computer as Mattie's laptop was quickly fading into typical windows nothingness. We loved our Mac from the start and never looked back. Although they are more expensive, they have been reliable and we have worked our Macs hard. We of course have moved our way through the Apple line of products including iPods and iPhones. Apparently we are raising a future Mac user as well. Today as the kids and I ran errands, Mac was playing with a you cell phone. I faintly heard her talking on her phone and curious, I listened closer. She was holding her phone out with the bottom tilted towards her and saying, "Give me directions to a faraway place." I asked what she was doing and she said, " I'm asking my phone for directions." Mac was pretending to use Siri! I am so proud of my little Mac loving Mac!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Johnny's Therapy

Many people have been asking what Johnny does for therapy, here is what we do.

Johnny gets Occupational therapy through the state. He automatically qualifies for it because of Down syndrome. All we had to do was fill out some paperwork online and give them any doctor's note that had Johnny's name and the words T21 confirmed on it. Other kids get therapy through the state for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes there are other conditions, issues with prematurity, or less obvious delays that need assistance. Getting therapy for Johnny was easy because we didn't have to "prove" that he needed assistance, it was there regardless of whether he needed it or not to make sure he gets on track with his peers or stays on track depending on the situation. Here in Texas, the program we go through is called ECI (Early Childhood Intervention). They come out to your house for almost everything or will go to your child's daycare if that fits better into your schedule for working parents. The fees are on a sliding schedule based on take home income and the size of your family. We actually haven't paid anything yet because it is being filed with our insurance too and I am not sure if they are picking up the nominal fee per month or if it just takes a while to be billed. I cannot imagine the delay between a government agency and insurance company!!! Once Johnny was evaluated at about two months, it was determined that he would benefit from OT 2 times a month. He can be reevaluated at any time and as he gets older, more therapy may be added in. 

At first, therapy was difficult because Johnny would literally fall asleep in the middle of us working with him. It was a lot of tummy time and working on bringing his arms and legs into the midline (or middle of their body). Because most kids with Ds have low muscle tone, you have to work to train their muscles to move towards the middle of their body instead of spreading out. One thing I worked on when Johnny was smaller and less inclined to reach for stuff was to put a blanket or burp cloth between his arms and the car seat when we were running errands to bring his shoulders and arms in a bit. It seems to help as he does a great job reaching in midline now. 

For tummy time when he was a lot smaller, we would roll up blankets for him to prop up on. The boppy was just too big for his little body. One thing we would try to focus on was keeping his arms beneath him and his hips stable as he learned to pick up his head more. 



As he got older he was able to move onto tummy time on the Boppy for extra strength training. Again, we focused on keeping his hips down because we were trying to build his trunk, torso, and neck muscles. We would also put Johnny on his play mat underneath the arches propped in the Boppy rather than straight on his back so he worked on bringing those muscles inline. 




When he was younger we were encouraged to work on oral tone to try and work some of those breastfeeding issues out. We were told to let him chew on a gloved or clean finger of ours, to suck on a pacifier, or to chew on anything. This will be ongoing because we want him to build oral tone even though breastfeeding itself didn't make much progress. In order to avoid a lot of tongue thrusting or relaxed jaw that can be common with Ds we want him to build up these muscles. Also, it will help when he does start speech therapy at some point. 

As he built up strength and became a bit bigger, we added on tummy time on a ball that we already had. This really helps kids get their arms underneath them and to build their arm muscles. We need to work on the ball a bit more to help his arm strength for supported sitting and then as we start working towards crawling in the coming months. 



Once he got bigger we began working on rolling from side to back and side to tummy. I will have to post videos on another day of the way we work on that. Basically we manipulate the feet and/or hips and Johnny is responsible for moving the rest of his body in that direction. He is doing a really great job at it and we only have to give small tactile cues to get him to do it. Now we are just waiting for him to roll over on his own. He is coming close!



We do a lot of supported sitting in the corner of the couch. He doesn't like it too much so he always scoots his bum down so he can slouch in the corner and be lazy. 


Now that he has gotten bigger, we are working on supported sitting. We began with sitting him in our laps and holding a lot of his body for him and are moving away from that now. As I play with the girls or read books, we sit a lot on the floor with Johnny sitting in my lap or between my legs leaning against my back and propping up on his arms. 


To work on building more arm strength, we put a book, rolled up blanket, or pillow under his arms until he can do it all on his own.


And sometimes we get him good and balanced...


And then we let go to see what happens!

 The above picture is from today. He is starting to do supported sitting for several seconds. That is very big progress!

We will work on sitting for 10-15 minutes at a time, then roll over a bit, then work on playing with and reaching for toys some, then go back through the process at least one or two more times.


 I think it is important to recognize that kids get mad when you work them this hard. Johnny always gets a bit perturbed whether it is me or Ms. Carolyn working with him. However, I have found that if you let them get a bit angry they will be a bit more forceful with their movement which often leads to them discovering new ways to do things. So I usually let him get a bit fussy.


Other ways we work with him include sitting in the Bumbo which builds trunk strength and neck/head control.


And we hold him in an upright sitting position a lot. It has been challenging because we have been encouraged to not put him on our hip in the traditional baby hold. Because of their lower muscle tone and hip issues associated with that, we try not encourage that spread too much. So we have to hold him in the crook of our arm. It's cute, but takes some getting used to.


I am proud of my little man. I have a few other tips and tricks, but I will share those when I post videos of him rolling. I would like him to be sitting up a bit more, rolling, and moving around in a circle when on his tummy within the next month. It is simply my goals though so we will see how he does.