Saturday, June 14, 2014

11 Months Old!

Dear Scarlett,

You turned 11 months old on Wednesday!  Look how much you've grown:

I can't believe we only have one month until you're a year old!  Time has flown by, and I'd do just about anything to slow it down. But every day you learn something new, and this is a really fun age!

You continue to be one of the most curious babies I've ever seen.  You are constantly watching everything, and you don't seem to miss a thing.  This makes it hard for us to stay a step ahead of you!  When we go out to eat, you love to sit in a high chair and people-watch.  I tell you it's rude to stare, but that doesn't stop you at all!

The craziest thing is that you still don't crawl.  You have mastered the "Scarlett scoot" and you get around so fast that way, I just don't think you'll ever crawl like a normal baby.  In fact, you are starting to pull yourself up on things, and can toddle around pretty well if someone holds your hands, so I think you'll go straight to walking.  In any case, you are totally mobile, and just not interested at all in crawling on your hands and knees.

I say this every month, but you constantly make us laugh.  You dance around, make silly faces, silly noises, and just love to make everyone smile with you.  You love to sing!  I've been singing The Raindrops Song to you a lot, and as soon as I get to the part that says, "standing outside with my mouth open wide" you start yelling "ah! ah! ah!"  Sometimes you just randomly yell it when you want me to sing the song.  It is adorable!  I've started singing Happy Birthday to you sometimes too, and I pretend to blow out a candle when I'm done.  I want you to be ready to blow out your candle on your first birthday!  And you already have the hang of it.  As soon as you hear me the first line of the song, your whole face scrunches up in a huge smile, and you break into adorable giggles. 

You are so friendly, too!  When we go shopping, you love to smile and wave as we pass people.  It takes me forever to get my grocery shopping done, because almost everybody stops me so they can look at you, tell me how cute you are, and talk to you for a few moments.  You LOVE the attention!

You've gotten 2 new teeth this month.  These were the hardest ones yet.  There was a whole week where you woke up just about every half hour, every night.  Mommy and Daddy almost lost our minds!  But then all of a sudden, the first one poked through, and ever since then, I haven't had to get up with you once in the night.  (Knock on wood!)  

Your favorite toys right now are your Peter Rabbit stuffed animal, your Elmo stuffed animal at Nana's house, empty water bottles, your little bouncy ball (you love to roll it back and forth), spatulas, and Nana's chip clips.  Yep, that's right.  You love to play with her chip clips.  It's funny the things you get attached to!

You also love your blanket and pacifier.  When you're starting to get tired, I put your blanket across myself, and you just bury your face in me.  We always say, "snuggle!"  when you do this, and I think you think your blanket is actually called your "snuggle" now, which I think is pretty cute!

You've gotten even cuter this month, if that's even possible.  You love to blow kisses, do the motions to "Pat-a-cake," do "so big!", dance, give high fives, wave (you wave with your whole arm now, and it's so cute), give hugs (which are just you touching your head to things.  We also say "noggin" to you, and touch our heads together.  I think Aunt Di started that!)  Like I learn new things ever day!

You're such a sweet little girl, but very sassy, too.  When we picked the name Scarlett, it sounded like a very feminine name, but also strong and not too prissy.  I think it fits you perfectly, because that's exactly how your personality is.  You are so sweet, but you are strong too.  We hope you never change, and that you go through life as a strong woman who stands up and advocates for herself, but who also has so much sweetness, femininity, and love for others.

This is what you looked like this month:

 I can't believe that your birthday party is being planned, and your invitations are all ready to be sent out.  Time has gone too fast.  But I am so excited for your future!  It's definitely bittersweet to see you growing and changing every day!

We love you so much!!
Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Survive as a Working Mom

I have begun several posts recently detailing fun things we've been up to, like my first Mother's Day, Scarlett's dedication, Luke's birthday, and a recent day trip to visit with my sister.  But life has been crazy, and I haven't had time to complete any of them.  I hope to soon, because these are special memories I don't want to forget!  But tonight something completely different is on my mind.

I recently started my medical externship.  It is my final externship before I graduate in August.  I've been placed in a facility that's part rehab center and part skilled nursing facility.  I know I want to work in the schools, so spending my summer in what is basically a nursing home felt a little like a waste of time at first, to be honest.  Not only that, but since I went and had a baby in the middle of grad school and became an "off-sequence" student, I have to complete my medical externship in 8 weeks instead of 15.  This means that I am at my extern site 5 days and somewhere between 40 and 50 hours a week.  Factor in 2 classes I'm taking during said externship, and a 40 minute drive one way, and that leaves very little time for my family.  On week nights I have between 2-4 hours with Scarlett.

To say I've been depressed would be an understatement.  I hold on to Scarlett every morning and just bawl before I have to leave.  I hate it more than I can tell you, and for the last 2 weeks I've been wondering why God is making me go through this because I don't feel like I can handle it.  I waited so long to become a mom, and I didn't think I'd have to basically let someone else raise my child once I finally had one.  Luke tells me that's melodramatic, but it's how I feel.

Today I was at my externship site and needed to return something to a patient's room.  I walked in and the patient was just moaning and visibly upset.  I reached out to her and she grabbed me and pulled me close.  She was holding my hand and pulling me to her as if she were clinging to me for life.  I just sat there and hugged her for a good long while, and then I rubbed her shoulders for a moment, and pulled her blankets up tightly around her so she'd be warm and comfortable.  I told her that my supervisor and I would check on her throughout the day and make sure she was okay.  After all of that, she visibly calmed down and stopped panicking.  She had just needed someone to hug her and comfort her.  And in that moment, my attitude changed.  I believe God was telling me that he has placed me at this site for a purpose.

Scarlett is so lucky to have many relatives who can watch her each day.  Honestly, leaving her each morning is a billion times harder on me than it is her.  She probably doesn't even notice I'm gone during the day.  Unlike Scarlett, those patients don't always have someone to love on them and advocate for them 100% of the time.  So if I can't be with Scarlett all the time this summer, I'm going to put all of my energy into loving and helping those patients.  I am so lucky to have a supervisor who does just that every single day, and she's been a great example for me. 

I was watching "The Little Couple" the other day.  (I love that show...I think Bill and Jen are such a wonderful couple!)  If you don't watch the show, Jen is a neonatologist who works in a NICU at one of the largest children's hospitals in the country.  Obviously she has a very wonderful, rewarding job, but she has to work crazy hours sometimes.  She and her husband have adopted two children in the past couple of years, and I imagine it is very hard for her to be away from them.  But she said something in a recent episode that hit home for me: it's not about quantity of time; it's about quality of time.  This is such a true statement, and my mom even alluded to this when I was confiding in her the other day and telling her how hard of a time I'm having.  She talked about how I'd probably take my time with Scarlett for granted if I were a stay-at-home mom and got to be with her 24/7.  But since I'm only able to see her for a few hours a day (for this short period of 8 weeks, anyway)  every minute is probably filled with quality time.  I think this is totally true, because during my few hours with her, you better believe my total attention is on her.  I don't do homework, dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc until she's tucked into bed at night.  those few hours in the evening are our special time together.  I like to think that I spend the same amount of quality time with her as I would if I were a stay-at-home mom, even though the quantity of time is much lower.

So in a nutshell, if you are going through the same type of situation as me, I have two words of advice: 1. If you can't pour all your love into your child each day since you are not physically with them, pour all your love into those you were sent to serve or work with at your job each day.  God placed you where you are for a reason.  And 2. Don't dwell on the quantity of time you are missing out on.  Think instead about all the quality time you have together. 

I know these next 6.5 weeks are going to be hard.  But with this attitude, I can cope a little better, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot more along the way, too.  I fully intend to seek a job as a school speech therapist, where I will have holidays, nights, and summers off to spend with my family.  Once my kids are school-aged, it will be the absolute perfect set up.  But until that time, I might as well make the most of the situation I'm in instead of dwelling in depression like I have been.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

10 Months Old!

Dear Scarlett,
You are 10 months old today!

At your last doctor's appointment, you weighed 14 lbs, 3 ounces.  You are still so tiny, but much bigger than that 4lb, 12 oz baby we brought home from the hospital!  Your appetite has grown and you seem to eat a lot!  But you must have a very high metabolism, because you're just not gaining very much weight!  You will love this "problem" when you're older!

The biggest change in the past month is that you've become mobile!  The funny thing is, you're still not totally crawling on your hands and knees.  You can army crawl like a champ, using just your arms.  But the way you mostly get around is by sitting up and scooting around on your behind.  You've gotten really good at it, and you're really fast!  And it's kind of hilarious to watch you.  It definitely makes taking your monthly pictures a little difficult!  You didn't want to sit still!  That's why most of the pictures in this post are so blurry.

You've also learned a lot of other new things this month.  You love to sing and dance as always.  You've learned to do pat-a-cake, and you can do all of the motions at the right time!  Your receptive language is also growing each day by leaps and bounds.  In other words, even though you aren't saying any real words yet, you know what a lot of words mean.  Here are some of the words you understand: bottle, puffs, paci, blankie, "snuggle," (we tell you to snuggle and you think that means to bury yourself in your blanket), kiss, hug (you give us hugs and kisses on cue now, and sometimes spontaneously, too!), bath, hi, bye, kitties, ball, duck, keys, bubbles, bouncer, clap, sing, dance, no (although you don't always listen to that one!), etc. 

You are the friendliest baby, and have yet to meet a stranger.  You love to go shopping because you love to point, wave, smile, and STARE at everyone we pass.  This is kind of opposite of both mommy and daddy, because we are both somewhat reserved.  It is fun to see such a tiny little girl with such a big personality!  

You are also just so goofy!  You are constantly dancing around, making funny noises, funny faces, and just cracking up at random things.  You certainly keep us all laughing! 

Your favorite toys right now are your Sophie giraffe, your Peter Rabbit stuffed animal from Aunt Viv, a Frozen coloring book (you just like to look at Anna and Elsa on the cover), bubbles (Mommy blows them, and you like to pop them in my face),and all of your bath toys.  Bathtime is probably your favorite part of the day.  You splash so much, you drench anyone who is in the bathroom with you.  You also love to scream in the bathtub because of the way it echoes.

Speaking of screaming, you do that a lot!  Luckily, you never do it when you're mad.  You only do it when you're overly happy or excited.  It's like you become overtaken with emotion, and the only thing you know to do with all that excited energy is scream at the top of your lungs!

Lately it's been harder to put you to sleep at night.  You also don't always take the longest naps.  We think it's because you don't want to miss anything.  Lately, Mommy has resorted to singing you to sleep, and it usually works.  You seem to respond powerfully to music in many different situations (not all that different than Mommy and Daddy, as we are huge music-lovers as well).  Lately I have been singing "Songbird" by Fleetwood Mac every time I put you down for a nap or for the night.  I'm not sure how that even started, except that something about the melody seems to calm you.  And now I think you're just conditioned to fall asleep when you hear that song.  

This month has been very busy for you!  You had your first sleepover at Nana and Papa's house while Mommy and Daddy were in Columbus for the weekend, You celebrated your first Easter, Daddy's 30th birthday cookout, lots of shopping trips with Grandma and Mommy, a trip to the farmer's market, a trip to White House Fruit Farms, many walks through the neighborhood, and today, your 10-month birthday, is Mother's Day.  You've been awfully busy!

Here is what you looked like this month:

 We love you so much, and cannot wait to see what next month brings!

Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 14

This Easter was a pretty great one.  It was Scarlett's first, and we had so much fun celebrating with her and our families!

The entire Easter weekend was wonderful.  Luke had off work Friday and the weather was beautiful!  We went shopping all morning, took a walk in the afternoon, and relaxed in the evening.  It was nice to have so much time together as a family.

Saturday we colored eggs with Luke's family, and then I dressed Scarlett up in her Easter outfit to do a little photo shoot since I didn't think we'd have time on Sunday.  Here are a couple of my favorites (P.S. I got her dress at Crazy 8, and I love it!) :

 Easter morning we went to  church and then gave Scarlett her first little Easter basket.  She was definitely most excited about the puffs.

The bunny on the right was from Luke's parents.  It dances just like Scarlett does, and it's pretty hilarious to watch them both dance together. 

Before we left to spend the day with our families, Scarlett took a long nap.  And I couldn't resist taking a picture.  She looked so sweet!  Nothing's sweeter than a sleeping baby.

After naptime we headed to Luke's grandparents' house.  Here is our family picture:

Here is a picture of Scarlett with her Great Aunt Judy:
With Nana

And standing with Daddy's help

Our last stop of the day was my parents' house.  I was so tired at this point that I didn't take many pictures.  Which really bums me out.  I will have to do better next time!  But here's a cute one of my dad playing with Scarlett and some of the new toys she got for Easter.

Honestly, holidays are stressful when you have multiple places to go with a baby. Since Luke is in the worship band at church, I had to get everything ready by myself (Luke had to play in all 3 services and was gone for about 5 hours this morning).  I worry about naps and mealtimes for Scarlett when we are away for the entire day. We have a million things we have to lug everywhere with us.  And I get a little stressed and grumpy.  Halfway through the day today I had to remind myself the reason we celebrate Easter.  Jesus died for my sins and rose again!  My petty little problems seem tiny in comparison.  It is very humbling to remember the price that was paid for my salvation. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter, and remembered the reason for the holiday!

Friday, April 11, 2014

9 Months Old!

Dear Scarlett, 
You're 9 months old today!  Look how much you've grown:

 Each month I keep thinking it will be impossible for you to get cuter since you're already so cute, but each month you do it!  The first few months of your life, all we heard when people saw you was "she's so tiny!"  While we still hear that occasionally, that comment has mostly been replaced with, "she has such big, blue eyes!"  We can almost count on it every time you meet someone new or see someone who hasn't seen you in a long time.  I have to agree with everyone...they are big, blue, and beautiful!  

Also, your hair is finally starting to really grow in!  It is light brown and very straight right now.  You're starting to look less like a baby and more like a little girl each day.  I hate it and love it at the same time I love watching you become independent, but I also hate the thought of you growing up!

You weigh about 14 pounds, and you're 26.5 inches long.  It is crazy to think that you've grown 7.5 inches since you were born.  I can't even remember what it was like when you were that small! 

You have learned a lot of new things this month.  You are really into imitating actions.  You wave back at people (with both hands, facing the wrong way, but it's adorable).  You have finally perfected clapping and you do it every time you hear the word "clap" or "patty-cake."  You're babbling up a storm, and sometimes you get so excited you just scream!  And I mean, you REALLY scream.  A lady at Giant Eagle told me you were going to break the glass in the freezer aisle -- that's how loud you are.  It's pretty funny, and unexpected coming from such a small baby.  Luckily you only do it when you're overly happy or excited, and not when you're upset.  You still like to dance, although the novelty is wearing off a bit.  You also sing in the sweetest little voice.  Sometimes you sing yourself to sleep.

You're still giving the rare spontaneous kiss to us, and have started to give hugs.  My heart basically explodes when I'm holding you and you randomly tilt your head, pull yourself close to me, and rest it on my shoulder while you hold on for a few seconds.  Those hugs alone are worth all the time we spent waiting for you.

You still haven't started crawling forward, but that doesn't seem to stop you from getting around.  You can crawl backwards and around in circles, and it cracks us up how you spin yourself around until you get to where you want to go.  You can also scoot pretty well when you're sitting on the floor.  We kind of think you might walk before you full-on crawl!  You just don't seem interested in crawling.

Your favorite toys right now are any toys that play music.  It's so fun that you already have a passion for music, just like Mommy and Daddy!  You especially like you're stuffed dog that sings to you, and your Fisher Price vintage clock music box. 

Speaking of music, this update would not be complete if I didn't mention your favorite song.  I'm not sure how it became your favorite, but you are absolutely obsessed with the song "Let it Go" from the movie Frozen!  As soon as you hear those first few notes of the song, your head flips around to wherever the sound's coming from, and you're completely entranced for the next 3.5 minutes.  We even use it in the car to calm you down sometimes, and it works every time.  I call it the magic song.
Speaking of chewing, your top front teeth sure are giving you trouble!  They've been trying to poke through for at least a month, and they've changed your appetite, made you lose sleep, and just made you all around miserable some days.  I can't wait until they totally come in!  Although I hate to tell you, but you've got a LOT more teeth coming in, so this is not the last of the misery!  At least it's a chance for extra snuggles!

This month has been pretty laid back around here.  The weather hasn't been nice enough to get out too much, so we've hung out around home a lot.  Mommy was on spring break for a week, and we had so much fun together!  We also did the usual fun family outings and visits.

Next month we'll be able to go outside, swing, take walks, and go visit daddy at the park at work!  We can't wait to spend as much time with you as possible!

Here's what you looked like this month:

We love you so much! 

Mommy and Daddy

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Frozen Phenomenon and Being a Girl Mom

I've been hearing about Frozen for months from my friends who have kids and from the students I work with.  Apparently it's a huge deal,  but I don't exactly fit the demographic of people who watch that type of movie (Ha!  Who am I kidding?  Half of our blu-ray collection are Disney movies).  Anyway, I wasn't in a rush to see the movie.

Then last Wednesday, Scarlett was napping and I clicked on a video someone had posted on Facebook.  It was a man singing a cover of the song "Let it Go" (from Frozen) in a bunch of different Disney voices.  I was getting a kick out of it when I heard Scarlett stirring in her crib.  So I paused the video, went to scoop her up out of her crib, and then let her watch the rest of the video with me.  I usually don't like her to watch anything on a screen, but made an exception for a short, cute video.

She seemed to be really into it, so after that video was over, I clicked on another one -- the version of the song from the movie.  She was absolutely mesmerized. 

Throughout the day, I would play the song and we would dance around, and she seemed to be having the time of her life.  There was just something about that song. 

By the time Saturday rolled around, we had listened to the song approximately 850 times.  So I decided I might as well purchase the blu-ray, since it will probably be one of Scarlett's future favorites.  And let's be honest, probably mine too.  So during naptime on Saturday, I took part in this wonderfulness while Scarlett snoozed:

And oh my goodness, it was so cute!  I loved it, and I'm almost 30 years old.  I know Scarlett is going to love it even more when she's old enough to really watch it. 

And now when Scarlett gets fussy, I see her looking at the TV, just waiting for me to  play her favorite song.  And I willingly oblige.  Her eyes get big and she gasps and dances and even tries to sing along.  And I kind of see into our future for a minute.  I see all things princesses, pink, dancing, sing-alongs, girly movies, and all the fun things about being a little girl.  And sometimes I'm so overwhelmed with happiness that God has blessed me with a baby girl that I almost cry.  You can tell me I'm perpetuating gender norms all you want, but I happen to love being a woman, and I'm glad my daughter gets to experience all of those fun, girly things too.  

I will also teach her to be tough and independent and to stand up for herself.  But that's the beauty of being a girl:  she can be all of those things, and still be a beautiful, feminine, princess at the same time.  

I know I would have loved a little boy so much, and I hope I have one someday.  But I feel so blessed that God picked me to be a girl mom, too. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lit Picks: The Napping House (+ Freebie!)

I am checking in for 1 measly post this week to share one of my very favorite books to use in therapy: The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood.

 This book is amazing.  The illustrations are beautiful, it is a predictable text, there is rich vocabulary, and children think it's hilarious!  I did some activities with this book in therapy a couple of weeks ago, and there were some serious belly laughs coming from the speech room as the students saw what happened to all the crazy people and animals sleeping in the napping house! 

How to use it: 
  • Predictable text:  Once you have read a few pages, you can leave off words, and children can fill them in for you.  You can also have students predict what's going to happen next.
  • Rich Vocabulary: there are many synonyms for "sleep" in the book.  Have children make a list of all the words they can find that mean "sleep."
  • Prepositions: Have students answer "where?" questions on each page, using prepositions.  For example, ask them, "Where is the mouse on this page?"  Instead of just having the child point, have them tell you, "ON the mirror."
  • Story recall:  Have children draw a picture of everyone on the bed in the napping house, and then have them tell you what happened after they were all asleep.
  • Sequencing:  Use pictures to have students retell the story in the correct sequence.  I actually just opened my own Teachers Pay Teachers store, and I uploaded free sequencing pictures HERE, so hop on over there and download them!  Your children will love it.  The download also includes a page where students can write all the synonyms for "sleep" from the story.
Happy Reading!