Wall Re-Do!

The very first wall I decorated when we moved into our new house was this big gray wall in our kitchen. I knew I wanted to do four large pictures with white frames on this wall with pictures of my kids. An individual of each of them, then one of the three of them together. Once we have our fourth baby, it’ll already have a spot. And if we have a fifth? Well, we’ll deal with that when the time comes, won’t we.

For our first round of these pictures, we, well my dad, took pictures in my parents beautiful backyard. I turned them black and white because that was all I wanted – big, black and white pictures on my wall, for so long. I loved it. The wall always brought me lots of happiness.

I knew that I wanted to update this wall yearly, every summer. So on Fourth of July, we went back to my parents house again and this time my dad took pictures in their front yard of the kids in these adorable patriotic outfits. I originally assumed I’d do black and white again, but the color was calling to me this time around and I am SO happy I went along with the idea. Its given the wall new life.

I have a feeling that updating this wall yearly is going to be something I look forward to each year.

Tummy Troubles and Mama Worries

How pretty is that girl? I melt.

I know my fellow parents and caretakers will understand what I’m saying when I say that sometimes parts of parenthood are so, so heavy. My sweet Flora girl is having some tummy troubles. I, a chronic worrier and anxiety-ridden human being, am having a hard time with it all. She’s just…not herself. I hate it.

Its been nearly three weeks now, but this sweet thing has been having so much diarrhea. She had a week where she threw up just as frequently, but thankfully its now been over a week since we’ve dealt with that part. Her appetite has been fluctuating. She sometimes only has like 3 wet diapers a day. She sometimes won’t drink much. She’s sleepier and more mellow than usual. It scares me. It makes me sad for her.

I’ve been in near-constant (it feels like) conversation with her pediatrician who has been so helpful and supportive. He doesn’t seem too worried about it because she thankfully hasn’t had any fevers, blood in her stool or urine and other scary warning signs like that. So I’m leaning into his calm as much as I can.

His theory is that dairy is the culprit. So, since I’m breastfeeding, both Flora and I are now on a dairy-free diet. AND I’m happy to say that for the most part, I think things are starting to look up? And I don’t think its just in my head, either. Hallelujah. There’s been a little less diarrhea. A little less mellow and a lot more Flora energy. I thiiiink things are looking up. I pray they are. No really. I’m praying so much.

I’m sure its just a dairy intolerance or maybe even a bug. But either way, a sick baby, especially for over three weeks, is hard. I just worry about my kids so much. I want them to have a perfect little childhood and sickness doesn’t go along well with my plans.

I’m just grateful that she’s mostly seeming better. I hope we can continue to figure this out and get her all better sooner rather than later. I’m also grateful for prayer. Holy cow, the amount of times I’ve prayed about her. I’m so happy that Heavenly Father listens to me. Its so comforting.

I love this Flora girl!

Time Flies and Kids Grow Up

The other day I woke up in the middle of the night to feed Flora. She’s woken up and needed to nurse to feel soothed. As I sat in the gold chair in her room, I rocked her and held her little tiny hand. I thought about how mind blowing it is to me that somehow she’s already one. That was a very fast year. Her tiny little fingers wrapped around my finger and I rubbed her hands between my fingers. She’s so small and precious. I soaked her in, because I know how this works.. you blink and the next thing you know, your kids are a whole other year older.

I laid her back into her crib then popped into my boys shared bedroom to check on them before I went back to bed. Harrison’s arm was hanging off of his bed in a weird angle, so I grabbed his hand to lay it back on the bed. As I grabbed his hand, I literally froze. I sat there and held his hand for a moment, rubbing it between my fingers. I was just thinking about how fast Flora was growing and how her small little hands were growing every day. Now I was holding my five and a half year olds hands which suddenly felt enormous. There were little scratches and blisters on his hands from all the playing he does. He has big boy hands. Once, they were just like Flora’s.

Time flies. I keep seeing the phrase that, “time is a thief,” or hearing moms telling their little ones to, “never grow up,” and I get it. Man, do I get it. These moments are precious. This phase of life is pure magic. They’re only little so long. They’re only you’re small child for so many years…

But a few months ago I was reading a post on Instagram from the point of view of a father who had a young son pass away at two years old after a courageous battle with cancer. In his post, he told people to stop wishing for your children not to grow up. Stop mourning stages passing. Because someone out there is wishing that they could have watched their child grow up.

I’ve thought about this post so frequently. I see both sides. I truly do. And while I’ll never totally be a-ok with my kids growing up so wildly fast, and fearing that I’m not living in the moment enough, I’m choosing to be so grateful for all of this. I’m grateful I get to watch my kids grow. I’m grateful that time is passing and that we get to pass the time together.

And I’m so very grateful that I’ll be able to hold their hands, in all of their sizes, as it happens.

ONE

My sweet baby wildflower is ONE today!! I know the years pass faster the older you get, but wow, this year truly flew by! Wasn’t she my tiny squeaky newborn just a couple of weeks ago?

I’ve yet to find the words to accurately express how much I adore this girl and the absolute pride and honor I feel as I get to be her mother. She is such a light and a joy in our family. She changed our whole dynamic the second we brought her into our home, and she helped shape us as we’re continually working on becoming exactly who we should be.

This girl is special. She’s kind and caring and motherly. She’s curious, brave, adventurous and doesn’t back down from things. She’s feisty and loud, she’s opinionated and fiery. She’s social and happy and loves her family in a remarkable way.

I am so very grateful to have this girl in my life. She’s my little girlfriend. My sidekick. My bestie. Having a girl is quite different than having a boy, and I’ve really enjoyed the adventure. She is bright, beautiful and wonderful.

Flora girl, Happy Birthday!! I love you more than I’ll ever be able to say. Thanks for choosing me.

Love, mom

We Did Disney World

Not too long ago we returned home from a maaaaagical trip to Walt Disney World. Are you totally shocked to hear that we had the best time and it was 100% one of our highlights from 2021 even though the year isn’t even halfway over yet? Ugh. I love Disney World. I always have, but it gets a whole other kind of magic layered on top of it when you take your kids there. Oh also, it was Flora’s very first trip to Disney (which is soo unlike our family – but hello #pandemicbaby) which gave it yet another sprinkle of Disney magic. The. Best. I could ramble on for ages about how wonderful our vacation was, but I’ll stop around here so I don’t bore you with my obsession.

The kids, my mom, and my sister, Adi went for nine days and we adored each and every one. I’m so very grateful we got to go. It was so special, happy and wonderful. Now enjoy a small photo dump of some of my favorite images we captured while there.

SatisFACTual Saturday: Tower of Terror

TOWER OF TERROR

Did you know?…

  • The attraction stands at 199 feet tall, making it one of the tallest Disney World attractions
  • While falling up and down, you reach a top speed of 39 mph
  • The drops are randomized sequences, making it very possible that you may never ride the same sequence twice
  • Its rumored that originally, the attraction would be both a ride and an actual hotel but, (if these rumors are true), Disney decided it would be too expensive
  • The cobwebs in the lobby are made of glue from a special hot glue gun spinner that essentially shoots the “webs” out
  • If you see the wait time listed for Tower of Terror as 13, you better get in line – 13 means there is a nice, short current wait

SatisFACTual Saturday: Splash Mountain

SPLASH MOUNTAIN

Did you know?…

  • Its original name was Zip-a-Dee River Run. But Michael Eisner then suggested the name Splash Mountain, as it sounded more like a thrill ride
  • Splash opened in Disneyland Resort in 1989 and was so popular, that Imagineers decided it needed to expand, so Tokyo Disneyland and Walt Disney World gained the amazing attraction in 1992
  • Legendary Imagineer, Tony Baxter, is the mastermind behind this iconic ride, and he came up with the idea while in LA traffic
  • In Disneylands Splash Mountain, its animatronics are repurposed animatronics from an old Disneyland attraction, America Sings
  • There are 3 drops in Disneyland Resorts ride, 4 drops in Tokyo Disneyland’s ride, and 5 drops in Disney Worlds ride

Opening Day!

Today is a magical day! Today is a special day!

Happy opening day, Disneyland!! Today you open for…forever!!

I’m typing this with actual tears in my eyes. It has been so long…too long…since Disneyland Resort has been open and I’ve felt the sting of its absence so, so frequently. I’m not a California resident, so I’m still unsure of when exactly I can make it back to the happiest place on earth, but the fact that its OPEN has my heart fluttering non-stop today.

The world is right again. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be stalking all social media accounts of California residents who are in the park today!

Another Step in Speech

It is so beyond crazy to me, and a little bittersweet to be honest, that Harrison is about to close a big chapter in his Speech Therapy journey. He has been in Speech since he was newly two years old. At first, a wonderful Speech Therapist would come to our home frequently to meet with him and help teach him (and me) how to even begin speaking. When we started, Harrison ‘spoke’ through a mostly closed mouth and communicated with grunts. When he did speak, it was a jumble of vowels and very, very, very few people could ever even get close to figure out what he was trying to say. Our in-home therapist taught us so much and got him started on the right foot. He made great progress fairly quickly. There were set backs, there were frustrating days, but there were also glorious triumphs and really exciting milestones met. Its been a fascinating, exhilarating journey. More than anything, its shown me how resilient, dedicated and smart my Harrison is. He’s been setting goals and crushing them for years now, and its so inspiring to me. I’m so proud of him.

Harrison right about when this whole journey began! So tiny!
Buddy with some of his sensory activities that his in-home SLP had us get to help promote speech and sound!

His early intervention place (that provided us our in-home speech therapist) only takes little ones until they turn three. So a quick year later, we got Harrison transferred over to our local school districts speech therapy program. It started with an evaluation that was maybe one of the lowest, most frustrating times of this whole journey for me. The evaluation was long. Harrison didn’t want to cooperate at all, he didn’t connect with the woman giving the screening at all.. it was a train wreck. I sobbed the whole way home and throughout much of the day. It was frustrating. I wasn’t frustrated with Harrison, just with the process. We had to reschedule him to do the entire screening over again. I was terrified and dreaded it, but knew it needed to be done. I wanted my boy to keep progressing with his speech and sounds! So we went back to the second screening and thanks heavens, it went a billion times better. He was cooperative, he connected with the new screener. It was awesome. And honestly, its been awesome ever since.

Harrison’s first day of Speech School!

We got little three year-old Harrison into his little Speech Preschool class, and we have been doing that once a week ever since. I owe the SLP’s who’ve worked with him over these years so much thanks and gratitude. I will be eternally grateful for the work they put into Harrison’s speech and success. They are heaven sent humans. These classes have been fun, educational and have got Harrison to the point where he is now. And if you knew Harrison at the beginning of his speech process, then you know just how far he has come. Its amazing.

This Fall Harrison will start Kindergarten (what???) and with that, he will be closing the chapter we have both loved so much, of Speech Preschool. It’ll close the chapter of me being with him while he does speech. Its so bittersweet. Now he will be meeting with a SLP that works in the school he’ll attend who will pull him out of class once a week. He will still be setting goals and tackling them. He’ll still be practicing and learning. But I won’t be there. Thats weird to me. It feels so grown up on his part. How is my boy going into Elementary School!? Sheesh, time flies, but thats a post for another day.

Harrison surely still will be in the speech program for several more years. He’s doing incredible, but still has a ways to go. I love knowing he’s surrounded by a wonderful support system and teachers who are dedicated to helping him do his very best when it comes to something thats been so tricky for him his whole life.

Now, I’m obviously not a SLP or a professional on any of this, but I am Harrison’s mom, and have been very invested in this for most of his life. So I know a thing or two. I’m asked pretty frequently some of the same questions. I answer them occasionally on comments or instagram DM’s, but I’ve chosen to answer my most frequently asked speech-related questions here to make it easier on all of us! If your question isn’t here, message me or comment and I promise I’ll get back to you! This is something I’m passionate about and highly support, so I will most definitely respond.

FAQ About Harrison’s Speech Journey

Do you think Speech is worth it? One trillion percent, yes. Speech has taught us tricks, tips and techniques I never would have come up with in a million years. It has given us the tools to use at home to help Harrison progress. Its held him/me accountable in working with him. Its given Harrison confidence. Its given him classroom experience. Its provided comfort and calm. Its been incredible. I can’t imagine how much more behind Harrison would be if we didn’t choose to put him into speech.

How was he diagnosed with a speech delay? I’d been panicking about him for a while. I took my concerns to our wonderful pediatrician and he gave us the information for an early intervention company nearby us. If you’re concerned about your little ones speech, I’d suggest either asking your pediatrician for a referral, or calling your local school district and asking them what your school system suggests.

Could this just be done at home without intervention? I mean, yes. But in my honest opinion, not as well. There are resources online and so many YouTube videos, etc., but I just know Harrison has learned so much better from SLP’s in person, who really know what they’re doing. Even though parents are awesome and can learn so much, I still 1,000% recommend going to a SLP.

Is Speech Therapy expensive? Not at all. We have been in this about three and a half years. Guess how much we have paid? $0. I love that they’ve truly made this accessible for everyone.

How did you know he was behind in speech? He wasn’t talking as well as kids his age, which at first didn’t concern me. But then I notice he wasn’t talking nearly as well as kids 6+ months younger than him. So then I started to be mindful of it and worry. Trust your gut though!! Testing is free, too! So if you’re worried, I say test. You’d rather know for sure instead of sitting in the scary unknown.

Progress is Progress!

In January, I decided enough was enough. I was going to make my health a priority. Healthy eating. Daily exercise. Mindfulness. Taking control of my mental health. Nurturing my spiritual health. I knew it would take a lot of self control and discipline, and truth be told, I was nervous that I’d start this goal out strong, then eventually it’d fade out and I’d go back to my past ways.

But I promised myself I’d do my best. I’d hold myself accountable. I’d believe in myself and I’d push myself.

And now I am three and a half months in and still going strong and I am freaking proud of myself!

I’ve never had a goal weight or clothing size in mind. I just wanted to feel healthy, strong, confident and empowered. I’m happy to say that I’m doing so well and 100% doing exactly what I know I should be doing right now. My self confidence is higher than it’s been in so long, I feel good, I feel strong, I feel empowered and confident and my mental health is doing leaps and bounds better.

Like I anticipated, it really has taken a lot of accountability and discipline, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come and that I’m doing it in a healthy way. No foods are off limits, I’m giving myself grace and I’m being realistic. It feels good to get fit and healthy while also keeping a healthy, happy mindset! I can’t wait to see how I’ll feel months from now!