Monday, December 15, 2014

Family pictures

We had our family pictures taken again this year (always at Christmas, for our card). We used Jenni Lee Photography. I'm in love with our pictures! I can't wait to have them framed!

And what a difference a year makes. This was last Christmas...

Gavin at 10 months

Only 2 months until this little (big) guy is a year old! How can that be?! It goes even faster with the second baby! At 10 months...

-We are still fighting your eczema. Some days are good and others are really not good. Right when I think it's under control, your leg will go crazy. It's usually your right one. I'm really hoping you grow out of it, or just get small spots like your big brother, but I'm thinking that this will likely be a life long thing for you.
-Your reflux has been acting up the past few weeks. This usually means a new tooth is coming, or you're growing. I don't see any new teeth, but you have had some extra drool (compared to normal).
-You now have 8 teeth, 4 on the top, 4 on the bottom.
-You're clapping your hands- to "If you're happy and you know it...", when someone says, "Yay Gavin!", or when you think you've done something worthy of celebration (like sticking a piece of food in your mouth).
-You've been doing "so big" for a while, but you will do it on cue every time now. Or when you've done something worthy of celebration (like sticking a piece of food in your mouth). This is how it goes, food goes in, raise your arms. Food goes in, clap and smile huge.
-You are pointing at things. Sometimes you can isolate your pointer finger, but mostly it's with your whole fist. You will point to it, vocalize, look at me (or daddy) to make sure we are looking at whatever it is you are pointing at, then look back at it.
-You are finally going to your sitter without crying. Some mornings you even lean to her when you're ready for her to pick you up. This morning you waved bye-bye to Hunter and me as we left. Thank you for making morning drop off easier (both on me and I'm sure on Miss Kimberly).
-You will scoot on your butt to get to places. You do have a lot of mass to move. Still trying to figure out the whole crawling thing, but you really want to.
-You are babbling up a storm. I hear new vowels and consonants and combinations all the time. No new true words.
-You are pulling yourself to a stand, with support (you don't have the greatest balance, so we have to make sure we are behind you when you do this).
-You absolutely love the Christmas lights. When we went to Christmas Town, you just "Oooh" and "Ahhed" at all of them!
-You will dance as soon as you hear music. You stop what you are doing and dance.
-Your new favorite game is "fetch whatever I've thrown over the side of wherever I am". Yesterday, you were in the shopping cart at the store and you had your hat. You looked at me and said, "Uh oh!" and threw your hat over the side of the cart. This entertained you the whole time we were there.

You are changing all the time. You have become so happy and playful. You continue to adore your big brother and your daddy. Mommy will do if Daddy isn't around or if you have hurt yourself while on Daddy's watch. You are also very sensitive to sounds (like sneezing) and to being told "no". You would have thought we told you that you could no longer eat with the reaction to loud noises and no.

Sorry it's blurry... he doesn't sit still. This is the face he makes as soon as he sees the flash on the camera

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hunter's Parent-Teacher Conference

It's always nice to have parent-teacher conferences. I get to see what Hunter has been up to and get an idea as to where he is academically, socially, and developmentally. Hunter is my little problem solver and has a mind for math and science. His teacher said he loves to learn and if he doesn't know the answer to something, he does his best to figure it out (either independently or asking the teacher for help). He loves doing school work and will often pretend he is doing his phonics book here at home (with a coloring book, a work book we have here, etc.). I love how much he loves his school. Carl and I have nothing but positive feedback for his school!

At each conference, the teacher does an interview and then looks at the academic development. We get this in a cute little envelope (usually with his hand print).

His teacher then asked him to write the alphabet, his numbers, and draw shapes. I'm very impressed with his writing skills and fine motor development.

He asked me how to spell my name. When I gave him a compliment as to how well he wrote 'f' he said, "I know. It's because I'm in a phonics book."

The silly boy himself...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Gavin at 9 months

I'm way late. I did start this prior to Gavin turning 9 months old. Can I lie and say I was waiting until his 9 month appointment to post? Let's go with that!
At 9 months, Gavin is....
-Not "creeping". Apparently, according to my pediatrician, "crawling" is the act of them moving (so scooting backwards), "creeping" is them getting on their hands and knees and moving forward. So, technically, Gavin is crawling.
-Imitating movements and sounds. His new phrase is "uh oh". He is saying "dada" now as well and "Hunter"... for real. It's on video.
-Continuing to grow his receptive language. He understands when we tell him, "Hold your bottle" and "Make it pop!" (he will pull his paci out of his mouth and make a "pop" noise).
-Giving kisses and high fives. Appropriately waving "hi" and "bye".
-He has 7 teeth! He had 5 come in all at the same time.
-Has a strong personality. If he doesn't want something, he lets you know!
-Continues to love Hunter and Daddy the most. If Daddy walks into the room and I'm holding him (or anyone else) he will scream until Carl picks him up.

At his 9 month appointment, he weighed 22 pounds, 12 ounces (78%ile) and was 28.94 inches (66%ile). His head circumference was 48 cm (95%ile). Dr. S said he was very social. Gavin was super mean and pushed him away when he was trying to look in his ears and mouth and listen to his heart. He has quite the attitude!

As a side note, when you work with a pediatric population who mainly has developmental delays across the board, it is amazing to see typical progress. Some days I think, "Oh my gosh! He's a genius!" and I have to stop myself and just say, "No, he's typically developing." I currently have a student and one of our kiddos is working on looking for objects to reappear when they disappear and actively searching for/uncovering an object when covered. She asked how I would know when to score an accurate response. To answer her question, I made a video of Gavin. Carl and I are blessed to have our kids meeting these milestones.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Every year, I call Kelly about a week before Halloween making sure I can still invite us to her house for Halloween (haha). Hunter has a blast with Emma and Alyssa and their cousins. It is so much fun watching Hunter change every year. Last year was the first year he really understood Halloween. This year, he and Emma were running all over the place and telling people to smell their feet. The things they learn in school. Gavin lasted a street and then slept in the Ergo. Emma, Hunter, and Alyssa lasted until almost 8:00 when we parents decided we were all done.

We also attend The Little Gym Boo Bash every year. Hunter loved playing with Alyssa there and Gavin and I got to hang out with his little friend.

And some fun at work. We speechies were m & ms (if you couldn't tell).

Hunter's school parade

Hunter's school puts on three programs during the year- a Halloween one, one at Christmas, and one in the spring. The music director does a wonderful job and the teachers work hard to prepare the kids for their performance. Last year, Hunter had the stomach bug on the day of his performance so he was unable to attend. I kept my fingers crossed that wouldn't happen again this year! It was so cute, and they got to parade around after the final song and show off their costumes (of course, I ran out of memory on my phone, I'm moving files onto the computer as I type this).

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gavin's 8 months

Well, 8 months and 9 days, my bad.

At 8 months you're....
-Saying "hi" intentionally. You will wave hi/bye when verbally prompted at least 80% of the time and sometimes spontaneously when we see a familiar person.
-You are also saying "ma" (and all I can think of is "Maa the meatloaf!"). I'm pretty positive this is intentional because I've only heard you say it when you're looking at me and you want me to pick you up or you're upset.
-You are very vocal. You definitely make it known how you're feeling through your vocalizations. When you don't want Hunter hugging on you, you grunt/angry vocalization and push him away. I feel the love (this is very rare though, you usually love Hunter).
-Still moving backwards. I don't think you have any intentions any time soon to get those knees under you and crawl. You're pretty content staying where you are.
-Standing assisted.
-All your diapers have been moved up in the rise. We've finally found a good night time solution since you are a very heavy wetter. You now wear a fitted with an extra hemp insert and a cover. Knock on wood, this is keeping you dry through the night. We sometimes have to use your nice, brand new bum genius AIO ones with an extra insert if I haven't had a chance to hand wash the fitted and dry it. Problem will be solved soon because I've ordered more from the lady who made the one fitted we own.
-You're favorite people in order: Hunter, Daddy, Mommy, Koal (although I think Koal and Mommy are pretty close). You are a huge daddy's boy.
-Your receptive language is developing nicely as well. You understand "want up/come up" and reach your arms up in response. "Where's doggy/daddy/BuhBuh (Hunter)?" and you look for them until you find them.
-You have been cleared from dermatology for a year. Woohoo. We have found a good routine to manage your eczema. Hopefully we won't need to go back until the year follow-up (that co-pay is no joke!).
-You have a great sleep routine. We get you in the bath by 6:30 then get your medicine and lotion all on you, you have your night time bottle and you're in bed by 7:15/7:30 where you are putting yourself to sleep with your blanket. Sometimes you wake yourself up talking (I swear you talk in your sleep), but you usually put yourself back to sleep, and are up by 5:30/6:00. Not too shabby in my book for you.

-You are a monster eater! We have been giving you more table foods. Tonight I'm going to try to give you some of the sauce and ground beef from the lasagna I'm making (no cheese from it though). I'm sure you will love it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A new look

As many know, I'm a pediatric speech language pathologist. I work with kiddos all day, helping them say their first word, develop their language skills, find a functional way to communicate, helping them pronounce their sounds, helping them expand their food repertoire, helping them eat/swallow safely, etc. etc. I work with neurotypical kids, ASD, chromosomal abnormalities, traumatic brain injury, developmental delay, etc.  I do this from my first patient (usually 8 am) until my last patient leaves (around 5 pm) with an hour for lunch, Monday through Thursday, year round. Some days, I have tough kids that are physically and emotionally draining. I have a lot of respect for my families, who have their child and work with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I see just a snip-it of them, for an hour, up to 3 times a week.  Some days can be exhausting.

I've always prided myself in the patience I have. I can wait out my screaming kiddo who has fallen to the floor and is kicking the wall (or me) because of a demand I have placed on them. I keep a calm, but firm, voice throughout my sessions. A kicking/hitting/screaming/scratching/crying kid does not phase me. (Except spitting, unless it's a feeder, that I don't tolerate and you will clean/help me clean it up off the floor/table)

Before Gavin was born, I was very well rested. Hunter has always been a great sleeper. We had a great night time routine and I did not feel rushed. I came home happy and enjoyed listening to Hunter and it never (almost never) bothered the constant questions.  I was coming home to a child who was typically developing, responded well to my indirect articulation therapy, and who does things that the kids I work with work so hard to do.  We are blessed.

Once Gavin was born, and I was back to work, I was running on limited hours of sleep. It wouldn't have been so bad if it were straight hours, but we all know babies wake up multiple times a night.  I was exhausted (as was Carl).

I have to be on my A-Game at work, all the time. I can't let my exhaustion show to my patients and their families and I certainly can't let that impact the therapy I provide.  But by the end of the day I was done. I would pick Hunter up from school and some days hope he was in a "I don't feel like talking to you on the way home mood."  This never worked out in my favor, of course.  He wanted to talk the days I just needed a quite ride home and didn't want to talk when I would have loved to hear about his day.  I was getting angry with him over the smallest things and snapping at the drop of a hat.  Who was this person?! I was getting mad at him for asking me questions that I should be so excited he was developing in his brain.

I was working with other people's children all day and having to come home to mine and still be mommy.  Was I working with the wrong population?  Should I work in geriatrics? I did not get the joy out of working with adults as I did with kids, but maybe I needed to do that while I had little ones at home. Maybe I would come home refreshed after not having had to have single-sided conversations most of the day. But then again, depending on the setting, I might be bringing home a different kind of emotion.  One of loss.

I've really had to re-evaluate the way I look at my job and the kids I come home to every night. I work with some tough kids, yes, but I've helped their families help their children do some pretty amazing things. I get to come home to two beautiful, healthy, typically developing kids. Hunter doesn't have to try super hard to understand concepts, form sentences, express his wants/needs/ideas. It comes so naturally. Gavin isn't a quiet baby, he socially smiles, is interacting with us, and showing us that, as of right now, he is typically developing. A lot of my families don't get to go home to that. They go home to a constant struggle to know what their child wants/needs/feels, juggling school and multiple therapy sessions.

I don't know how to put into words the motto I have, but it has really changed the level of stress I have. I go to work and give my patients all I have. I feel happy with them and really celebrate the small gains.  I work with them the way I would want a therapist to work with my children and get excited over things that I would want a therapist to get excited about for my children. I come home and give the boys all I have. I celebrate all their victories. I feel like a different person these last few weeks. I feel content and know I'm in the right place. Pediatrics is where I am supposed to be.
Mommy me

SLP me

Monday, September 22, 2014

Gavin is 7 months

Gavin is growing like a weed!  If I weren't totally against the boys playing football, Gavin could definitely be a line backer!  This child can put away some food.  I'm really scared what our house is going to be like when both boys are teenagers!

At 7 months....
-Gavin is sitting up unsupported.  He was doing this last month, but he has really perfected this.  He even caught himself with his arm as he was starting to fall to the side, and pushed himself back into a sit.  We have been working through the motions of going from side laying to sitting.
-Is trying to crawl.  We can move backwards (it's nothing pretty) and turn ourselves in a circle.  He is finally getting the concept of pulling his knees up under him.  However, we still aren't really rolling.  He has done it, I know he can do it.  Now our arm is getting stuck out to the side every time we try to roll.  This creates a problem in the middle of the night when he wants to be on his back.  He is now back to being put on his back to sleep.
-He is giving high-fives when requested and is so proud of himself.
-He can wave hi/bye, but he is not consistently responding to these greetings.  I'd say it is probably 60% of the time.
-He is playing peek-a-boo.  He will intentionally cover his face and wait for someone to ask, "Where's Gavin?" and he pulls the item down.
-He is sleeping through the night.  Woohoo.  Sometimes he will whine for a few minutes, but goes back to sleep.  If he wakes up at 4:00, we are able to stay in our room and he talks himself back to sleep (within 10-15 minutes).  Then he wakes up at 5:00/5:30 and we feed him.  He typically goes back to sleep for a little while after this feeding.
*After writing this draft, he started waking up in the middle of the night screaming.  This is why I don't write about good sleep with Gavin... EVER*
-He has a pretty good routine going.  While home on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday he will take a nice morning nap and a nice afternoon nap with 2-3 cat naps at some point during the day.  Fridays are tricky because of Hunter's drop off.  Gavin has been wanting to go down for a nap 10 minutes before we have to leave.
-Like I said, the kid can put away some food!  He loves his purees and I've been making it less smooth so he is really having to practice his skills.  He is also eating the Gerber sticks.  He is really getting the bite and munching down.  As he gets more proficient, I will start introducing more table foods.  I've given him pieces of banana and he's been pretty successful with those.
-He's still in 12 month clothing.  I've had to change the rise on some of his diapers (his cloth diapers grow with him).
-He loves blowing raspberries!  And he is trying to imitate "buhbuh" (what we call Hunter).  He really watches our mouths as we repeat CVCV words (buhbuh, mama, dada, etc.).
-He is beginning to mellow out.  He continues to be high maintenance, but is able to go longer periods of time without having to have one of us right there with him.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What We've Been Up To

This time of year always feels so busy to me!  It's back to school time, work evaluations seem to pick up when school physicals have been completed, it's birthday party season, and so much more.

Hunter started in the 4 year old preschool class at the same school he has been attending since he turned 3.  We absolutely love it there!  It is very rare that he ever clings to me (usually when the train table isn't set up, lol) and he always has so much to bring home and share. He amazes me every day with something new.  He will start a soccer shots program and a golf program at school, 1 day a week for 6 weeks. Carl and I would like to expose him to all the sports (except football, he will really have to beg me to play that) and let him pick the one he likes the most.  He will also start his sports skills class at The Little Gym this season.  He has been looking forward to that since I started back at work.  Soon he will also start feeding therapy at my work.  I can get other people's children to eat (that's what I love doing at work) but I cannot get my own child to eat.  I need someone else to look at him and help me develop a home program to get him moving.  I can't get him past the "lick it" stage.

Gavin has started with Miss Jessica 4 days a week and he is having a great time.  We love Jess!  He gets lots of loving over there and is entertained by Jessica's son.  Again, I have not worried at all about him while I'm at work and I love that feeling.  He is eating solids 3 times a day during the week and we try to give him solids every feeding on the weekends.  He is now eating Gerber sticks (like puffs, but they can be picked up and held easier) and has really gotten the hang of biting and munching.

Nothing new with Carl or myself really.  I've taken on another student at work.  So far (day one) she seems super sweet and great.  A really great thing is she didn't try to take a nap in my office on her first day!  That really did happen with my first student.  You can pick your jaw up off the floor now.

And.... Ashley finally made her big announcement, so I had to include it here!  She has started her own therapy business!  I am so excited for her!  Check out her business website and pass the information along to your friends.  She is especially amazing with kiddos with ASD.  She would certainly be my child's therapist if we ever had a diagnosis of ASD (well, and if we weren't friends, this creates a conflict of interest).

Just some pictures of other things we've been up to...

About a month ago we met my family at the park to have one last big get together with the cousins before my brother's family moved to CA.

All 9 cousins

We had a birthday party and a fun Labor Day party this past weekend...