Tuesday, November 27, 2012

“F” is for Food

Leighton’s not eating real food yet, so he’s trying to eat everything else! Behind milk, his Favorites are…

Fabric

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and Fingers!

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And he’s super happy about both!

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Speech, check.

I honestly cannot believe I'm about to write this: Blair's speech therapist released her from speech the Thursday before Thanksgiving. If someone had told me a year ago that Blair would be where she is now language and speech-wise, I would have said they had lost their mind! But she is. She has come so far in just this past year. I'm just beyond thankful.

Blair has worked so hard for Mamie and Mamie for her. I am so thankful we found Mamie (or she sort of found us). I cannot put into words what a blessing she has been to us. We have met and worked with at least 5 speech therapists over the years, and Mamie's way of doing therapy is so much more effective than anything else I've experienced. And she taught me so much about working at home. She always gave us such good ideas to practice. I saw Mamie's heart everyday we were there for speech. It is so obvious that God made her to work with kids like Blair. She can pull a speech game out of nowhere and at the spur of the moment - it's phenomenal! We are forever thankful for her and for her going beyond duty to be flexible for us and even give us her spare time. And it's obvious she loves my child. Blair even got a "graduation" gift!

There were times in there at the beginning - almost 2 1/2 years ago - that Mamie didn't know where to go with Blair. Blair was making no progress at all. She refused to say B or P sounds. We worked on B for months! But Mamie kept on trying. And the sounds came. Like light bulbs being switched on, sound after sound appeared in Blair's speech - and not in just one place. When she decided to start saying a sound, it was everywhere. It was so strange!

This past year, we've seen improvement almost weekly it seems. And now, we've reached a point at which she is appropriate for her age in pronunciation and beyond her age in language. We of course will keep an eye on her, and we still work all the time at home anyway. For example, she still has to be reminded to use her S sound in initial S blends. 

We also got good reports at the craniofacial clinic and from Blair’s audiologist last month. “Tickled” was a word that was used about her speech and progress. Her hearing aids are still set the same, and her audiologist said that her language is so good. She also said that Blair is a perfect example of the importance of early intervention and hard work.

I would say if you have a child who you think is behind in speech, no matter the reason, get him or her evaluated sooner rather than later. You can always be told that there is no problem, but if there is an issue, with both speech and hearing loss, the earlier you start the better!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The “Garden”

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We’ve been dabbling in winter produce for the last few years, mostly for folks around here to come out and get. This year we are selling some of the vegetables though markets, etc. We have quite the “garden,” as my father-in-law calls it. It’s a tad more than what most would call a garden, since it’s quite a few acres and is watered with a hard hose! There are two kinds of peas, turnips, collards, cabbage, mustard greens, and broccoli.

Sidenote: A hard hose is like a HUGE sprinkler that waters acres of crops while traveling backwards on the path of its hose – a giant hose. It’s portable, and we use it wherever it may be needed – watermelons, cotton, or peanuts. We use it less now that we have drip irrigation on the watermelons and a few new pivots.

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They have been harvesting turnips and collards over the past few weeks, and they are beautiful!

fall produce 1112 (46)fall produce 1112 (44)Aren’t they gorgeous?!

These turnips were about to head down to Florida.

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This week, Blair and I went out there on the ranger to grab a few collard greens for Thanksgiving. They were yummy!

fall produce 1112 (39)One of the guys helping me with the collards.

The broccoli is just about ready, and we can’t wait. We eat a ton of steamed broccoli.

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Just as Brad is finishing cotton harvest, we’re gearing up for another fall/winter produce planting. And I thought we were going to have a little downtime…. ha! A farmer knows no such thing!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

4 months old

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Leighton,

I never figured I would have two really good babies, but you are; you are SO good. You cry if you’re really hungry or sleepy, but other than that, you are so content. You love to be talked to or even smiled at, but you can play by yourself on your mat or under your leapfrog light toy – kicking and waving those arms in excitement! Over the last month, you have become my giggling little happy man! When anyone talks to you, your whole face lights up and you duck your head as you smile. Daddy says your smile goes “BING!” because it turns on like a light bulb. Your little personality is starting to show. You talk and get so excited about things. And you love your “two finger special” as daddy calls it! You don’t suck them all the time, but you go to town on them when you’re hungry!

I love our snuggle time and how you break out into a smile if I just look at you! You love when I sing – and I certainly don’t know why because I’m no singer! Blair loves to request songs for you and tell me what you like.

You are a rolling machine and prefer tummy time unless you have toys to look at while on your back. You push up off your tummy really well. You like fabric in your mouth. A blanket, my shirt, your shirt, whatever. If it’s fabric and near you, it’s soaked!

You are not sleeping in the swing at all anymore. You nap in your bed all day. You sleep like Blair did when she was a baby – booty up and hands tucked under your belly. It’s precious. I love to watch you sleep.

You are the cuddliest, sweetest thing. I can’t believe you’ve been here for 4 months. That’s almost half a year! What have we been doing all this time?! It’s really sickening how fast you babies grow up. I’m trying to soak you in best I can!

We sure do love you.

Love,

mommy, daddy, and Blair

fall-produce-1112-31_thumb1K, mom. That’s enough.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Death, Babies, and Wrecks: What to tell a preschooler?

Why did our car break? Why did we have an accident? Why did we hit that man in the semi? Why…

For the past three weeks, I have had three thousand questions like this. We’ve learned the word “accident,” we’ve talked about what happened, we have discussed and discussed this thing – with a four year old! And once she told me while driving, “Mama, don’t have an accident!”

The week before Blair’s party, we took her to the doctor and found out she had her first ear infection and walking pneumonia. (I usually take her right in or at least call. But we’ve done it over and over; and we have oxygen, meds, and nebulizer at home to deal with this stuff. So mother of the year here kept her home for 7 days before taking her in. She’s a fever runner – 10–14 days with every cold she’s had. I just figured it was the same thing. But the fever was coming down and then two days later it went way back up.)

So on the way home we had an accident on the interstate. (Blair’s doctor is over an hour from our house.) It was just God that we weren’t hurt. None of the four of us was hurt at all. I still cannot even figure out how that happened. Brad’s reaction could not have been better. My mom even said she would never have thought to do what he did. I just know that it was God.

We finally got another car today! It’s the same vehicle but a different color. Blair doesn’t seem to be bothered by the actual accident; thankfully, she woke up right after it happened. But she worries. She asks about the side mirror being gone. She asks why the car can’t be fixed. She asks… everything.

I guess change is a hard thing for all kids? I thought she would never quit asking about my old car when we sold it last fall! And the new one was so much better – it even played movies! So this time I made a big deal about getting a new car seat, and I let her pick out the fabric. She loves it. I hope now that we have a car she’ll move on. I just don’t want her to worry!

Stuff like this with young ones is so hard. In the past year we’ve had to talk about death and babies and now accidents. It’s so hard to know where the information limit line is. Telling her the truth is important to me. But you know, you want to explain it to them and be truthful, but you don’t want to put too much on them. Thank goodness I had a c-section with Leighton, because I didn’t know what I was going to tell her about having a baby! We all just do the best we can, right?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The year of the Circus.

Three was lots of fun, and now we’re four! This year has marked a vast improvement in speech, learning all the letters and their sounds, falling in love with the circus and clowns, becoming a big sister, meeting Elmo, and much more!

You love dance school, bows in your hair, dresses and clothes, Olivia the pig books, all things sweet, your little brother, your dog Gus, playing with your grandparents, all things circus, singing, playing outside, riding the ranger, swinging, and wearing people out!

westfield homecoming 092112 (54)You still love to swing and can almost swing by yourself. You still prefer your red swing because we can push you really high.

blair and gus play candyland 091912 (18)Playing Candyland with Gus. He draws cards and moves his game piece.

People always tell us how sweet, funny, and beautiful you are. You have been described to me as “addictive,” and you are all of the above. You are so incredibly thoughtful – for any age much less a four year old. You ask me to watch Leighton while you go inside and get a towel to dry Gus after his bath. “In case he cries,” you say. You told me, “Mommy, you make good brownies!” and “Your hair looks cute like that” (in a pony tail). Aunt Lin rolled your hair, and you told her, “I love it!” You went inside to get us water and brought them one by one back out. You brought me breakfast in bed right after I had Leighton – all your idea. You asked me if I thought God would want you to have 2 baby girls. So. sweet. And you think. A lot.

playground 080512 (10)You love the playground.

You weigh 26.5 pounds, and you’re 36 1/2” tall. You wear a size 3 in clothes. Well, you can wear a size 18 month shorts, and pants are a little of an issue in the waist when we get the length we need, but we know people who sew! You wear a size 7 shoe with plenty of room to spare.

You take a nap at 1ish for a couple to three hours. You still wear a diaper at night and sometimes during your nap. You get up between 6 and 7 in the morning, but you still don’t like to eat breakfast until you’ve been up for a bit. You love waffles and chocolate chip pancakes. You also love quesadillas, PB&J, and ham sandwiches.

september birthdays 091712 (6)You zoom around the house on your tricycle, and you still LOVE yogurt!

We’ve had a few bad colds this year, but you handled them pretty well. That one from Hawaii was a doozy. Then we had one cold this summer when we had to use oxygen at nap and night, and then on your birthday you started feeling crummy. After a week of thinking it was viral, I took you to the doctor and found out you had your first ear infection and walking pneumonia. Mother of the year. You’re probably the only four year old who can apply and work a pulse oximeter! And put on your own oxygen.

You LOVE music. In the car, you still watch KidSongs over most any other movie we have. You also like Lady and the Tramp, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Elmo’s World. You LOVE the Letter Factory (the reason you know the letter sounds and can SOUND OUT SOME WORDS! – easy ones at least). We watch very little TV at home. Many nights you sing yourself to sleep. You sing Happy Birthday, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, Boom Boom Ain’t it Great to be Crazy, I See the Moon, You are my Sunshine, and many more. When I was pregnant, I started lying down with you at night and scratch your back while I sang to you. We still get to do that sometimes. You even grabbed my wrist to show me how to scratch the other night!

You are rarely jealous of Leighton. You really love him to pieces, regularly commenting “he’s so sweet, in’t he?” or “he’s so cute, in’t he?” You say, “He likes me, doesn’t he?” Or you ask me, “What's he got on so cute?!”

We introduced gum recently, and you are so scared to swallow it that you chew it for all of about 40 seconds and spit it out. “I’m finished!”

You eat a variety of foods, and will try most anything at least once. You don’t have to eat it, but we ask that you try things, and you do. You like steak, and you eat it like mommy. You like the “soft” part of a pork chop, and you love fried chicken. You eat broccoli, carrots, asparagus, and peas well. You love Subway, and they call you “light blue mayonnaise,” because that’s what you want on your sandwich. The sandwich of the moment is bacon, sprinkle cheese, and light blue mayonnaise. “And that’s all.”

You are very independent in ways. You like to get yourself out of the bath. “I’m gon’ get out by myself. Go in yonder please.”

westfield homecoming 092112 (47)_thumbYou’re a little mama.

You got a circus KidSongs DVD for Easter, and it has been all things “happy face” since! You want to be a happy face when you grow up, and you wanted a lion tamer on your birthday cake. We had a fun fun circus party for your birthday this year – you had a blast! Your birthday rivals Easter for your favorite day of the year. And we are so blessed and happy to celebrate you!

Beautiful Fall Saturday

We had a great day today at home. We played outside this morning and rode the ranger to the store to get some groceries. Blair was disappointed that she forgot her purse. She likes to pay :). We grilled hamburgers for lunch, and Blair of course ate a bun with ketchup and mayonnaise. A “hamburger with no sausage. Just ketchup and light blue mayonnaise.”

During naptime, both kids slept, so I took the first nap I’ve taken since Leighton was tiny. It was great. My house is a wreck, but that nap was fabulous.

After nap, we went back outside. Brad called and said the fall festival was tonight at his old school, so we headed over there. Blair won a cake! She had so much fun playing the games. She started off really shy but quickly warmed up to do more of them on her own. Sometimes we see how not having been in school has affected her, but I think she will do fine next year.

Leighton was either quiet or sleeping the whole time, so I got to really focus on Blair which was fun.

fall festival CA 110312 (3)Go fish was her favorite.

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Gotta love a south Georgia Fall Festival – cotton bolls on the tables and sausage dogs on the menu!

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After taking Brad supper on the picker, it was late when we got home. Blair was saying she was tired. She is busy, busy, but she loves her sleep!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Purdy Cotton

This year has been a good year for Brad’s cotton. After last year’s cotton picker fire in the first field he harvested, it was about time! We’ve also had beautiful harvest weather. It’s been fairly dry, so most of the cotton is nice and fluffy. Driving here and there, I’ve actually seen more pretty cotton this year than not!

Here are some pictures of cotton that Brad told me I “had to see”!

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A farmer measures his cotton production in bales per acre. Brad might say, “This is two bale cotton.” A bale is 500 pounds. The rolls the cotton picker makes contain several bales, so he can count the rolls and figure out how many bales per acre he got in one field. When the cotton is ginned, it is put into bales that weigh about 500 pounds.

Pictures do not do cotton justice, but this is some of our best cotton so far. I think they make a lot more out west, but around here two bale cotton is good and three bale cotton is even better – this cotton is closer to the three bale mark! Over the years (you know, I’m still learning!), I’ve  learned to almost guess how good cotton is by looking at it driving by. In higher yield cotton, the field will be a really dense white after defoliation.

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So fluffy and pretty! It’s still hard for me to believe that our t-shirts and jeans are made from something that grows out of a plant!

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This cotton is being picked and rolled as I write this. Brad is running hard ahead of possible rain this weekend. I’m planning to do a post about the new picker soon… stay tuned!