Days with my Pais

I was talking with friends at work the other day about how sassy and funny Paisley is! They mentioned that I needed to be keeping a record of all of the funny things she says! I thought that was a great idea. These days we spent together and funny moments are ones I wish I could remember forever, but life gets busy and I’m worried that one day I won’t be able to remember some of the hilarious things she says and precious memories we’ve shared together. I plan on putting together a weekly recap each week… more for my own record, but if you’re reading this it’s also for your enjoyment & entertainment as well, I guess!

So, here are some fun little things that happened at the end of this past week…

7/8/16:  12-hour shifts are long. They are especially longer for our little girl. She goes to the daycare at my work, so her day starts at 5:30 AM or earlier and then she’s there until 7:30 PM or later.  Today was day 4 in a row, and Paisley was exhausted and let everybody know it. Usually when she wakes up, she’s in the sweetest mood ever and says, “Hi momma, Hi daddy!” But not on day 4….When we turned on her light in the morning she did NOT want to wake up and just kept rubbing her eyes saying “Eyes, momma, my eyes momma.” She kept trying to go back to sleep. When I called to check on her at daycare her teacher told me that she kept saying, “Eyes, eyes.” Her teacher asked Paisley if her eyes hurt and she said, “No.” Then, her teacher said, “Paisley are you sleepy?” And she said, “Mhm, eyes.” Apparently she wouldn’t put her night-night (blanket) down and then went to her cubby saying, “Paci, please.” You know she took a good nap!!

7/9/16: Today, we took Paisley to see The Secret Life of Pets with our friends Taylor and Victoria. As we pulled up to the movie theater, she started yelling, “Dory!!!” Gus and I thought it was hilarious because last time she went to the movie theater with us, she saw Finding Dory and so she was very excited about going back to the movies… we had to explain to her several times that she wasn’t going to see Finding Dory. The movie was really cute, Paisley loved the movie (despite the terrified look on her face in the picture below)…and she especially loved the popcorn.
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Later that night, we went to our favorite little coffee shop. It’s one we’ve been to countless times. This time our good friend Daniel came with us! As we sat at the table, my almost two-year old just smiles and says, “Coffee. Coffee, mom.” I couldn’t believe she said it and then, of course, we all couldn’t stop laughing. Our little coffee lover. She’s a girl after her momma’s own heart.

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No, that’s not coffee in her cup. It’s chocolate milk 🙂 

7/10/16: I work a second job from home. It involves me sitting at my laptop and typing like a madwoman. Today, Paisley got her little toy laptop and crawled up onto the couch and sat down right next to me. She opened up her little laptop, looked at me, and just started “typing” away as fast as her little fingers would go.
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Every day is a new adventure with Paisley. Can’t wait to see what this week has in store!

Paisley Grace: 15 months

I can’t believe our baby girl is 15 months old. (Wait, can I still call her a baby?)
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At 15 months old she:
– FINALLY says “Mama” or sometimes “Mom”… yes, it took her 15 months to say it intentionally but she finally says it and I couldn’t be happier.
– Loves all things involving art. Her favorite thing to do is draw on paper with a pencil, pen, marker, or crayons.
– WALKS!!! She started walking on October 15th! (She was just over 14 months old!) We were so excited.
– Weighs 22 pounds, 4 ounces and is 29.5 inches tall! She’s in the 64th percentile for weight and the 16th percentile for height.
– Is obsessed with animals. She knows what sounds lions, frogs, monkeys, and elephants make and she can recognize each of those animals. She especially loves elephants…they were the first animal she recognized and the first animal she learned how to imitate the sound of (random, I know).
– Has become quite the diva. She knows how to throw a fit and if she doesn’t get her way she let’s you know she’s upset about it. Terrible two’s already?
– Got to spend a lot of time with family in the last couple of months! Several of her aunts and uncles and three of her cousins came to visit her and we had a blast! She got to go to the zoo, the apple orchard, and got to play with her cousins a lot!
– Loves to put her shoes on and walk around the house picking up everyone’s shoes then bringing them to me saying “Shoe, shoe.”
– Absolutely loves books. Her favorite book is currently “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.” Every night when we tell her to bring us a book that’s the one she always picks! She also loves any kind of touch and feel book where the pages have different textures.
– Talks all the time. I mean ALL THE TIME. When she’s not babbling and talking with her hands, she’s saying words and phrases like: I love you (pronounced “eyy-wuv-eww”), puppy, uh-oh, banana (pronounced “Nananana” while sticking her tongue out), dada, mama, baby, thank you, hello, cheese, bye-bye, hi, shoe, ball, and other things we can’t quite make out. It is so cute!
– Loves to sing and dance. She loves music. Her favorite song is currently ABC’s and The Wheels on the Bus (she even does the motions for the wheels turning!)
– Doesn’t use her paci anymore except for at naps and at bedtime! We are so proud of our big girl. She also doesn’t take a bottle at all anymore! Just sippy/straw cups now.
– Got her hair done in pig tails for the first time! It looked so adorable.
– Loves playing outside. Now that she is walking around everywhere she always wants to go play outside and walk around!
– Is wearing 12-18 month clothes and size 4 diapers. (Still…and I feel like she’s been in size 4 diapers forever).
– Got to enjoy a lot of fun fall festivities. She went to a pumpkin patch with mommy, daddy, Aunt Kassidy, and Grandma Sparkles AND got to go trick-or-treating for the first time on Halloween! She loved it. She was dressed as a strawberry. When people would open their doors she would just sit down right outside the front door and everyone thought it was so funny!
– Loves to give hugs, kisses, and high-fives to people! She’s very friendly and likes to wave to everyone she sees when we go out to the store.

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We love you so much, Paisley Grace! Happy 15 months of life, little one!

Paisley Grace: 1 YEAR!

We have a one-year old. That’s just crazy.
This is my favorite age yet. Oh wait, I think I might have I said that before?

At one year, Paisley Grace:
– Talks constantly. Her favorite words are still “Da-da” and “Ba-ba” and recently she’s added quite a few more words into her vocabulary. Some of the recent additions include: Uh-oh, duck, two, dog, hello (pronounced “elll-uh” while she puts any object up to her ear like a phone), SSSSS (that means Aunt Kassidy, duh), and guess what? SHE STILL DOESN’T SAY “MA-MA.” I am just waiting for the day…
– Is down to taking only one nap from about 12-2. She knows when it’s nap time and she usually doesn’t fight it! (She’s like her daddy in regards to her love for napping).
– Still eats very well. She isn’t picky at all and loves her fruits and veggies!
– Loves to dance. Even when there isn’t any music playing. Gus always says she’s dancing to the music in her head! It is so cute to watch!
– Weighs 20 pounds, 12 ounces and is 29 inches long. (Yes, she is pretty short for her age).
– Hasn’t stood or taken any steps yet on her own but she’s always standing with help and scooting her way along the furniture!
– Gives the cutest kisses.
– Waves “bye-bye” and “hi” all the time. Even to all of the strangers in the grocery store.
– Is the biggest morning person. She wakes up in the happiest mood with a beautiful smile on her face!
– Isn’t much of a cuddler anymore. She basically will only cuddle when she first wakes up from her nap and when she takes a bottle.
– Had two really fun birthday parties in Florida with family & friends! She had a blast and especially loved the cake!
– Loves going on walks, petting animals, hanging out with other kids at the library, gymnastics, and anything that involves music & singing!
– Is wearing 9-12 month clothes. 12 month pants are super long on her but we make it work!
– Knows some sign language! She knows the signs for all-done, please, sleep and more. She’s working on learning more signs. She’s such a smart little girl and it is fun to watch her communicate with us in that way!
– Had a really rough week of being sick right after her birthday. With sickness came a grumpy, grumpy girl who threw tantrums and was a big challenge for mommy. Thankfully, after a few miserable days, she is back to her happy, healthy, easygoing self!
– Starts going to her new daycare next week. She’s excited. Mommy is nervous. I’m sure she will do great, though! She’s a very adaptable little girl.
– Loves, loves, loves her daddy. It is really sweet to watch those two interact together! Melts. my. heart.
– Is SUCH a blessing to us (yes, even on the difficult days). She brings so much laughter and joy into our home and we cannot imagine our lives without her.

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Happy 12 months of life, little one.

We love you to the moon & back!

A Summer to Remember

This summer has been beyond wonderful – and we haven’t even gotten through my favorite month yet! When I found out I had the opportunity to stay home with Paisley this summer and wait to start my job until September, I was so excited! I knew we were bound to have a great time together, and we definitely have!

Being home with Paisley has been awesome and I am so thankful I was able to have this special time with her. Watching her learn, grow, and change is something I am amazed at every day. Spending all of this extra time with her has been my favorite part of this summer and I know things won’t be the same once September rolls around.

In addition to spending extra time with my little girl & sweet husband, there is another big reason this summer has been so great – we have had LOTS of visits with LOTS of people we love from Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Charleston, Columbia, Michigan, & Myrtle Beach!

This summer began with my college graduation…so, I guess you can say it started out on a pretty good foot. My mom, dad and sister along with my grandma and Jacqui came to town for my pinning ceremony & graduation! My Uncle Todd & Aunt Christine drove all the way from New Jersey to be there for my graduation and to spend time with us! We had a great time together and I am so grateful they were all able to come visit and spend time with us.

In June, my mom came back into town for a week while I studied & took my state boards. I took my test on June 15th and found out that I passed on June 17th! It was so helpful to have my mom here (she’s always a huge help) and we loved spending extra time with her. The following weekend, Holley, Dave, and their kids came to visit us for a couple of days! After that, we had a really nice visit from Becky & Al and their adorable doggies!

In July, we got to go to Myrtle Beach and spent 4th of July weekend with the Tally family from New Jersey! They were so kind to open up their own family vacation to us and have us there for the weekend. We also got to spend time with John, Marie, and baby Emma in Columbia on our way to Myrtle beach & back. When we got back, Rena came into town for a sleepover! Next, our cousin, Rachel, came all the way from Michigan for a wedding and stayed with us so we got to spend extra time with her! After that, we were invited to spend the weekend in Tallahassee at Jake and Heidi’s house with them, their kiddos, Jake & Ann, and their kids! Then, when we got back into town, the Bond family came to visit from NJ on their way to Florida for their family vacation! To top it all off, Grandma Deb & Papa Pokey came to visit us for a couple of days this week on their way home from their month-long vacation! On Thursday, our little family of three is flying to Florida for 10 days of family time where we will get to see even more family and friends we love!

Whew – we sure have been busy and we’ve loved every second of it!!! As I think back on all of these fun visits and fun times over the summer, my heart is just so full of gratefulness. Living away from family is really hard sometimes, and thankfully the Lord has been so good to us to provide lots of great friends who live in the area who have become like family to us! To also know that we have family & friends who love us and take the time to come visit us or invite us to spend vacations with them means the world!! We have truly been blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people we love. I am so thankful to each and every person who came to visit with us this summer and to those who opened up their own homes to us. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.We made so many special memories. This has definitely been a summer to remember.

“Holding Your Tongue” Isn’t Enough

Gossip: I hate it. I also really struggle with it. (Maybe you do too, I don’t know). What I do know is that for me, personally, it’s something I’ve participated in way too many times and it is a specific area of my life that God has been showing me really needs to change. For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard gossiping being excused away as something that “all girls just do.” I’ve commonly witnessed (and even been guilty of) someone being negatively talked about in a conversation and tacked onto the end of all the negativity is, “All that to say, just pray for ______, they’re really struggling.” That’s terrible, I know. It doesn’t reflect our Savior and it doesn’t bring any glory to God. It seems like every time I’m faced with the fact that my gossiping needs to stop, a new opportunity for me to gossip or talk negatively about someone rears its ugly head and I’m right back where I found myself too many times before. I want to bring glory to God and gossiping is definitely not a way to do that. I also want to be a good, Godly example to my daughter and I do not want her to hear her mommy speaking negatively about other people, who are made in God’s perfect image. It’s discouraging and disappointing when I fail at my attempts to stop talking negatively about someone. But that’s just it – they are MY attempts….my imperfect, human attempts.
Recently, I did a devotional that completely changed my perspective on this subject. I have been going through the She Reads Truth Women In The World: Old Testament Bible study. It has been so eye-opening for me and challenging to my life in a number of ways. On June 12th, I read Day 12 of this specific Bible study and God started working in my heart about specific changes that needed to happen. That day, I prayed that God would help me to not say anything negative when faced with the opportunity to gossip. Sounds easy enough, right? WRONG. First of all, many of those attempts failed. I found myself giving into temptations more often than resisting them. It was discouraging to say the least. Secondly, the truth is that I didn’t fully understand the need for a heart change. I simply prayed that I wouldn’t say anything negative. So if a group of my friends are talking negatively about someone and I don’t say anything, yet in my heart I’m only thinking negatively towards someone – does that make it wrong? ABSOLUTELY. That concept changed everything for me.

Today, I went back and read that same devotional again. This time, I ended not with a prayer that God would help me to refrain from saying negative things, but instead that God would change my heart. It isn’t enough to simply hold my tongue when I have a heart full of negativity. God knows the true intents of my heart. Even if I’m “holding my tongue” and not verbally participating in gossip, if in my heart I am feeling negative towards someone or thinking negative thoughts about them, God knows. He knows the depths of my heart and in fact, the Bible tells us that God actually searches the heart! (Jeremiah 17:10). Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” This verse really struck home with me because both the concepts of our words AND our hearts are mentioned and should be pleasing to God. I don’t know about you, but that really put things into perspective for me. When we have a heart change – a true, genuine heart change that only comes from God – we can glorify Him with our words as well. Now, that’s not to say we won’t fall or struggle, because we will. That’s the Christian life… and that’s the beauty of His GRACE.

“Change my heart, O God.
Make it ever true.
Change my heart, O God;
May I be like You.”
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How Clubfoot treatment can be FUN!

What? How can clubfoot treatment be fun!?
I’m writing this blog post for the expecting parents who may have recently found out that their baby will be born with clubfoot. I know how scared you feel and how worried you must be for your baby. I’ve been there. (You can read about our experience here). My daughter was born with bilateral clubfoot and we are currently in the 12-hour wear phase of our treatment. It is definitely a long, hard road at times – If I didn’t mention that aspect of the treatment I think I’d be lying. At the same time, like any situation, it is so important to find the good aspects of a difficult time.
Let me start by saying that thanks to medical advances and incredible doctors (specifically, those who have been trained in the Ponseti method) our clubfoot babies can receive excellent and extremely successful treatment. That being said, I want to encourage you by telling you some of the good things you may experience during your child’s clubfoot journey!

1. Your baby will most likely want lots of extra cuddles and snuggles after cast changes. Yes, it is difficult to see them uncomfortable and fussy, but those extra cuddles and lots of loving will mean so much to you as parents.
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2. You will have the opportunity to meet lots of other clubfoot moms, dads, and babies who have gone through what you’re going through! It is so good to know that you’re not alone and talk to other parents about the journey if you have questions or concerns. I have met several parents of babies with clubfoot and this journey would be a lot more difficult without them!

3. You can dress up the casts and make them fun! (Yes, even for boys!!) We used cute little leg warmers, coband wrap, and cute socks to dress the casts up. Before my daughter was born, I was so worried that people would stare and ask me questions about her casts. Well, they did – but instead of being embarrassed or ashamed, I would happily tell them about my daughter’s condition and use the opportunity to spread clubfoot awareness. We rarely (if ever) encountered people who were rude about my daughter wearing casts on her legs. No one thought she fell down the stairs or that I did something wrong (irrational as it sounds, those were some of my fears). People were, for the most part, genuinely curious and had very kind responses.
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4. You will be so proud of every single milestone your clubfoot baby reaches. Yes, every mom is beyond proud of their child for meeting milestones like rolling over, crawling, walking, etc!! There is just something extra special about the clubfoot baby who has overcome so much in their young life in order to make progress. Our daughter is crawling EVERYWHERE now and we are so very proud.

5. You can make up cute little songs and rhymes for the “bedtime shoes” when you get down to the 12-hour wear phase – and you WILL get there. It may seem like it is forever away at times but you’ll get there. I was very worried that our daughter would hate having her feet confined to the boots and bar at night but she doesn’t know any different! She knows it is just part of her bedtime routine and she does wonderful with them!

6. Your clubfoot baby may make you laugh a lot by some of the hilarious positions they learn to sleep in. Imagine if you had to sleep with special shoes on and a bar connecting those shoes. Sounds uncomfortable, right? Well, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the clubfoot kiddos! Our daughter sleeps in some of the most hilarious positions and somehow, she finds it comfortable with her boots and bar. It makes us laugh every time!
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7. You will have the opportunity to meet and get to know some incredible doctors, nurses, and cast techs along your journey! We absolutely love going to Shriner’s and getting to see Dr. Gibson and Stephanie! We are so thankful for everything they’ve done to help our daughter through treatment!

8. You will look back at pictures of your baby’s feet before their treatment began and you will be overwhelmed with happiness for the progress you’ve seen! (Also – make sure you take before pictures, you will be glad you did). These babies are so tough and resilient. It is incredible.
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Imagine your clubfoot baby running around one day on their perfect feet! The clubfoot journey is difficult and seems impossible at times, but it will be so worth it!!

Paisley Grace: 11 months

Well, this month’s milestone is an exceptionally hard one for me. (Maybe other parents can relate?)
11 months. Wow. Only one more month until our sweet little baby is a year old!
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At 11 months old she:
– Is such a content, happy little girl. She smiles and laughs a lot! She also makes the most hilarious faces.
– Has 12 teeth! And she sure likes to show them off, too! She cut two of her bottom molars at the same time. Let’s just say we had one pretty rough week.
– Had a special visit from her Aunt Holley, Uncle Dave, and her cousins! She had a blast with everyone and especially loved playing with all of the kids.
– Loves to dance. As soon as she hears music or if we sing she starts to smile and dance and it is just so cute!
– Has started to talk A LOT more than she ever has before. She just loves to babble and she’s even started using her hands to gesture when she talks. I love it!
– Had her first beach day! (Yes, we got into the ocean despite all of the recent shark attacks – don’t worry, we survived and had a blast). We all got to spend a wonderful family weekend together with her Great Uncle Brian, Great Aunt Jenn, and her cousins on vacation at Myrtle Beach for the 4th of July!
– Doesn’t like diaper changes. At all. They are a daily struggle.
– Has gotten very comfortable walking around the furniture. I love seeing her take baby steps with her little feet. I know I sound crazy but it makes me very proud of her!
– Wears her beautiful silver bracelet from her grandma Deb every day. She doesn’t even try to take it off anymore!
– FINALLY got to meet her little friend, Emma (whose mommy was my roommate freshman year)! We got to spend time with baby Emma and her wonderful parents on the way to and from Myrtle Beach. Emma and Paisley are only 3 months apart and they played so well together! It was a great visit with people we love.
– Got her first boo-boo on her head. She was crawling around and bumped her head on the coffee table. (Hence the bruise on her head in her 11-month photos). She only cried for a few seconds and then went right back to playing. She’s a tough cookie.
– Loves playing with all of her stuffed animals. She talks to them and has just recently started giving them kisses!
– Enjoyed a fun visit from Becky & Al – and their puppy dogs, too! We had a great time with them and found out that Paisley Grace absolutely loves dogs! She constantly wanted to play with them.
– Loves all things related to the water: baths, pool time, the beach, washing her hands. It’s adorable.
– Has loved spending the summer with her mommy!! And we recently found out that we will get to spend ALL summer together until I start my job in September! This is a huge answer to prayer.
– Loves to FaceTime her grandparents and Aunt Kassidy. She lights up as soon as the video screen comes on!
– Has a newfound love for books. She loves flipping through the pages of her books and just sits there with her little ankles crossed as she “reads” them!
– Is so beautiful and is growing up way too fast!

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Being your mommy is one of my favorite things in the whole world.
Happy 11 months of life, little one!
We love you to the moon and back.