I have decided to close out this blog and start a new family-oriented one. I will be archiving my favorite posts in a book using www.blurb.com, but I will not be posting new entries on this site. Here's a link to my new blog:
Thursday, July 5, 2012
I have decided to close out this blog and start a new family-oriented one. I will be archiving my favorite posts in a book using www.blurb.com, but I will not be posting new entries on this site. Here's a link to my new blog:
Monday, June 4, 2012
Our busy, busy one year old is so much fun! And so exhausting! But the good kind of exhausting where you know what you've been running around and doing all day is important. Here's what our little guy is up to these days:
-Weight: 19 lbs, 4 oz (10th percentile)
-Height: 29 1/2 in (50th percentile) - his height and weight percentiles have been the same since he was about 2 months old.
-We are in the process of weaning. He is loving his whole milk! He's a little fussier and clingier since starting to wean, but he's taking the milk really well. He's eating 3 main solid food meals a day with at least 2 snacks.
-He is VERY mobile! He cruises on everything. He can go back and forth between the couch and coffee table easily. He loves to hold onto our hands and walk around. He has a walking toy that he takes all over this big cottage! He has let go and stood on his own a couple of times, so walking on his own isn't far off.
-He says "dada" and "mama" but so far that is it on his words. We have worked on sign language for "more," "all done," "milk," and "please." He occasionally uses the first three, but hasn't learned to use "please" yet. However, he recognizes all of them, so if I sign them I can tell by his reaction if I'm understanding what he wants.
-He babbles ALL THE TIME! It's obvious that he knows what he is saying, so we have many conversations. Apparently, he also likes to tell jokes, cause he will talk and talk and then burst out laughing. It is precious!
-He typically sleeps 11 to 12 hours at night though he's had a little trouble with this recently. I think my milk quality has decreased, so as he gets more whole milk we are seeing better sleep patterns!
-He needs two naps a day: morning and afternoon. But, that doesn't always happen. His nap schedule has just been off recently. I'm hoping as we finish weaning and settle into a different eating plan that he will develop a really good nap schedule too.
-He LOVES to read! He has favorite books and prefers to only read those most of the time. He will turn the pages for us. He also will sit by himself with his books and "read" them to himself!
-He is such a happy boy 95% of the time! He LOVES Bible class at church. He likes to wave at everyone he sees when we are out in public. He is definitely our child!
What a fun phase this is! He keeps us on our toes, that's for sure. But, we love watching his personality emerge more and more everyday!
Sunday, June 3, 2012
At the end of June, Taylor and I will have reached a whopping 3 1/2 years of marriage. In that time we have each changed jobs at least twice, moved twice, and had a baby. Needless to say, our life is not dull. Each of these changes in our life together we feel has been led by the Lord. And, this next one is no different.
Monday, May 28, 2012
One year ago:
Today at his Dr. Seuss First Birthday Party!
What a precious gift from God!!! More updates on my big one year old after his check up tomorrow!
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Here's a couple of recent videos of Carter. The first was at the park today. He LOVES to swing! The second one shows that our son may likely be a preacher though you will notice at the end he may have to watch closely for the edge of the stage. :)
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
We went to the orthotist today for Carter's next round of head measurements. We have been on this journey since February 2nd. When we first went in, Carter had a 17 mm difference between two measurements that needed to be corrected. Here's a look at his head before we had the helmet:
Today Carter is only measuring a 9 mm difference which means his head has rounded out by 8 mm!!! We asked about how much longer we needed to continue. She said that at this point it is really up to us. His head will not get any worse. As he grows it may even continue to naturally round out through his 2nd and 3rd years. His ears are closer to symmetrical now, so concerns about glasses fitting in the future are no longer applicable. Also, he shouldn't have any trouble getting hats to fit either. Our major concern about stopping too soon was whether or not his forehead would start bulging again. When we started this process, Carter was beginning to show signs of a forehead deformity because that was the only direction his brain could find to grow. That is no longer an issue, and since his head will stay as it is or get better then we do not have to worry about that either. In the end, she left it up to us. We left the clinic and talked a little bit. We are ready to be done!! As it gets warmer he's getting sweat rashes where the helmet touches, and when that happens we have to take it off until it gets better. His growth spurts are likely to slow down quite a bit since he will be one next week, so that will make his progress slower. Taking all of this into consideration we decided we were ready to call it quits. We were ready to see our sweet baby's head without the helmet and SO ready to cuddle without all that plastic in the way! Here's some similar shots of his "new," rounder head:
We are SO thankful for our orthotist that took us through this process. She was fabulous, and Carter loved her! It was nice to have extra protection on his head as he learned to crawl and pull up. There may be extra bumps and tears now, but he's also gained a lot more strength and balance during this time so that will help a lot! And, no matter how his head looked/looks he will always be my perfect little gift from God!
Here's a silly shot for the fun of it!
I've been spending a lot of time recently reading books about parenting, marriage, and being a woman of God. I know there are some out there that will laugh at my desire to read so many books about parenting right now while I have my first. I definitely do not believe that reading books about parenting (or marriage, etc.) will make me a perfect parent. What I know about myself however, is that what I read helps keep my thoughts on the intentionality with which I long to parent. It's the same with reading the Bible. The more I read the Bible, the more likely I am to have His word at the forefront of my mind. It's that whole idea of good-stuff-in-good-stuff-out. Having said all that, I am reading an incredible book right now. It's called Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham. There are things that I don't necessarily agree with, but what an amazing book that is speaking into the need for families to be the basis of Christian development in children not the church. I'm still working through it, but here's a quote I read recently that perfectly captures how Taylor and I desire to view our job as parents:
"Is it wrong to want good things for your children? Not necessarily. Unless in our effort to attain 'the best for our children' we ignore their God-given gifts, talents, abilities, and passions. The key is to understand that our children don't belong to us - they belong to God. Our goal as parents must not be limited by our own vision. I am a finite, sinful, selfish man. Why would I want to plan out my children's future when I can entrust them to the infinite, omnipotent, immutable, sovereign Lord of the universe? I don't want to tell God what to do with my children - I want Him to tell me! When I allow my will to take precedence over God's will, I have not only given way to a rival - I have become one."
Thursday, May 17, 2012
DISCLAIMER: I typed this up to show the song in a poem style, but somehow it's coming out all crammed together on the blog. I don't know why, and I couldn't fix it. I apologize. Hope you enjoy anyway! Several weeks ago I discovered a wonderful Pandora music station called Praise Baby. I had seen Praise Baby CD collections at Christian book stores, but it was so much fun to create this Pandora station. It plays all kinds of Christian music for kids, but it's not so kiddy that I get tired of it as an adult. In fact, there are times when I listen to it even when Carter isn't with me. It was while listening to this station on Pandora that I first heard Laura Story's song Blessings. What an incredible song!!! It is just so fitting to the season we are in and the lessons I have learned since coming to Albuquerque. It's my favorite song right now. If you haven't heard it or haven't paid very closely to the words, here they are: "We pray for blessings. We pray for peace. Comfort for family, Protection while we sleep. We pray for healing For prosperity We pray for your mighty hand to ease our suffering. But all the while, you hear each spoken need Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things. Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near? What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise? We pray for wisdom Your voice to hear We cry in anger when we cannot feel you near. We doubt your goodness. We doubt your love. As if every promise from Your Word is not enough. And all the while, you hear each desperate plea And long that we'd have faith to believe. Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near? What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise? When friends betray us When darkness seems to win We know that pain reminds this heart That this is not, this is not our home! It's not our home! Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near? What if my greatest disappointments, Or the aching of this life, Is the revealing of a greater thirst This world can't satisfy? What if trials of this life The rain, the storms, the hardest nights, Are Your mercies in disguise?"
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Wow! It is SO hard to find time to blog and be a houseparent at the same time. It can also be hard to figure out what to blog about. I have to keep much confidential; so blogging about what is going on with us, how it's effecting us, and the lessons we have learned can be really hard without breaking confidentiality. I have recently been thinking about doing a post about the lessons I have learned during this season of our life, but it is still in process in my head for the time being.
This post is just a simple catch up on Carter. He is growing so fast. He started officially crawling a couple of weeks ago, and can now get anywhere he wants. He can cruise some if we stand him up by the couch, coffee table, etc. He has begun trying to pull himself up to stand up and cruise. He can make it to his knees but hasn't figured out the rest yet. Carter is showing that he is going to be quite a curious little learner. Though this is going to bring discipline with it as we set boundaries, it is so fun to watch him try new things, problem solve, and learn. My little man is so much fun! He loves to smile, laugh, "talk," and sing. He is laid-back most of the time and is very flexible. He has the best little personality for what we are doing right now because he can be independent and is so laid-back. We are so thankful for him!
Here's some pictures from Easter:
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Carter is 5 days shy of 9 months old today, and we went to the doctor for his 9 month well visit. Can I just say that my kid is a trooper? He is easy to take along out in public about 90% of the time. I know that is not the case with every kid, so I'm thankful that right now our son is this way. It sure makes having an infant and 4 teenagers a little easier because he's so easy going! (Side note for those that follow us closely: yes, we are now at 4 teenagers instead of 5. It's been that way for 3 weeks.)
So, here's what's up with Carter Ashton at 9 months:
-Weight: 17 lbs, 1 oz (10%ile)
-Height: 28 1/4 in (50%ile) - his percentiles have been the same since his 2 month visit, so though his weight is on the lower end, it's consistent with his own growth curve so there is no concern on the doctor's part or mine. He's shaping up to be a tall and skinny kid like his parents were.
-Head circumference: 17 3/4 (I think this is what she said)
-He got a clean bill of health from the doctor. She still wants us to continue using his current multivitamin until he goes on whole milk at a year old. We are mostly using the multivitamin right now because of common deficiencies in breast milk. She commented that his head looked slightly better than it did at his 6 month visit. It's only been 3 weeks with the helmet, so there is still lots of time for improvement.
-He nurses 5-6 times a day and gets solid food 3 times a day plus random snacks. His portion sizes are slowly increasing, and I suspect will increase even more as he becomes more mobile. My goal for nursing is a year old.
-He has only refused two foods so far: spinach and chicken-both pureed at home.
-His favorite foods seem to be oatmeal, squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, and apples and pears (mixed)
-I am still making all of his food. It is very easy and saves us a lot of money. I've been following the guidelines in the book Super Baby Food. It has been great these last few months as Carter began solid food. I still love the book for ideas and baby food preparation, but I'm beginning to rely less heavily on it for portion sizes and what types of food to introduce. Carter does not eat as much as she recommends, but he eats as much as he needs to. I'm taking my cues from him on portion size. Also, I'm ready to start giving him little bits of whatever we are eating mostly for simplicity sake. I want to keep his diet well-rounded so that he experiences many different tastes, but I also want it to be simple to feed him. He's far from ready to be 100% on table food, but I am ready to begin introducing more than just his little Gerber puffs. :)
-He babbles constantly. We think he is getting closer to "mama" and "dada" but not there yet.
-I'm introducing sign language regularly now to hopefully keep frustration away as he begins to want to communicate more clearly. I am regularly using "more," "please," "mama," "all gone" and "milk."
-Since starting him on solid food at 5 months I have been offering water in a sippy. He knows how to drink it, but usually doesn't. However, he LOVES to drink water from mommy or daddy's straws at a restaurant.
- He is mostly mobile. He can roll and stretch to reach things he wants. He can lay on his tummy and push himself backwards with his arms or spin himself around in a circle with his arms. He will get up on his hands and knees and rock back and forth. But, he is not crawling yet. If he's sitting with you in a chair that has arms he will scoot to the edge of your lap and pull up on the arm of the chair. He also loves to stand up and only be holding onto your hands. I'm starting to notice some frustration in not getting to where he wants to be so I'm hoping that will begin to push him to try some more. He's so content with just a few things that if he sees something he wants but can't get to it and has something else nearby he will just give up. :) He'll crawl when he really wants to.
-He can now clap and wave.
-He is beginning to give big, wide, open-mouthed kisses!
-He LOVES to take a bath and splash or play with his toys in the tub.
-He loves to read. He has a couple favorite books already. If he does not want you to read anymore he will close the book for you. If you begin to turn the page and he wants to keep reading, he will turn the page the rest of the way for you as well.
-He loves music of all kinds. He knows how to turn on the music on each of his toys that have sounds. He will usually clap after he turns it on. Sometimes he will turn on the music on one toy and then play with something else. If you turn the music off, he will very likely turn it back on and go back to the toy he was playing with. I guess he likes background music.
-He thinks Rori is very funny! He will giggle at her for no reason, and he will laugh hysterically when she plays with us. He has figured out how to grab onto her though so she gets as close as she can to protect him while staying out of his reach. She's really going to be in for it when he decides to crawl!
-He got his first two teeth last week. I still haven't managed to get a good picture. He likes to keep them covered up by his lip or tongue.
-He is very much in the mommy-attachment, separation anxiety stage that comes between 7-9 months. He wants me in the same room with him and often wants me sitting next to him or holding him while he plays. This is worse after 4:00 in the afternoon. This can be a draining phase of life, and it's important to teach him it's okay to be with someone else for a few minutes. However, it is so endearing, and I'm soaking it up while it lasts. He won't always have this same attachment to me, so while teaching into it I'm also treasuring it greatly!
-Many people ask how he does with the big kids and vice versa. They have a great relationship. He knows them all very well now and is very enthusiastic when they come into the room. Now that he's playing so much more than he did when we first got here, they will get down and play on the floor with him sometimes. They are very gentle and cautious with him.
I have to say that this stage is so much fun! It is going so quickly and there are things that I already miss. But, with each thing that passes something else happens that is just if not more fun than the previous stage. Carter has always had a little personality, but a whole new, fun, bubble personality seems to be pouring forth from him since about 8 months old. He is so much fun!!!
Here's some recent pictures of our wonderful little boy!
Thursday, February 9, 2012
When we went to Dallas a few weeks ago we stopped in Lubbock coming and going. Taylor's parents just moved there so it's an easy stop between ABQ and DFW, and it's a chance for Carter to have some good time with Bibi and Pops. We did a belated Christmas celebration with them while we were there. Also, Pops got to go show Carter off at his office at LCU. Here's some pictures:
Thursday, January 26, 2012
We went to see the Orthotist today for Carter's Plagiocephaly. I just have to say that I am a nerd, and I found the entire thing utterly fascinating!! :) I'm also extremely thankful for the clinic we chose to go to. The people are wonderful and the CPO (Certified Prosthetist Orthotist) was amazing. She was fun, very personable, very knowledgeable, and explained herself clearly. She was wonderful in her interactions with Carter, and that's always important to a mama!
She explained that when an area of the skull is malformed (the flat side of the back of his head) then the brain has to find another area to grow. This is what is causing the beginnings of a bulge on his forehead-his brain doesn't have any room in the back so it's growing where it has room. The wonderful thing about the way God created babies? His brain does have room to grow!!!! Even if it's making his skull misshapen, there is absolutely nothing wrong with his brain!!! (We already knew this, but I was just struck by God's awesomeness of creation as she explained how the skull and brain work at this point in development). The helmet is considered a passive intervention. It is not actually pushing on his head. It will basically only allow his skull to grow in certain directions. So, the area that is flat right now won't actually be touching the inside of the helmet. The helmet will put pressure in other areas so that as his brain grows the flatter areas will have to grow. This is the reason why this intervention only works before 18 months of age--their skull plates have to still be unfused (if that's a word) so that everything can easily move without creating any issues for brain development. Carter is still in a perfect timeframe for intervention.
She took several measurements of Carter's head. Two of the measurements she said that if he had a perfectly round head there would be a 0 mm difference. Carter has a 17 mm difference between these two measurements. Then she told us about a ratio on a different set of measurements. The ratio should be 80%. Carter's was at 93%. (I know I'm not being very technical. I'd have to actually show you on his head where these measurements are, but I think you still get an idea). She classified Carter's Plagiocephaly as severe. She said that if we did nothing that over the next 10 months some change would naturally occur. The flat part of his head would round out some, but that it will not naturally completely correct itself because of the level of severity. She did affirm that it is still a decision up to us. It won't hurt anything to not put a helmet on him. His brain will still grow and develop just fine continuing to make room for itself as it needs to. She commented that if we did nothing the Plagiocephaly could impact how a hat fits in the future as well as glasses if he should need those. She said that women can more easily disguise this issue because of long hair, but that men usually have shorter hair and can go bald so his head shape can potentially be easily noticeable throughout his life. Anyway, all that to say that we in no way have to correct the problem, but it could still impact things in his future. All of this confirmed our decision to go forward with a helmet.
She took some really cool 3D images of Carter's head to send off to the company that makes the helmets. We go in a week to have it fitted and bring it home. We will spend a week breaking it in and working him up to 23 hours a day. She compared this to wearing a new pair of shoes. If he immediately went to 23 hours a day, he could get pressure sores on his head. They will send us with specific instructions for this next week.
We felt very good about today's appointment. We loved her, and feel very comfortable and confident in working with her and her clinic for the next 3-4 months. We are thankful for the Lord's guidance in this process and thankful for an easy going baby that thought today's appointment was just another fun thing in his life. :) We are praying for a smooth transition into the helmet and that he won't even know it's there!
I'll update again next week with how his first fitting went and post pictures as well! I'm sure he will still be the most adorable little boy that exists!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
...is a big word for flat head. Carter saw a neurosurgeon today for a consultation regarding the flattened right side of his head. Many people have told us they have not noticed his head is misshapen. It is very hard to see from the front. From the back and right side you can tell that he has a significant portion of his head that is flatter than the rest. When looking from the top down you can see that his ears are significantly off center. If you look very closely you can notice that the right side of his forehead slightly protrudes farther forward from the left.
The doctor did let us know it's simply a cosmetic concern, not a medical concern. He did say that the "deformity" was significant enough for him to recommend intervening. He said we could wait and it might correct itself over time, but eventually Carter will reach a point when it will be un-fixable. Right now the plates on his head are still far enough apart to allow a helmet to quickly, easily, and painlessly correct the problem. Once the plates fuse it will not be repairable. Taylor and I decided that because it is a noticeable issue we felt it is important to go ahead and intervene even though it is simply a cosmetic concern.
The neurosurgeon wrote us a referral for an orthotics clinic that will do the measurements, ordering, and fitting of his helmet. We go on Thursday at 1:45 for his initial cranial measurements. This same clinic will do all of his fittings and adjustments. We will go back to the neurosurgeon in 3 months for a follow up. He predicted that it should be corrected by then. It is a little difficult to exactly pinpoint the timeline because a lot of it is based on Carter's growth.
So, that is our update on our sweet little boy and his head. I will continue to update as this journey continues! Now, it's time for me to get online and order him some precious decals for his new helmet!
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I don't like making resolutions. There is a part of my personality that can easily feel guilty if I do not accomplish my goals. It's a flaw that I have to work through. But, I do like the fresh start feeling of a new year. There are several things that I have been reflecting on recently that I have started to change and want to continue as we head into the New Year.
1) I've been a part of Bible Study Fellowship this year. We are studying the book of Acts. It has been incredibly challenging to my spiritual life-in a good way. I have been especially challenged in my prayer life. I want to continue to be convicted and challenged in making prayer a TOP priority in my day, all day as I go about regular life. I want prayer to be the first thing I turn to with every emotion that arises. Before I talk to anyone else, ask opinions or advice, I want to pray. Why is this so hard?
2) Having a large house with many kids has challenged this organized-clean freak. I've been learning lessons in letting things go in order to invest more time into the kids, but I also want to live in a clean, organized environment. I feel calmer and more at home when the house is that way. The problem is that when I look at a plan to re-organize or clean I get overwhelmed with everything needing to be done right away (or at least that's what I think). I found this website on Pinterest:
I've signed up for the weekly organization projects. I'm thrilled to feel like I'm going to make progress in making our home most functional, but LOVE that I will be doing it little by little without taking too much time from family time.
3) I need a creative outlet. Pinterest has helped me find new things and fun projects to help with this. I would like to find 2 or 3 projects a month to give me a creative outlet. It will depend on cost and time commitment, but we'll see what happens.
4) I have a friend that is also a new houseparent at a children's home in Texas. She mentioned in a blog post about journaling with some of her girls. I thought-what a great idea! I would like to start co-journaling with my girls. I'm interested to see if this will open some dialogue that either a) they wouldn't just talk about face to face or b) it's hard to find time to talk about when there are a million other things going on in our house. I'm hoping to start this immediately. I'm prayerful and hopeful for the results.
5) I am wanting to find new ways to encourage and uplift my husband. Entering parenthood and becoming houseparents at the same time has challenged our marriage in new ways. We have had countless conversations since coming here about how to improve communication. Last week we had a conversation about how our love languages have changed since becoming parents. When we got married Taylor and I both committed to each other to continue studying the other person so that we could best know how to love the other. I want to make a renewed effort to make this a priority and not let the busyness of parenthood drown out our marriage.
6) I don't want to be a frumpy mom. I don't need to dress up every day, but I want to at least feel cute. I want to commit to dress in something other than sweats most days of the week. When I take the time to do this, I remember that I am a woman and wife, not just a busy mom. I definitely don't want to be caught up in vanity and materialism, but I want to embrace the way God has made me at this point in my life. I want to take care of and flatter the body I have now as a mom. I want to have energy to be an active mom that enjoys being a part of this busy part of life called parenthood.
I could probably go on and on, but these are the things that have been most in my thoughts the last few days and weeks. Most importantly in 2012, I want God to be at the center of every day-every thought, every action, every emotion, etc.
Monday, January 2, 2012
We had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas with Carter for the first time. Christmas weekend was also spent with 3 of our foster kids. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my parents house during the day. The day after Christmas our kids went on relief, and it was time to do Christmas with my family. Carter actually got really excited about pulling paper off of packages. I really didn't think he would have any interest this year, but he enjoyed the wrapping paper. Carter got some really fun stuff for Christmas this year-both toys and practical things that he needed. He's had fun playing with his new toys a little at a time. Taylor and I discovered that we were more excited about opening Carter's presents and playing with his new toys with him than we were our own presents. :)
A few days after Christmas our sweet boy reached 7 months old. Where has the time gone? He's really growing up so fast! Here's some stats and new info:
-Weight - approximately 16 lbs (I weighed him on my parent's scale while holding him so it's not accurate)
-Nursing 5 times a day
-Eating solid foods 3 times a day
-His food list is increasing: he has added green beans, carrots, broccoli, yogurt, and oatmeal since my last update. He has not refused any foods yet, though he does not like his yogurt cold. He prefers it at room temperature.
-He's been able to roll over both directions for a few months now but has just recently started rolling to get somewhere. When on his tummy he pushes up all the way on his arms. It won't be long until he figures out he can pull his knees up.
And, of course, pictures:
I made salted dough ornaments for Carter's grandparents and great-grandparents. It was also his first Christmas ornament for our tree.
Christmas morning at church
Opening his first present
Daddy and Carter got matching cowboy slippers
Second Christmas morning