Top Five Friday: The Hightlights of our Week!

5. Finger painting one evening after dinner!

4. Time with friends!
Derek has been on night float for the last two weeks, so the evenings can get pretty quiet/lonely around here once Shelby is in bed. My sweet friend Angela came over Wednesday evening to keep me company, and we ended up chit-chatting until one in the morning! Then on Thursday evening I had a phone date with my best friend from my teaching days in Virginia, Sarah. Of course, our phone calls are never short. ;)  So Thursday ended up being a late night for me, too! By today, the late nights have definitely caught up with me...but it was so worth it! I am so thankful for these friends.

3. A Good Report
Since Shelby was referred for Early Intervention at her 15 month check-up with the pediatrician, we had been meeting with her "service coordinator" once a week to work on language/verbal skills and to keep an eye on the other areas of her development. After Shelby's informal evaluation back in April or May, we graduated to only meeting once a month. {You can see that post HERE.} Well, Shelby's service coordinator came for our June visit this past Wednesday, and Shelby is now at 24 months or higher in ALL areas of development! YAY! So not only are we all caught up, but we are ahead of the game! Such a wonderful feeling! We are SO proud of Shelby! While her service coordinator was here on Wednesday, Shelby randomly performed her ABC's and counted to ten. Miss Melissa quickly turned to me and said "You know an almost two year-old should not be able to do that yet, right?" :)

2. Bop's "Cupcretes"
Bop's is a local frozen custard place we have here in Biloxi that we absolutely LOVE. We went to Bop's one night this week and instead of ordering our usual concrete, we decided to try their "cupcretes," which is their rendition of an ice cream cupcake. I have only had ice cream cupcakes from Cold Stone in the past, and Bop's cupcretes TOTALLY blew them out of the water! They were seriously to die for!

1. Anniversary Date Night!
Tomorrow marks five years of marriage for us, and tomorrow also brings the end of night float for my sweet hubby--so we are CELEBRATING! Derek & I have a date night scheduled for tomorrow evening, and we are so excited! We have been looking forward to this all week long!


Wordless Wednesday: Morning Snuggles for Mommy & Shelby

Everyday morning after Shelby drinks her milk, I let her watch a DVRed episode of Super Why while she chews/sucks on her Flinstone vitamin. Shelby always sits in my lap while she drinks her milk, but she usually plays during Super Why while I get breakfast ready for us and catch up on emails, dishes, laundry, etc. But usually on weekend mornings or mornings where I've woken up early and am actually on top of my chores, we get to snuggle together during Super Why. This was one of those mornings. Shelby has never been a very snuggly baby, so this is always a special time for us!


Tuesday Tidbits

--Shelby & I leave in less than two weeks for our summer vacay. We will be joining my family for 3 weeks on our annual beach trip to Ormond Beach, FL. We are excited to spend so much quality time with family!
--Speaking of trips, it's going to be a busy, chaotic summer/fall for all three of us! After our vacation in July, Derek & I are off to Pittsburgh for a few days in August while Shelby stays with Grammy & Grampy. Then we have Shelby's SECOND BIRTHDAY in September. October will bring a rotation in Germany for Derek (yay!). While Derek is away, Shelby and I will probably spend some time with family in GA. Then the first week of November, I will travel to Germany to join Derek while Shelby hangs back with Grammy & Grampy. Then G&G get Shelby again in early December when we travel to Punta Cana for another wedding. And then Christmas! Whew!!
--I finally ordered fabric for our living room curtains! I'm so excited and proud of myself b/c I definitely stepped outside of my comfort zone a bit with the fabric I selected. Making and hanging the curtains will be Derek's project while he's home alone in July. :)
--We have been really motivated with projects around the house lately. Once our new couches were delivered in early May, it kind of jump-started us. Since our couches arrived, we have gotten a new ottoman & toy storage for the living room, rearranged some furniture in our living room/entryway, created an artwork display for Shelby's creations in our kitchen, installed a new wall cabinet in our bathroom to provide extra storage space, framed some of the professional pictures we had taken of Shelby back in October (better late than never, right?!), and next up on the list is those curtains! :)
--I am in the beginning stages of planning Shelby's birthday party, and I'm having so much fun with it! It's just hard to believe I am planning a party for an almost two year old!
--Derek has been working nights now for the past week, and all three of us are ready for July to get here so our routines can get back on track. The hardest part for me has simply been that the only awake time we get with Derek is from about 4 or 5pm (when he wakes up) to 7:45pm (which is when he leaves to go into the hospital). Shelby is also awake during this entire time, which means we get great family time...but it means that Derek and I never get a chance to have a real conversation about anything without being constantly interrupted. ;)  I am sooo looking forward to having our evenings together again after Shelby goes to bed for the night.
--And last but certainly not least, HAPPY 31ST ANNIVERSARY to my wonderful parents! We love you!!

Okay, sorry for the boring post without any pictures! I will try to get a Wordless Wednesday post up tomorrow to make up for it! :)


Our Weekend in Pictures

Just give this girl a hose, and she's happy!

Shelby's first popsicle...it didn't go over too well with her! ;)

Right after this picture was taken, she threw the popsicle
down on the ground and went to back to the hose. :)

It's hard to tell b/c the lighting is terrible in this picture, but that is Derek trying to
torment our child with a crawfish at the Internal Medicine "Welcome Picnic" for the new Interns.
But she actually loved it! She kept walking around saying "More bug!" Ha!

Shelby literally stuffing her face with a cupcake at the picnic.

And a close-up :)

Mommy & Shelby--these pictures were taken before going to a friend's
birthday/going away party. Shelby wore her hair in pigtails for the occasion!

Shelby riding on Mommy's back!


OT/Feeding Update

Shelby started Occupational Therapy for her gross motor and oral motor skills in February, so she has been receiving services for almost 5 months now. We have bad feeding days every now and again, and I get frustrated and down about the whole situation and feel like we've made no progress. But then I stop and think back to where we were when we started this whole process, and we have come such a long way!

This picture was taken at the end of January, which was right
before we started OT. This picture perfectly represents
how Shelby feels about eating!

Shelby has OT once a week for 45-60 minutes. When we started in February, we would spend half of each therapy session focusing on gross motor and the other half on oral motor. But now, we don't really spend any time at all on gross motor anymore b/c she has accomplished all of the gross motor milestones that we were working toward (walking, running, balance, climbing). All of her therapy is now spent on feeding issues.

When we started OT, Shelby was only eating stage two baby food & Yoplait yogurt (but she would spit out any fruit chunks that were in the yogurt), bananas, goldfish, some bread/crackers, and other Gerber snack foods. Our main feeding issue was/is textures (and the simple fact that Shelby does not like eating, but there's not really a whole lot we can do about that ;). For instance, Shelby still doesn't like applesauce due to its gritty texture. Whenever something with an unusual texture entered Shelby's mouth, she would either spit it out immediately OR she would swallow it but she would have a "tick"..at least that's what her OT compared it to. If the food had texture to it, Shelby would rub her hand along her chin. We always thought it was the strangest habit b/c she would do it so much that her chin would turn red. But her OT explained it wonderfully--if you get a burn/bite/bump on your arm, you rub it to diffuse the unpleasant sensation it produces. Shelby was rubbing her face to diffuse the sensation in her mouth. Interesting, huh?! Thankfully, we have gotten her past this though!

In order to get Shelby to start eating food with some texture to it, Meagan had us crush Saltine crackers and put the crumbs in her baby food. We only did this at one meal a day in the beginning, and let me tell you--it made not sound like a big deal, but it was torture. Shelby hated it, and we did, too. Eventually, we worked our way up to adding crumbs into two meals a day. The goal was for us to eventually be able to put so many crumbs in her baby food that it would be similar in texture to oatmeal. There were so many days where I questioned Meagan's methods and wondered if we were getting anywhere with the silly ole crumbs, but it obviously worked! In the last month or two, we were finally able to graduate to stage 3 baby food with chunks!! That was a HUGE accomplishment! After Shelby got used to the stage 3 food, we have now started adding cut up pieces of meat, fruit, and veggies into her stage 3 food to add even more texture/flavor to it.

Shelby will now also eat cut-up pieces of grapes, blueberries, green beans, carrots, meat, raspberries, and a few other things. She used to never let me put anything new/different in her mouth, and if I somehow did manage to get it in her mouth she would immediately spit it out. She has now learned that I will eventually win. ;)  So she lets me put it in her mouth, but she will not voluntarily pick up these foods and eat them on her own accord. :)  But if I feed it to her, she eats it. So needless to say, we are still spoon/hand-feeding her the majority of the time..unless of course it's a food she actually likes..ha!

A new thing that she has started doing from time to time in an effort to outwit us is she will let us put the food in her mouth, but she will keep it in her cheeks like a little chipmunk. She won't swallow it or spit it out..she just leaves in the side of her mouth..sometimes for upwards of 15-30 minutes! Shelby is definitely a strong-willed little girl. :) 

Derek & I always joke that parenting Shelby would be a walk in the park if we never had to feed her. She is seriously such an amazing & smart little girl, but trying to get that girl to eat has about sent me to the loony bin more times than I care to count! When we first Meagan, she pointed out that feeding issues with kiddos can be so frustrating for parents b/c as adults we associate food & meals with socialization. We like to visit with friends over lunch or spend quality family time around the dinner table, but none of those things are possible with feeding issues--or at least they don't come easily. It may seem insignificant to an outsider (and maybe it will seem that way to me in a few years), but it has undoubtedly been one of the biggest challenges in my life. But I also know it has undoubtedly transformed into a much more patient mama and reminded me of the importance of persistence, consistency, and celebrating even the smallest achievements! And I know I've already posted this picture on the blog before, but I can think of no better picture to represent where we are at today with feeding:

Shelby, we are SO incredibly proud of how far you have come in just a few short months! And I know things will continue to improve with each passing day. Our hope for you is that you continue to be able to tolerate a variety of textures and flavors so your diet can expand, but even more than that I hope that you come to realize that eating really isn't all that bad! ;)


Our First Blog Book!

I mentioned recently that we ordered our first blog book, and it just arrived this week! It was such a big surprise to see it b/c when I placed the order, it said the expected arrival date wasn't until early July. So I was very excited to see it so soon!

I used the Blog2Print website and was very pleased with how easy it was to do and how well the final product turned out. There is a 1500 picture limit per book, so I was able to include all of the posts from the early days of our blog (November 2009) through the end of 2011. I think from here on out, I will just do one book per year.

I put our blog header on the back cover of the book.

This gives you an idea of what the layout of the book looks like.

Look how thick it is! Ha! I had no idea I had blogged that much! ;)

I am seriously so happy to have a hard copy of our little blog. When I started blogging a couple of years ago, I had no idea how long I would stick with it. And I had no idea blog books even existed! I am so thankful I have stuck with it though b/c it is like a little journal for our family. And I may be crazy, but I love envisioning Shelby and any other children we may have one day sitting around the living room and looking back through this book at what our life and our family looked like way back when. It's such a great keepsake!


Bragging on my Hubby :)

This past Friday night we attended the annual "end of the year" dinner for the Internal Medicine department. It's always such a fun night! I love a good excuse to get dressed up & drink wine with friends. :)  Last year, Derek won the Intern of the Year award at the dinner. {HERE} is that post. And this year, my sweet hubby was awarded Resident of the Year! I am SO very proud of him! Here is Shelby checking out Daddy's award :)


21 months

Happy 21 Months to our sweet Shelby!

Only three months to go until your second birthday! Yikes! I know I said this last month, but your verbal have really exploded this month! All of a sudden, our baby is purposefully communicating with us..how and when did this happen?!

Here are a few more pics from our photo shoot....

 Here's what Miss Shelby is up to these days....

--COMMUNICATING! Your two (and sometimes three!) word phrases are amazing! One of our favorites is: "Wu-wu pa-pa down!" Translation: Wubby (as in Wubbanub) paci (pacifier) down. As soon as we come into your room to get you out of your crib, that is the first thing you say to us...which just makes us laugh. You are always distraught over the fact that Wubby & Paci are on the floor, yet you are the one who threw them there! Ha! If we don't retrieve them for you fast enough for your liking, you start yelling: "Hep, peez!" Translation: Help, please! You are very dramatic about the whole situation. :)  Another favorite phrase is you adding the word "please" to the end of your "more ____" request. Last month, you started saying two-word phrases such as "more nana" (banana) or "more che-os" (cheerios), but now you are adding please to the end of those phrases...which makes it all the cuter. :)
--loving bubbles, slides, books, the hose, baby dolls, and stacking things...even things that are not meant to be stacked! ;)
--This month you learned how to do something that totally melts Mommy's heart. You grab a book off your bookshelf, walk over to me, and plop yourself down into my lap for me to read it to you. Up until this month, you would either stand next to me as I read it to you or you would sit in my lap if I put you there. But all of a sudden, you started voluntarily sitting in my lap, and now that's the only way you can listen to a story! Ha! We probably ready a minimum of 30 books a day. You have a serious love for reading!
--you have very clammy hands/feet, so if there's ever a piece of hair or fuzz on the carpet it will often stick to your hands and feet. This happens several times a day, and it drives you crazy! You start yelling "hair! hair! hep peez!" and bring it over to me immediately. It's so funny!
--counting to ten & identifying all of your numbers from 0-10!
--saying your ABCs (with the exception of L) and recognizing all 26 uppercase letters & several lowercase, too!
--having a bit of separation anxiety, but only when the three of us are all home at the same time. ;)  Sounds weird, I know! When it is just us girls at home, you are fine if I leave to go to another room for a few minutes. But if the three of us are all downstairs together and Mommy goes upstairs for a minute, you have to wait at the bottom of the stairs until I get back. And the same thing happens with Daddy. But if one of us leaves the house, that doesn't bother you. You just don't like us disappearing within the house for a couple minutes at a time.
--your favorite TV show is still Super Why on PBS Kids.
--you love to listen to your Kindermusik CD's at home. Your Kindermusik class is out for the summer right now, so we spend a lot of time listening to the CD's.
--you are enjoying crayons & sidewalk chalk for a couple minutes at a time now! If you want to color, you will just go over to where I keep your crayons in the counter and just stand there and wait for me to get them for you. :)
--you have a very toothy grin now! :) I'm not sure exactly how many teeth you have now, but when you smile we no longer just see those front four teeth! You have a whole mouthful! I'll try to get a picture of it soon :)

We love you, Shelbo!!!


Father's Day 2012

We had a nice, quiet Father's Day celebration for Derek today! It was laid-back, but that's just the way Derek likes it. :)  He is always happiest at home. All three of us slept in late this morning, and then we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Afterwards, we took a walk up to the Marina Park on base to let Shelby play on the playground there for a while.

After playing at the park, we walked home for lunch & naptime. While Derek & Shelby napped, I baked cupcakes for Father's Day. Shelby didn't get up from her nap until a little after 5pm, so Derek & I were able to enjoy some quiet time together (which was especially nice b/c Derek had to go into work tonight...so we missed out our typical evening together once Shelby is in bed for the night). When Shelby was up, we had salads & homemade pizza for dinner then played in the backyard for a bit.

Shelby was excited when I brought cupcakes outside for dessert :)
Derek had to leave for work just as were getting Shelby ready for bed tonight. After such a fun family day, I know he was dreading going into work for the night. But we are thankful we had the whole day together! Here is a picture of Shelby posing with the Father's Day gift she got for her Daddy.

We made this frame to go on Derek's desk at the hospital. Here are a few close-up shots of it...

 Here is the poem that is in the frame....
 My Daddy, M.D.

Whenever Daddy signs his name, 
he always writes M.D. 
So people always know 
that he belongs to me. 

For M.D. means “My Daddy” 
or something just the same. 
And that is why he always puts 
these letters in his name. 

Some letters in his name are small 
but these are not, you see. 
He always makes them big like that 
because he’s so proud of me. 

It has been an absolute joy for me to watch the relationship between Shelby & her Daddy grow over the past 21 months. I always knew Derek would make an amazing father one day, but he has surpassed all of my expectations! The love they share for one another is truly something to behold. Shelby is the apple of her daddy's eye, and I know the feeling is mutual b/c all I hear while Daddy is at work is: "Dada! D..Dada! D..Dada!" As we were working on the alphabet a couple of weeks ago, I told Shelby that the letter D is for Daddy. So now that is pretty much all I hear all.day.long. :)

We had a wonderful Father's Day today, but the only way it could have been better is if I could have celebrated with my Daddy, too. But thanks to Skype, we were at least able to "see" him! Shelby usually gets bored pretty quickly with Skype b/c she'd much rather be running around the house & playing, but whenever she sees my Dad's face pop up onto Skype she is all smiles. I've always known what an amazing father I had, but as it turns out he's a pretty awesome Grampy, too.


Two-Thirds Done!

It's hard to believe it's been a whole year since Derek finished his internship (which is the first year of residency). But it has--a whole year has come and gone. And we are now two-thirds of the way done with residency! {HERE} is a look back at Derek's graduation from internship.

They have a small graduation ceremony each June at the hospital for those people who have completed their Internship or their entire Residency. As a second-year resident, Derek doesn't fall into either of those categories. So I offered to keep the interns' little ones, so their wives could attend the ceremony sans distractions. (My neighbor was kind enough to keep Shelby last year during the ceremony, so I knew how much these ladies would appreciate it.) I had a total of five kids ages 2 & under. It was definitely a crazy morning, but a lot of fun! Truthfully, I was mostly worried about Shelby. Typically when we have kids over to our house, Shelby can get a little whiny/clingy/territorial over her Mommy and her toys. But thankfully, she was in the best mood all morning! I was so proud of her for doing such a good job sharing. Sharing definitely isn't easy for a 20 month old!

Each of these little ones are in Shelby's playgroup, and their mamas are all dear friends of mine. Residency certainly isn't easy--for the residents or for the residents' families. We are so thankful for these friends in this season of our lives. They have made our time here at Keesler all the richer!