Friday, May 31, 2013

Fearless

We were playing outside earlier this week, as families often do.

Mustang was tied up to the playset and Millie was playing in the garden/play house.

Lola and I had a few moments together, so we were sitting on the swings, talking.

Interested to see if she'd jump off the swings again - she did it for the first half the summer last year but then got a wee bit hurt so she got afraid - I challenged her to a swing-jumping contest.

Yikes.

The girl can fly.

On one jump, she went straight up and then straight down, landing practically in a belly-flop on the grass.

I was quite worried.

"Are you OK?" I asked.

"Yeah, I'm OK," she brushed herself off and headed back to the swing.

"Are you hurt?"

"No," she said, perching herself atop the swing, beginning to pump her legs once again.

She paused for effect.

"Well, yeah, actually, it did kinda' hurt."

Then she grinned.

"But I want to win."

And then she flew again.

(For the record, this jump, captured on video later that evening,
is rather tame compared to her early attempts.)

Yep, she's my daughter.
- Bethany :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

an "anniversary" present


Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of Amelia's first evaluation.

That eval, with a pediatric physical therapist, essentially kicked off what would become a very trying year full of tests and scary possibilities.

Fortunately (we've been so incredibly fortunate...), despite her struggles, Millie continues to develop, strengthen and grow in all developmental areas.

And while it's easy to focus on what she isn't yet doing, she's always there to remind us that the sky's her limit.

No one can tell her what she can or can't do.

So, Saturday.

It was one year since we learned that our then-11-month-old, was developmentally around 5 months old.

We spent Saturday, after noon, working to get the house in order. We had just spent three very nice days with Ray's parents - visiting, talking, playing, scrapbooking - and had a blast, but we needed to get caught up on yard work and house work before we took a mini break out of town Sunday to Monday.

Ray and Lola, and the neighbor boy, were out back, Ray doing brush cleanup while the kids played. I was indoors, doing some much-needed organizing of clutter and junk drawers and scrubbing kitchen appliances.

Once Millie woke up from her nap, though, I took her outside to get some sunshine and move around a bit.

She found her way to the bottom of the slide and sat on its base, watching the older kids play some T-ball.

After a while, she make it clear that she wanted a turn with the ball.

So, after a few minutes, I walked toward her and held it out, intending to bring it closer to her.

But I didn't get that far.

She stood up.

And walked to me.

About 4-5 feet.

Lola and I both saw her do it and, oh my, did we shriek.

Ray came over to see what the fuss was about.

And Millie did it again.

We spent the next 20-25 minutes letting her walk from the slide to Ray, then to me, then back to Ray.

Sure, she fell occasionally.

But she got back up.

And did it again.

She's been grinning ever since, so very proud of herself.

She isn't quite a true walker - she'll now go about six feet at a time or so - but she's getting more confident each time.

Lola has sworn for months, "When 'Milia turns 2, she'll be walking, just like me!" and I've always kind of corrected her, tempered her excitement a bit, saying that Millie probably wouldn't be walking by her second birthday, but that she'll likely learn to walk while she's 2 years old, just maybe not by her actual birth date.

Looks like my kids are out to prove me wrong, yet again.

 
Happy days.
- Bethany :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lola's last day of school...

Today is her last day of preschool!

Graduation is tomorrow night so we'll still go back there again - and since school operates out of our home church, we'll actually be back there plenty, just not for school.

I'm so proud of how far she's come in 8-9 months. So very proud.

It was kind of funny this morning. We came so close to making it through the school year without this happening. But we woke up this morning and found that Lola didn't have a backpack (or lunch pack). She left it in Ray's truck and he left for work at 4 a.m. (!!) this morning.

So we made do with a different Princess backpack.


Just no lunch pack. So she got to bring her lunch in a Ziplock bag today.
 - Bethany :)

P.S. I couldn't help but get a wee bit wistful this morning as we counted school buses, wondering if it will be the last time. It didn't help that we ended at a paltry 12 today, after setting an unbelievable record of 25 last week.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Life with Lola


"Am I going to kindergarten school today?"

She asks this as she pulls up a pair of stretchy black pants, as we're racing through the morning, trying to stay on schedule.

"Nope, today is a preschool day," I say, hurriedly grabbing a brush to try to mangle her mane into some kind of ponytail.

And I, again, explain that she has three more days of preschool, a graduation night at school, and then three months full of daycare and family days before September, when, yes, she will enter  kindergarten.

"But I want to go to kindergarten school now," she pouts, putting her hands on her hips and sticking out her lower lip.

Eight months ago, we introduced this shy little 4-year-old to preschool.

 

Today, she finishes her last full week of preschool. 

(Sidenote: I didn't know this until just this minute, when I posted the pic, but, coincidentally, she was wearing this exact same outfit when we left for school this morning. Too funny. You can tell it's a favorite...)

She "graduates" Thursday night.

She's come a long ways in one school year. She is spelling and writing words, learning to sound out letters and is working toward figuring out how to put them all together in words. She's a ways off from reading, but she's getting there. And we have all summer to learn and play together.

She is still timid, but much more open to new places and faces.

She is more adventurous.

But she's still the same, sweet kid from one year ago, considerate and caring, respectful (most of the time), and quite opinionated.

She's smarter than we realize , and she picks up on a whole bunch of things we'd rather she wouldn't (stuff with Millie, for example).

She challenges us. And enjoys doing so.

She asks us tough questions.

Last night, we were singing a "Jesus song" before bedtime.

"... from the cross to the grave ..."

And she interrupts me.

"What's a grave?"

"A grave is where they put your body in the ground, burying it, after you die." This isn't completely unknown to her. She is familiar with the concept of cemeteries.

"Oh." She pauses, pokes at her knees. "Do they take the bones out first?"

"Um..." I try, unsuccessfully, to change the subject, suggesting we talk instead about princesses and which one is our favorite.

But she's not having it.

"No, Mommy, really, do they take your bones out first? Or your eyes? And what happens to your hair?"

So we have a rather impromptu, unscripted conversation. We talk about our souls, our hearts, etc. - "the best parts of us that make us us" - going to Heaven first, right when we die. And then, once all the best parts of us have moved on, we bury - or sometimes first burn and then bury - the bodies so our loved ones can have a special place to go to remember you.

She accepts this, listening intently and not at all afraid or uncomfortable, from what I could observe.

She was interested. I felt quite pleased with myself.

"So they leave the bones in," she says, poking at her knees some more and closing the conversation.

It wasn't until later, when I recapped Ray on the conversation that I kind of half-wondered if I answered too honestly.

He laughed when I told him her initial question, then quipped, "Did you tell her they burn you first?" and he grinned, chuckling at even the idea of it.

"Well, uh, yeah," I answered, now unsure.

And he just stared at me. Blinking.

She didn't have nightmares, which I think is what he was most worried about.

And I'm still not convinced I answered too directly. But then again, I'm the one more apt to use the real words for body parts while Ray is more comfortable with gentler descriptions.

Parenting. It's always an adventure.
- Bethany :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

springtime!


Finally, after what has felt like eight months' of winter, spring has arrived.

To celebrate, we recently packed up the double jogging stroller, got the girls (and the dog) and walked to a nearby park. It's not our favorite park to walk to, since it involves walking along fairly busy roadways, but we love the park itself: It has a smaller play structure for toddlers and a larger one for older kids. So, for us, it works out well.

It wasn't our first walk of the season - we've had the stroller out several times already - but this was the first time the girls were able to get out and play.

I've been calling it Millie's first trip the park.

Sure, she's gone before, last summer, but this was really the first time she was able to try to maneuver around the park and know that she could play around.

She loved it.




Of course, she was happiest just sitting atop the structure and smiling at everyone...





So we had to encourage her a bit to get up and be vertical for a while...



She is doing pretty darned well with the walking these days. She has taken several steps in the past couple of weeks, about 2-3 at a time. But once she realizes what she is doing, or that you're watching her, she goes right back down to the floor.

But she's improving.

Greatly.

Last night, she even seemed like she wanted to do some finger-walking - and she did it with just one helping hand.

So she's getting there. Lola keeps insisting that 'Milia will start walking by, or on, her second birthday next month.

We'll see. She is set to begin the process next week to get braces for her ankles. We learn more about that on Tuesday. Maybe that will help give her that last little bit of confidence that she needs...

But Monday's park adventure wasn't about therapy, it was about letting the girls get some fresh air and burn off some excess energy (with the very real hope they would then sleep like rocks that night!).



Afterward, Millie had her first full-out temper tantrum. When I told her it was time to leave and picked her up, she started fighting me and trying to push herself out of my arms, all the while pointing emphatically back at the playground.

She cried when I strapped her into the stroller.

So she must have had fun?!
- Bethany :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mommy's Day


This mommy spent Mommy's Day (yesterday) with her favorite girls and their sweet daddy.

One daughter has taught me (many times over) the importance of patience, and my other daughter continues to teach me that life is not a race.

And both show me, daily, the power of love.

Ray was gone all weekend for a fishing trip (and he has another one set for this coming weekend). he came home late Sunday morning so it already was a special day, even without it being Mother's Day. And while I certainly didn't need a greeting-card kind of holiday, I'll certainly take the shoes (aren't they awesome? LOVE them! Thanks Ray!).

So Happy (belated) Mom's Day to all.

Especially my own. Love you.


***

After finishing my first 5K two months ago, I set my sights a little higher, or, longer.

And I told friends and families many times that I'd be running my first 10K on May 11, just before Mother's Day. 

I woke up Saturday to discover snow on the ground, temperatures around 32 degrees, and gusty winds in the neighborhood of 20 mph.

I really considered skipping the whole thing (I hadn't yet registered).

But since I told everyone and made my night-owl friend wake up at 9 a.m. to watch my girls for me, I figured I should at least try.

I got there, saw super-fit people and seriously considered signing up for the 5K.

Really, I surprised myself by choking out, "10K," when the nice lady asked me what race I was running. 

"Or, at least, I'm gonna' try," I added.

My real goal was to break 60 minutes. I regularly run 10-minute miles outside on relatively flat ground. But with the temps, the snow, the wind, I told myself that breaking 65, even 70 minutes, would be pretty good.

The race was a 5K loop along area roads. Which, for us 10K-ers, meant we did the loop twice. 

Head-first into the wind for the first quarter-mile, I felt just fine, just letting myself warm up. The next two miles were easy, with helpful wind gusts, but the last mile was brutal. And the course just happened to end at the top of a hill.

I did the first loop, the first 5K, in 31:10. That was longer than my first 5K time and way off pace for my dream goal.

So I told myself to keep the same pace and to really run those two miles with the wind at my back.

At one point, about 4.5 miles in, I glanced down at my watch and found I was running an 8:45 mile.

So I forced myself to stay around the 9-minute mark, calculating in my head whether I really could break 60.

I approached that final, terrible uphill, windy stretch at 56:00. I don't know the distance that was left but I knew I was going to cut it really close. So I told myself to ignore the clock and to just run.

I finished the race at 58:29.

Happy Mother's Day to me.
- Bethany :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Miss Lola


At church Sunday, as Lola got a wee bit squirrely toward the end, I picked her up, holding her on my hip while we swayed and sang closing hymns together.

Uffda.

She's no longer my little 2-year-old. And I'm afraid the years of cradling her or dancing with her in my arms are quickly fading.

She starts kindergarten this fall.

Yikes!

This morning, as we drove to preschool, we played, again, our favorite morning game: counting school buses.

We set a new record: 18.

But how much longer before that game gets old?

We've been playing it off and on now for two years, both working on her counting skills and getting her excited to ride the bus herself some day.

She went so quickly from baby to infant to toddler to preschooler.

And it's really only been in the last couple of weeks that we've seen her emerge from the preschooler stage.

She's feisty, with attitude.

She's girly, but in a more grown up way.

She's picking up on more phrases and references that Ray and I used to be able to sneak by her.

Last week, we found her "cuddles" buried in my closet.

Her precious cuddles...


She didn't even know what it was.

The blanket she wouldn't let out of her sight two years ago was long forgotten.

Do I sound wistful?

I am, yet I'm not.

I don't mourn the lost of her infancy, though I do find myself surprised it's gone by so very, very quickly.

I'm excited, and incredibly proud, to watch her grow into the young girl she is becoming.

She is kind.

She is considerate.

Protective.

Loyal.

And, yeah, just a little vain.

Occasionally whiny.

Stubborn as heck.

But she's smart.

Quick.

Driven.

She makes us smile.

Every single day.


 - Bethany :)