Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pumpkins, Ballerina, and Seahorse

A few updates...

Katelyn has named one of her baby dolls "Cheaus." When she first announced this, I was confused and asked her what she meant. She responded by grinning and singing, "Zaccheaus was a wee little man..." Ohhhhh, haha. Lately 'Cheaus has gone with us everywhere. She also informed me that 'Cheaus is a girl, just like Baby Dennis.

Our good little sleeper is back (at least until the next phase)!! She is consistently falling asleep on her own and staying in her bed all night again. And, oddly, doesn't necessarily want pennies as reward. I always give her the option to put a penny in her bank, but whether or not she wants to just depends on her mood.

We painted little pumpkins to kick off Fall. So fun! Daddy took some great pictures:

My new favorite picture!!!!

She was a ballerina for Halloween. We went to both our church and Annabelle's church's Fall Festivals. For Katelyn, life doesn't get much better than petting a goat while wearing a tutu. Unfortunately, it was so crowded at the petting zoo area that I wasn't able to get any good pictures.

ballerina, (sleeping) caterpillar, and bunny ballerina

She is ALWAYS singing. Seriously, I feel like I'm living in a musical. And it's so fun! She knows far more nursery rhyme songs than I do. She's clever with her songs, too. For example, one day as we were passing Tom Thumb, she snickered and started singing (to the tune of "Where is Thumbkin?"), "Where is Tom Thumb, where is Tom Thumb? It's right there! It's right there!" (Funny thing is, we went into that Tom Thumb one time-- six months ago. Crazy good memory.) She lines up her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters and sings to them, then switches places and has them sing to her. And she makes sure to individually tell each one what a good job they did. 

I've noticed that Katelyn has an interesting perspective on things. For example, she saw a red string in the Wal-Mart parking lot, looked at it thoughtfully, and plainly said, "That's a seahorse." After looking at it from her angle, I saw what she meant (and now, every time I look at this picture, all I see is a seahorse!).

She's done this sort of thing several times. Once it was a broken cracker that, when turned a certain way, really did look like the shape of a penguin. I love seeing how her mind works! She may have boundless energy, but I LOVE that she will pause long enough to see a creative angle in everyday things!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sleepy Pennies

As mentioned in the last blog post, Katelyn has been having sleep issues. She boycotted sleeping in her bed for 2 months, had a major meltdown if I didn't fall asleep on the floor next to her (which is something we have never done), and woke up MANY times in the night hysterical and angry when she saw I had gone back to my own bed.

Not a fun phase, and an exhausting one for everybody. When she was a baby, the most effective thing we did to get her to sleep through the night was put her in her crib while still drowsy and let her fall asleep on her own. It took a few nights of crying herself to sleep, but it worked and she became a GREAT sleeper for the next year.

Unfortunately, that method doesn't work so well with a two year old who is capable of opening her bedroom door and escaping when she wakes up in the night. Every. Single. Time. I tried lots of tactics to break the cycle, but nothing worked.

Then one day when Katelyn and I were taking a walk, we found a penny on the ground. Katelyn asked what it was, so I told her and said we could put it in her piggy bank. She was delighted. Every day after that, our mission was to look for pennies and we almost always found one (or a nickel or dime). And so began her fascination with putting pennies in her piggy bank. Something about hearing that "clink" just resonates with her.

If occurred to me that pennies might be the motivation Katelyn needed to start sleeping in her bed again. So I made a "Sleepy Pennies" chart. Much like a sticker chart, but instead of stickers going on for good behavior, pennies come OFF and go into her bank. Each night Katelyn slept IN her bed (not on the floor), she got to take a penny off. 3 pennies in a row = a mini "cupcake celebration" with Mommy and Daddy. (Did you know that a box of cake mix makes over 60 mini cupcakes? I have a freezer full of them now.)  I strategically placed the piggy bank beside her bed.

Look! All 3 pennies are gone!

When I first introduced Sleepy Pennies, her exact words were, "Um, how about a nickel?" Ah, my little negotiator. She knew what she was asking, because a few days earlier I had told her that a nickel was worth FIVE whole pennies. Does my heart proud, but it wasn't negotiable. Nonetheless, Sleepy Pennies worked quicker than I thought it would. It only took one or two attempts and then it clicked. No, we are not paying our child to sleep. We simply found what motivates her... and, it's a chance to work on counting, cause/effect, and, on a very basic level, the concept of saving money.

Enjoying her first "cupcake celebration." She's saying "Celebration!" here. The cupcake may be small, but we make a big deal out of it.

So... are we done with sleep issues? *yawn* No. Sleepy pennies worked beautifully for about 3 weeks before she relapsed. But even though we're still working on it, I'd say we've made major progress from where we were a few months ago. She WANTS to earn pennies... but there are many nights that she doesn't. But on those mornings when she wakes up and immediately asks if she can put a penny in her bank, she is so, so proud... and so are we!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Change is hard, Mama Kelley

The past two months have been... difficult. Lots of changes. Katelyn gives STRONG definition to "terrible twos." And, our routine was disrupted when I lost my job. Then, for a host of reasons, we decided to switch daycares. Here's a picture of Katelyn with her wonderful former teacher, Ms. Lauren:

We love you, Lauren!!!!!

Touching the rose outside the building one last time

While unemployed, I've been slammed (blessed!) with freelance design work, so keeping Katelyn at home with me every day just wasn't an option I could logically make work eight hours a day. Katelyn just completed her first week at her new school, so before that she spent time with Annabelle and Zoe, a week with Nana, and some time at home with me. I don't have photos of her time with Nana, but Katelyn's vivid descriptions of Chuck E. Cheese, swimming, and other fun memories paint quite a picture. Thanks, Nana (and everyone else in the family who helped)!

With Tia Christy, Katelyn learned Spanish and developed a love for all things gluten-free. :) She and Annabelle played hard, fought, and sweetly made up like sisters. Here are a few highlights with Annabelle:

pretending to sleep on the stairs

pretending to sleep on the "boat" they made

(Side note: I find it amusing that these two pretended to nap when reality was quite the opposite.)

Beautiful Zoe... such a good sport.

Obsessed with stickers much?

This one was actually taken several weeks later but I love it!

Tantrums have been BAD lately. But between the dozens of them Katelyn throws each day, she has her sweet moments. One particularly challenging day, after escaping time out to go bite Annabelle (!!!!!), she crawled in my lap, spotted a heart-shaped magnet on the fridge and said, "Look, a heart! Mommy, I love you." That single, tender moment might just have saved her from reform school.

To make things even more fun, for almost two months she has boycotted naps and refused to sleep in her bed at night. Let me paint a picture of what bedtime used to be: rock, tell stories, say prayers, play music, lights out. The end. Usually asleep by 8:15. 

Instead, she defiantly claims, "No music! No Jesus! No prayers!" (and I cry a little inside). Night after night, she has insisted on sleeping on a blanket on the floor and would only fall asleep if I was lying next to her. And when she would stir in the middle of the night and notice that I had slipped away to my own bed, she would angrily scream, "Mama Kelley! Mama Kelley!!! I mad that you leave!!" (Side note: lately she's into saying first and last names of everyone. "Mama Kelley" is usually said in vain when she's mad. It's hard not to laugh.)

The thing is, she's super sweet when I'm lying next to her trying to get her to fall asleep. She literally takes the pillow from under her head and gives it to me because "Mommy needs pillow." She gives me her favorite dolls, puts a blanket over me, and pats my back. And when she's not being sweet, she's really funny. If I open my eyes a little to see if she's asleep yet, I catch her silently making silly faces at me. Or, I'll open my eyes to find her nose-to-nose with me and she whispers, "I pet a goat at the zoo." Glad that memory stuck.

But as I type this, Katelyn is asleep and I THINK we're turning the corner on the sleeping issues. I'll explain more in the next blog post... I don't want to jinx it now!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Scottish Rite Update - Age Two

Katelyn had her Scottish Rite appointment in July. As expected, everything was great! They did x-rays, so for the first time we got to see the bones in her little arm. They look exactly the bones in her other arm, only shorter.

Katelyn loved her trip to Scottish Rite and she's been talking about it ever since, every day asking me to tell "more Scottish Rite" stories. She recounts EVERY detail, from riding in the elevator to her doctor's hair color to the color of the walls in the waiting room. The other day she was pushing one of her dolls around, and I asked where they were going. She quickly said, "Scottish Rite!"

Katelyn was perfectly, uncharacteristically STILL during x-rays. The x-ray technician, Dennis, was so proud of her that he gave her a baby doll! So nice! Dennis made quite the impression. Katelyn calls the doll "Baby Dennis," talks about him all the time and even asks to say prayers for Dennis at bedtime. Love!!

Not the best picture, but I love the Baylor theme! Katelyn's area of the hospital has a sports theme and there are lots of displays attributed to universities or professional athletes. 

The giant, beautiful kaleidoscope

Katelyn hasn't seemed to notice anything different about her little arm yet, but we expect that to come in the somewhat near future, between age 2 - 3. When older kids see her arm and ask me questions, Katelyn just looks at them blankly as if to say, "What? What's so interesting?" It's funny.

We're grateful that Scottish Rite is such a wonderful place. And we're grateful that Katelyn's arm doesn't cause her any physical pain. There's a wide range of Symbrachadactyly and many patients need surgery to increase finger function or correct problematic issues. We're thankful that's not the case with Katelyn-- although, if it was, that would be ok, too, because God doesn't make mistakes!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Two Years Old!!!

Katelyn had a Minnie Mouse birthday party. So fun!

How am I supposed to eat this cupcake with a candle in it?!?

Katelyn at two years old...

Favorite foods: blueberries, broccoli, applesauce, turkey, sausage, cheese, or anything Daddy is eating
Favorite activities: painting, chalk, coloring, playing with Annabelle, playing "Boo" (hide and seek)
Favorite songs: Holy, Holy, Holy; Jesus Loves Me; Wheels on the Bus; E-I-E-I-O
Favorite animal: dog, followed by Louie (Mia's cat) and Shamus (Carolyn and Stephen's cat)
Favorite toys: bracelets, books, toy shopping cart
Favorite phrase: "What happened??"

Common phrases in our home lately: 
"No Katelyn! Don't paint your arm with ______!!!!" (yogurt, applesauce, hand soap, etc.) And when I say arm, I mean her ENTIRE little arm. She's quick. And thorough.

"Walk away, ______ (Mommy, Daddy, Baylor). Walk away." This is the phrase she uses anytime she is ready to dismiss someone or something. She learned it at school, and I see the value of teaching it to kids to prevent toddler arguments. But it's hard not to laugh when she says it at home. She's getting better about nicely saying, "Please walk away" when saying it at home.

"I DO IT!!!" This applies to so many, many things. She wants- and usually finds a way- to independently do whatever she has her mind set on, even if it's not the best idea. ANYthing she sees Mommy or Daddy doing, she insists on doing herself (even if it means undoing something that has already been done, like making another mess just so she can clean it up herself).

"Sing it, Mommy." This often happens in the car on the way to/from school. No matter what the topic, Katelyn instructs me to "sing it", which means I need to make up a song on the spot. I'm usually glad Katelyn and I are the only ones in the car to hear it.

"Tastes funny." This started when I unknowingly gave her some spoiled milk. She refused to drink it, and I didn't force her. She kept saying it tasted funny. Now, whenever she doesn't want to eat something, she says "tastes funny."

"Mark, Set, Go!" Since she runs everywhere she goes, why not make it a race?

"Lively" is a family name on my side that goes back several generations. Genetics did not disappoint. This child is bursting at the seams with energy. What she lacks in attention span, she makes up for in energy level. And her memory is scary good. She recalls EVERYTHING about a situation: people, places, the route to get there, tone of voice, emotions, etc. Months later (long after I've forgotten), she'll tell you all about it. It's interesting to me how she can move so quickly from one thing to another, yet still absorb every detail.

She is still acting two, of course, but is otherwise at a really fun age!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 4th

Happy 4th of July, everybody!

This year we went to Nebraska to see family... and these people know how to celebrate July 4th! Tons of food and TONS of fireworks. Apparently in that part of Nebraska it's not illegal to shoot off fireworks in city limits. It. Was. Impressive, to say the least. So fun!

Headphones on... ready for fireworks! She liked them-- well, what she saw before falling asleep!

Sweet cousins

 I'm not sure what Cassidy is singing, but Katelyn is singing "Holy, Holy, Holy."  Of course.

Serious planning discussion before riding the 4-wheeler.

Sweet new friends 

Daddy telling Katelyn that SHE cannot get into the water, but it's ok to throw rocks in. I love this picture!

Full sized friendly poodle at the park? Yes, please!

Brushing Cassidy's hair, which is, of course, reason to giggle. 

At first glance this looks like a sweet picture. Really, it's a sweet picture of Nana hugging Cassidy and Katelyn worming her way in because she is a jealous child. Sigh.

holding her first sparkler

walking at the zoo 

"Katelyn, want to help me unpack your suitcase?"  "YEAH!"  And then I turned around and saw this. (And for the record, I never looked that cute in hats!)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Almost Two

Katelyn has been... challenging lately. Don't get me wrong; I feel like the luckiest woman in the world that I get to be her mother, but man-- age two (almost) is HARD! She's a bit unpredictable. One day she is an angel, and the next day will be filled with time-outs, tantrums, and tears. She wants SO BADLY to express herself and be independent and as I've mentioned before, she is very strong-willed. As am I. We are growing together.

At school she made a clown face and, unlike her classmates' clowns, her clown has a frowny face. I know it wasn't intentional, but it makes me laugh because it very much depicts her mood lately.

Also, meet Susie, Katelyn's new sidekick. She has actually had Susie since Christmas but never really noticed her until now. The funny thing about Susie is how she came to be a part of our lives. One day Katelyn showed slight interest in the doll and Dave asked what her name was. Katelyn responded with a blank stare, so Dave said, "Is her name... Susie?" And the rest is history. Personally, I'm a big fan of Susie because when I can't get Katelyn to do something, Susie comes to my rescue. After all, Susie likes to behave like a big girl, eat dinner, and pick up her toys.

Susie rode with us to school because she was "coughing" and Katelyn needed to "comb her hair." Leaving Susie in the car seat reading a book was the only way I could pry her away from Katelyn when it came time to go inside.

Recently we went to Annabelle's dance recital. Now, I had explained to Katelyn that Annabelle was going to be on stage and we were going to watch her dance, but as my mom pointed out, Katelyn had no frame of reference for what that meant. And as Dave predicted, Katelyn was NOT happy that she couldn't go play with Annabelle on stage. Devastated and hysterical, in fact. Of course, we took her out in the foyer for the remainder of the recital and Christy even arranged for us to see Annabelle backstage while another group was performing. But until the recital was over and she actually got to be WITH Annabelle, Katelyn was a mess. "Annabelle!!!! See Annabelle!!!!" At least she was screaming for a good cause.

That night around 1 a.m., I heard Katelyn running down the hallway. She has never gotten out of bed before, so I was immediately alarmed. She was a little groggy but was all smiles. Being a gifted sleepwalker myself, I concluded that she was sleepwalking and put her back to bed. The next morning I asked what she was doing in the hallway. Katelyn thought for a minute, smiled, and simply said, "See Annabelle."  :)

Baby Zoe

I'm a little late posting this. Katelyn has a new cousin, Zoe. She loves talking about Zoe and asks on a daily basis if Zoe is sleeping. My favorite comment is when she pointed to Jesus her Nativity scene snow globe and said, "Baby Zoe." Haha.

I love this picture. Such personality in those pigtails!

Since Katelyn and Annabelle go to the same school, sometimes we see them at pick-up time in the afternoons. Such was the case a few weeks ago and we couldn't resist taking pictures.