Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Family Fill-In: It's Nice to Do Nice Things (Part 3)

Well, we had a wonderful November and started a new family tradition: Making the family motto for the month of Thanksgiving "It's nice to do nice things for people." As you can see here and here, we've had a lot of fun giving back to others this month.

I thought I'd list just a few of the final things we did that were nice for others:

We donated money to the Salvation Army.

We left money in the dollar section of a local store for a lucky child to find

We picked up trash around the neighborhood (via wagon ride)

We left diapers and wipes in a public restroom for a mother who may have forgotten her supply

We adopted two children for Christmas via "Helping Hands" so that their wish lists will be filled and they'll have the happiest of holidays

We, hopefully, encouraged YOU, my kind readers, to dig extra deep and be extra nice to those around you--strangers, acquainatances, family, and friends alike.

November was pretty top notch in my book.

Now, onto the Christmas season...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Putting Myself Out There

It's funny how, as a teenager and woman in my 20s, I was so concerned with what others thought of me. 

Not let's be honest. I still do. But not quite as much as I used to. 

We've been in our new home now for almost three months (Wait...what?!? There's still so much to be done!) and, thanks to now living in a neighborhood with its own activities director and social committee, there are pretty much weekly events, activities, and gatherings for both kids and grown-ups alike. This has been a great way to meet people, set aside my own insecurities, and jump in with both feet.

So, in the spirit of putting myself out there and trying to meet new neighbors friends, I attend as many of these events as possible. So far, this has included "Craft Corner for Kids," "Kids in the Kitchen," a Halloween party, a pre-trick-or-treating event, a neighborhood hayride, and most, recently, Bunco (no kids, or men, allowed). Tonight, I am attending my first of many "Crafting and Cocktails" (alcoholic bevs and crafting...two of my favorite things!) and will also be headed to a Ladies Only Holiday party next week followed by a big neighborhood Holiday party in three weeks.

I have also joined a local playdate group with whom we get together weekly, and recently, I had a (blind) playdate with a new friend who will be moving to the area next week. 

With each of these events, there has been one commonality: I have known no one upon entering (well, with the exception of the one girlfriend who invited me to join her playdate group). It can be pretty intimidating to enter a new situation and not know a soul. In fact, it's something I'm not sure I would have done even 5 years ago. 


Now, I put myself out there.   

Maybe it's wanting my kiddos to have new friends in our new town. Maybe it's wanting to model for my children what it means to enter a new situation unsure but confident and come out better on the other side. Maybe it's being almost-32 and feeling more at ease in my own skin. Maybe it's a reinvigorated recognition that, to me, life is about family and friends.

Whatever the reason may be, while I still have some degree of insecurity about what others think of me, about what kind of first impression I make, more than ever, I just want to put myself out there. I want to make new friends. And I want to make memories for myself and my little family.

So, here's to putting myself out there and hoping for new friendship, new experiences, and new memories in return. 


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Keeping Track

It is amazing to me how quickly we Mommas can forget what our children were able to do at different ages. At least for me, it's hard to think back and remember exactly what my now 3-year-old son was doing when he was a baby. 

That being said, I thought I'd record a few of the thing my littles are able to do right now, at the ripe ol' ages of 3 years and 10 months, as a way to help me remember them at these ages, later down the road:

Banks, age 3

He continues to be long and lean: He weighed 36.6 pounds (89th percentile) and was 40.25 inches tall (96th percentile) at his 3-year well check. He wears 4T clothing and Size 11-Wide shoes. Strangers have asked on multiple occasions if he will be starting kindergarten next year. Nope.

He generally eats a HUGE breakfast, adequate lunch, and little for dinner. He is NOT a fan of vegetables. He is a fan of any form of meat, fruits, and sweets, and not necessarily in that order.

He has been fully potty-trained for day for about 7 or 8 months but still wears a pull-up diaper for night. Side note: Ever wiped a hiney in a public restroom while simultaneously wrangling a wiggling baby? Talk about multi-tasking. And sweating.

He still takes one nap per day, which usually lasts about two hours. He is starting to drop his nap one to two days per week but stays in his room, in his bed, during these times. He goes to bed at 8:30 pm and wakes up between 6:30 and 7:00 am.

He had his first ever dental appointment a few weeks ago. He had no cavities. His teeth and gums looked very healthy, and the spacing of his teeth is promising for not needing future braces. Yahoo!

He seems to be a lefty, although he will also use his right hand at times. He is definitely right-footed. 

He still loves playing sports more than anything else in the world. And I have to brag say, I think he's a pretty good little athlete. I cannot wait for the Spring, when we'll sign him up for teeball and golf lessons, followed by soccer in the Fall. Can.Not.Wait.

He is allowed to watch two to three cartoons a day, and his current favorites include Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins, and Cat in the Hat. My current favorite is Doc McStuffins.

He loves to sing when we are out and about, driving around running errands. Because I have played the same two cd's in the car basically since his birth, he pretty much knows all of the 40+ songs by heart. There is nothing sweeter than hearing that precious little voice just belting out tunes with all the passion of an opera singer.

He loves school and has adjusted with no problem to his new classroom environment, which he attends from 9:00-12:00 two days a week.

He can spell "Stop," "Go," "Banks," and "Clemson." He also loves doing his "pluses." He can add 2+2 and 1+1 from memory and will add other numbers together when shown how to do so using his fingers. 

His imagination runs wild! His favorite things to pretend right now are that he is Daddy and is off to work to see his clients and that he is a "bad guy" who is also a hero. Swoon.

He is the sweetest, most caring big brother and is constantly trying to make his little sister laugh and hug and kiss her. 

He makes us laugh every single day. Oh, the things that come out of that boy's mouth...We are definitely rockin' the "why" phase, and I love it! I tell him all the time that I love that he is so inquisitive because that is how we learn. Based on the number of questions I hear per day, I'd say he could write an entire Encyclopedia (Side note: Remember when we actually had to look up information in a hard copy of an encyclopedia? Craziness).

Although he is certainly in the midst of that oh-so-fun stage of testing limits, he rarely requires time outs anymore and is usually a good listener. 

He is my little buddy, and there are no words for how much I love this child.

Raleigh, age 10 months

She also continues to be long and lean: She weighed 18.5 pounds (42nd percentile) and was 29.75 inches (98th percentile) at her 9-month well check. She wears 12-month clothing, Size 3.5 shoes, and Size 3 diapers. People often comment about how tall she is (Side note: A very nice gentleman looked at Raleigh and commented that "he" was such a good-natured baby when my family and I were out doing our annual Black Friday shopping trip, at which point his wife pointed out the gigantic pink bow on her head. No, sir, I do not cross-dress my baby.). 

She is still breastfed and nurses four times per day. She is also a good eater and eats only table food now, taking in three hefty meals a day along with a snack.

She takes two naps per day, which can range anywhere from 30-40 minutes each (which is most typical) or a couple of hours (very, very, very rare). She goes to bed at 8:00 pm and usually wakes up between 6:00 and 6:30 am, although she will hang out in her crib for a good 30 minutes or so before I come in at 6:45 am to nurse her.

She still just has two bottom teeth, with no signs of any others to speak of just yet. She no longer takes a paci, actually she hasn't for about 7 months now, and does not suck her thumb or fingers.

She is starting to walk! She has taken 5 steps without assistance but averages 2 to 3 on most attempts; however, she will rock that walk like nobody's business when holding on to just one of my fingers. Once she builds up her confidence, she'll be up and running!

She is able to say a handful of words, including Momma, Dada, ball, bubble, and bye-bye (while waving). I guess she's a fan of /b/ words so far.

She will point to "eyes" on command but no other body parts just yet. She will also give kisses when asked that will just melt your heart.

She LOVES to make people laugh. If she does something and someone laughs at her, she will do it over and over, looking at them each time she does it and waiting for the laughter in response.

She also enjoys dancing, bobbing her sweet little round head and bouncing up and down whenever she hears a good beat.

She is in the midst of having horrible separation anxiety. As in, will not let another person (besides her Daddy) hold her when her Momma is in the room. People have asked if I think she is struggling with this because she is around me all day, every day. Nope. This is a completely normal stage of development, one that her big brother really struggled with at her age, for many, many months, despite being in childcare full-time. Regardless, I'll be happy when it's over. I know other people besides her Daddy and me want to snuggle her.

She just loves her big brother so much. Her face lights up when she sees him, and she gives the best laughs to him. She loves chasing him around and having him pull her in her mini wagon. 

She is my sweet, dainty little lady, and she is just heaven on Earth.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Accident

Last week, I was in a car accident.

Wait. Hold on. Let's not get over-dramatic here.

I was in a car wreck. 

Nope. Still not right.

A car incident?

Anyway, here's what happened. And here's why I'm thankful that it happened.

I was on my way to take my son to school, with both of my kiddos strapped in their respective carseats in the back seat. I was telling them the story of the "Three Little Pigs" (again), per my son's request. I was behind a mini van at a stoplight. I needed to turn right. So, I began to pull into the right turning lane, which put me directly next to the van


My driver's side mirror was shattered. There was a baseball-sized hole in my door. What in the world?!

I looked at the van and saw a 50-ish-year-old woman in the driver's seat and large, grown man in the passenger seat. I quickly pieced together that the man had attempted to escape the car and had flung his door open with such force that it had caused my mirror to shatter and door to be damaged. 

I was shaken. Confused. And being riddled with questions by my son, who was also unclear about what had just happened. 

I called my hub, who instructed me to call the police. But just before I could hang up with him, I saw the man begin punching the woman. In the face.

Yes, you read that right. He was punching her in the face.

She was trying to push him away. He would stop momentarily but then go after her again. 

My gut instinct kicked in. I jumped out of the car to try and help her.

Then, my common sense (and motherly instinct) kicked in. I jumped back in my car to protect my children and myself, if need be.

I called 911 and was immediately patched through to the police department. As I was describing what was going on, a stroke of good luck: Blue lights began flashing behind us. An undercover police car just happened to be in the line of increasing traffic behind us. 

I jumped back out of my car, "He's hitting her! He's hitting her!"

The police officer was calm as he explained to me something I never saw coming:

This was a well known family in the community. The grown man wasn't the woman's spouse. Or boyfriend. Or significant other. 

He was her son. Her grown son. Her grown son who was "severely autistic." Her grown son who was "severely autistic" who had been put on a new medication a few days prior and was now experiencing aggression as an adverse side effect. The family had an appointment with his psychiatrist and psychologist later that morning to change the medication and address his growing irritability, agitation, and aggression.

I was in the wrong place at the wrong time

Or, maybe, just maybe, the right place at the right time. 

He had tried to escape from the van. We were sitting at a busy intersection. My door stopped him from escaping. 

He was her adult son, with severe intellectual disability and autism. I am a child psychologist. And Momma.

Once he was calm, and his momma and I were able to talk, she sobbed, repeatedly insisting that he is truly a sweet boy. This behavior I had witnessed was the medication. 

As tears filled my eyes, I reiterated over and over: I know. I know. I believe you. It's not him. It's the medication.

I explained to her my history of diagnosing and treating children with autism spectrum disorders. I get it. I mean I really get it. I know it's not him. I know it's the medication.

There were tears. Hugs. Words of encouragement. And, as I finally drove away, a big smile and wave from her son. 

So, why am I thankful that this happened?        

I am thankful that I was there to offer her a kind smile, a warm embrace, and words of encouragement, prayer, and understanding. She is a Momma. I am a Momma. Our children may be different, but it's clear we Mommas, we love our children with all we've got.

I am thankful that she was there to remind me of the beauty of motherhood. The strength of motherhood. The grace of motherhood. The love of motherhood. 

So, thankful. Yes, I am oh so thankful.

And with that, I am off to soak in my family for the rest of this week of thanks and giving.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. See you next week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Family Fill-In: It's Nice to do Nice Things (Part 2)

In case you missed it from last Friday's post, it's Random Acts of Kindness month in our home this month.

Our motto: "It's nice to do nice things for people."

Our goal: Brighten the day of unsuspecting others by giving them a moment of unexpected happiness. 

Y'all? This has rocked my socks. Seriously. There is nothing like hearing my little buddy recite our motto, or ask what nice thing we're doing today, or smile so big when he realizes we are doing something kind.

I highly recommend it. So, please join us. Spread kindness. You won't regret it.

Here are just a few of the things we've done over the last week:

We let someone go in front of us in the cashier's line

We left a package of books in front of a local museum for a little reader to discover and take home


We purchased a bracelet to support a little girl fighting a battle against leukemia

 We took freshly baked cookies to the local fire department

 We left encouraging words on a public restroom mirror

And tomorrow, something we're quite proud of: We recently helped raise money in my late grandfather-in-law's name and will be helping to assemble and deliver Thanksgiving meals to 80 families in the Aiken, South Carolina community.

Onward we go in our mission to be thankful for what we have and giving to unsuspecting others. We hope you'll join us in this mission.