Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rock Bottom

There's supposed to be a point in your trials when they get so bad/hard that "it can only go uphill from here." Over the last year and a half I've thought I hit that point many, many times...and then it gets worse. I'm happy to announce that we must have hit rock bottom because something has finally gotten better. I've been offered a job as an after-school tutor in partnership with a local school district. I tell you--it's hard to find a part-time, after-school-hours, flexible-start-time kind of job to fit our family's schedule. This one isn't very many hours but I'm really excited to use my teaching experience and have a job again.

And I guess I've never really been at rock bottom since I've always had this lil' cutie pie with me. The biggest change I've noticed over the fast few weeks is hard to show in pictures because it's a lot of cognitive development. I'm realizing that even though Evan doesn't point to things or repeat words he actually does understand some things and can show it by looking at the object or responding to the command. The two words I know he knows for sure are "ball" and "clap." It's so fun to interact with him and feel like there is mutual understanding. He is one funny kid with a whole lot of personality.

Blowing raspberries during church is one of Evan's favorite things to do
Evan tried on cousin Maya's skinny jeans to look more like Uncle Austin

One night Evan discovered the wipes and started pulling them out one by one. Isaiah and I just started laughing and I said, "Oh no, we're at that stage." I'm excited.
Notice the guitar leg warmers...they were $3 online and work dual-y to keep his kinesio tape on and to protect his legs while he crawls around
We got this adorable sleeper (size 2T) from the Schetselaar's when Evan was a tiny preemie and I remember thinking, "What?! He's NEVER going to fit into this HUGE thing!" And now he does. :)
Independent standing--a little bit at a time. This makes me SO happy!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Before yesterday Evan never really put any weight on his legs...ever. Not even with our support or anything. He can jump in his jumperoo and kick, so we knew he had strength in his legs, but this was such a delightful surprise yesterday:

Just the first step of MANY more to come on the road to walking. SO thrilled! We rewarded him with a cookie.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Last Halloween we showed up at my parent's door with a 3 week old baby on oxygen.

We've come so far!

Yesterday Evan and I started a play group with a few families in our town. They bring their kids over for an hour or so and the kids play with toys while the mamas chat with each other. I think Evan was glad to be the only male among 4 darling little girls. (Next week there will be another family with 3 more girls!) He certainly needs to become better at socializing with other people and being less clingy with me.

Our ward had a trunk-or-treat at night where I made a little Charlie Brown scene to compliment Evan's costume. Yes, family, you read that correctly. I made that scene. All by myself. Artistically-challenged little Jenna drew it and colored it and cut it out. I was mighty proud of myself. I even made the mal-formed oak leaves. Okay, so I'm not perfect yet. Evan trunk-or-treated to a few cars and enjoyed his first real candies--Milky Way and Laffy Taffy and Smarties. He wouldn't drink his bottle at night.

Oh, and on the note of my newly-discovered artistic talent, yes, I carved this pumpkin. All by myself. Since the parts were so detailed they shrunk like crazy and looked terrible by Halloween night but it was fun while it lasted.

Now, cousin Aisley requested more pictures of Evan so these playtime action shots are for you, Aisley!

In that last picture you can see his beautiful fat lip, a true sign of a mobile child. :)

When we moved to California Evan was 9 months old. Just a few weeks before we moved he could not sit up, roll over, hold his bottle, or crawl. I know that kiddos with spina bifida often develop these skills slower than average, but Evan seemed to be even slower than the average kid with spina bifida. BUT--in just 4 short months since then he's learned how to do all those things! He feeds himself, sits up, rolls over, climbs up on things, and just two days ago started 4-point crawling most of the time. We're so excited! We've put some large decorative pillows all over the front room. Evan loves crawling to one pillow and then collapsing on top of it, arms spread out. Then he crawls to another pillow and crashes. And then he crawls onto me and crashes. It's fun to see him be so much more autonomous. I can better tell his preferences between food, toys, and activities.

He eats everything on the floor. I usually let him eat tiny pieces of junk but I pull away bigger pieces or things I know are the live spider he was poking around with his finger. "No, no Evan. That's yucky!"

If Evan sees his stroller, he has to get a ride. If I start walking away he throws a fit, which is slightly funny to me. I'm sure it will drive me crazy later on but for now I'm happy to know he has a working brain with opinions and a personality. He loves watching the stroller buckle get clipped into place and then he holds it like a belt buckle for the entire ride. We often walk circles around the inside of the house. Every day when Grandpa gets home he takes Evan on a stroller ride to check the mail. It's pretty much the only time Evan enjoys being with Grandpa. (Again, we need to work on the clingy-ness.)

It's funny how Evan thinks my name is "dadadadadada". I'm sure that's why he says "dada" and not "mama". He can also blow raspberries but that's about the extent of his vocabulary. Last time at speech he only made two vocalizations the entire hour. Still working on this.

We're also continuing to work on his hands. Sometimes when he crawls his hands are tucked in and sometimes they are spread out. Sometimes he can do things with just one hand but usually his other hand is squeezing or clenching to mimic the moving hand. It's so interesting to me to see this tiny human I created moving around.