our home salon


she makes me laugh.

yesterday caroline was the always-sweet-big-sister that bought hadley a surprise with her own money. it was a pink hairstyling set.  hadley was super excited for us to try out the comb, brush, curlers, and hair dryer. so i set up a stool for her to sit on at our pretend salon.

me: "hadley, come downstairs to my salon and i will fix your hair for you," i say as i am pointing to the stool in front of me.

hadley: "and anyway mom, my hair isn't even broken."

that made me laugh.


our life ordinary... the caroline session

just an update on the girls (individually because together made this post too long) at this point in their lives, on this thursday, aug 21st.

by the way, august is flying by. only a few days till september. it was a quick month.

she started her new school! and i have to say it is going so, so well. so much better than i anticipated. i am so thankful that she is a brave, social kid. i really think after the first five minutes in her new homeroom at her new school with all new students that she was at home. i love and admire that about her. i don't do near as well with change as she does. luckily her teachers are all wonderful and haven't bombarded her with too much homework yet. i'd say an average of 30 minutes so far. and for a school known for a lot of homework, we aren't complaining. german, it is going great. i love hearing her learn a new language. it isn't the softest language so we get a kick out of some of the sounds and words. though it hit me in the car yesterday when she was saying these words that i didn't know what they meant, that we are going to be in trouble come high school when she is able to have complete conversations with her friends and we will not have a clue as to what she is saying. hmmm... maybe german is in my future, too. i should mention that one new thing that took caroline by surprise at her new school is a male teacher. her homeroom teacher is a man and she has never had a man teacher before. it was pretty funny just how surprised she seemed... maybe not in a good way though.

i am not being unrealistic here about the school year. i know it is going to get much tougher. i know the homework will get longer. i know the tests will get more difficult. i know the tears will come. i also know that this kid is equipped to handle it. she is up for the challenge. her competitive nature can be a curse, but a blessing as well.

and no uniform! it is working out so well for her. i love my sporty, stylish girl who is not afraid to mix skirts, with sweatshirts, with necklaces, with sneakers. she is fashionable. picking out her clothes the night before is really a great process so far that we really have to stick with. unlike last year, caroline wakes up at 6:20am now (last year was like 6:45), goes in the bathroom to get ready, then comes downstairs to eat breakfast. she does better knowing how much free time she has left after she is all ready. last year she took too much time watching a show while eating breakfast, leaving herself 10 minutes to frantically get ready. i like this way much better. less yelling and crying is always a better thing.

she also started team gymnastics at a new gym (did i mention she doesn't shudder with change).  her last gym did not have team. the gym before that did not have hours conducive of working parents. so this new gym has the best of both worlds... later start times, weekend classes, and a team. this is the same gym that hadley takes gymnastics at on saturday mornings. caroline's gym schedule is wed & sat for 2 hours per class. they work these girls.... running, ab exercises, rope climbing. it isn't just jumps, balance, and twirls! it is real strength and endurance training, as well as the basics. last night was her first class and she was very exhausted. can't wait to see her start competing.

that is it on lb. as if that isn't enough.

our life ordinary... the hadley session

hadley. hadley. hadley.

let me start off by saying that hadley recently decided to change her own name. i called her by her name last week, hadley gray. she quickly blurted out to me that her name is "hadley mae fortune." uhmmm.... what? i have no idea, none at all, where she got mae from? it isn't like she didn't know her name was gray. she knew. she just decided on her own accord that mae is a more suitable name for herself i guess. i just went with it. as a parent has to do.

so hadley had a bit of a rough week two weeks ago. i think she caught whatever bug is going around that is cough and congestion. unfortunately when this girl gets a cough.... she gets a COUGH. it keeps her up. it lasts for weeks. it involves multiple breathing treatments. fortunately this time around though it did not involve any hospital visits. that is always a treat. she is on the mend  now and sleeping better at least. her cough reappears when she is too active but it is impossible to tell the girl to slow down. not in her vocabulary.

what else is going on with hads? on a positive note, the girl is wearing socks! what the what! socks you say. she surely is. so proud of her for yet another thing that she worked hard at with therapy and brushing, and was able to change. she is a force to be reckoned with. spd has nothing on her. she does what she wants to do when she wants to do it. that is just how this kid works.  after having endured weeks of smelly feet, which was the direct result of princess light-up sneakers without socks, i think she just couldn't take it anymore.  we went to target, she picked out "sport socks" as she calls them, and she wore them. and has worn them all week long. 

look how cute she is in her socks. the sneakers are cute as well but only lasted one day. she hasn't put those things on since.

not sure why every time the camera comes out, this face does too? she prefers herself with a funny face i guess. again, i'm just rolling with it. hadley is hadley.

we discovered a new food last week that hadley likes. subs. how strange a food for very picky toddler to like but she does. she ate the entire thing up. bread, turkey, lettuce, mayo, oil, and vinegar. all of it. ate it up. even caroline was impressed with hadley's decision to eat a sub.

i mentioned in the caroline session that hadley does gymnastics. she takes it on saturday mornings and it is perfect for her. it is kind of "hard work" like her OT therapist recommends. she does lots of climbing, jumping, hanging, swinging, and stretching. it is a lot of fun for her. she has really taken to her coach, Coach Ryan. one day he wasn't there and hadley didn't even participate in the class. i think she is kind of the opposite of caroline with change, in that she doesn't really care for it.

so that is the update on hadley. making more and more strides each week, even if that week is a terrible week full of tantrums, yelling, kicking, crying, and hitting. she isn't perfect. she has bad days. she has really bad days. she can still always bring a smile to our faces.


wordless wednesday

back to backpacks

we are counting down the days until caroline starts her new school. 19 in fact.  summer has gone by so quickly. i am not complaining. i prefer the fall time, when schedules are routine, it gets darker earlier, and the flying bugs go away.

caroline and i are going school shopping next week with her cousins. as you can imagine, we are super excited about school shopping this year because the new school does not have a uniform. how awesome is that. this is a first for caroline. clothes purchased can now be colors other than navy, white, and red! she can wear jeans, tees, and active wear if she wants. so fun. can't wait to see what she ends up getting. though i have a feeling it will be mostly active wear. wish i could get jeans on the girl.

i took a peek online at backpacks just to get an idea of what's out there.

my favs for caroline are:








what i like and what caroline likes usually ends up being two completely different things these days. i will definitely share what she ends up with and we can see if it is anything close to my ideas above.


feets in sneaks

not sure if it had to do with OT, or it was just the right time, or possibly because it was her own idea... whatever the reason, hadley wore sneakers all day today. sneakers! on both feet. rubber soles. velcro fasteners. a princess and lights. she wore it all. 
she asked me this morning for light up shoes like lauren (school friend) has. i said, "sure, we can get some today," thinking she'd either change her mind or forget. two hours later she asked again. so off to stride rite we went. i had no idea where else to get overpriced shoes w lights on them. as soon as we walked in i asked the sales clerk for the sneakers with lights. then i saw hadley point, without hesitation, to a belle pair. she tried them on and didn't take them off for the next five hours. she wore them out of the store. not her flip flops. 

tomorrow will be the real test. i still have the receipt. today could have been a complete fluke but I really hope not. 

people don't usually think twice about a child in sneakers. that's probably the most common, most popular shoe for all kids. as you know though, that's not the case in our house. so our kid wearing the normal childhood shoe is huge. such a great shoe for her to run free in, as a child does. a shoe that is so much safer on a playground to climb in. a shoe that is great for playing soccer in. and to her, it's just a shoe now that doesn't shake, is tight thanks to velcro, and happily sports fun lights when she takes steps. 
it's just so exciting. 

she didn't know i was taking her picture here or she probably would have removed the sneakers. with her, if you point anything out even in a positive way, she'll usually remove or undo whatever you're commenting on. so we've learned to not do this with her. it's very hard sometimes.

we were headed out to a friend's 50th birthday party and she was still wearing her new sneakers. you can kind of see one poking out from under her dress. 

we will see what's to come of the sneaks on her feets ;) 
i will keep everyone posted 


a few days after

I can not even begin to thank everyone who took the  time to read my last blog post about hads and spd. the outpouring of love and support was amazing. encouragement, people, goes a long way with me. the boost gave me something to run on. and when I have a boost, the kids really benefit. so thank you. i encourage you to stick around and see how our journey continues.

our weekend was a super busy one that involved a lot of activity. on saturday, the girls and i hiked at the old roswell mill with my sister, brother-in-law, and their two kids. it was a beautiful but very exhausting hike. we've actually never hiked before but definitely want to do it again. i need to do it again and more often because there is nothing like physical work to smack you upside the head and tell you just how out of shape you are. and by you, i mean me. i am so out of shape. i was sweating nonstop and breathing pretty hard, and i don't think i saw caroline sweat or look tired even once. it was pretty sad actually. note to self- you need to exercise more!  saturday evening we had my sister-in-law and her two kids over for some playtime. on sunday, the husband and the girls rode bikes at a park nearby our house. seeing how i don't have a bike, i was voted off that ship so i ran instead. i tried to keep up but that didn't last long because as mentioned before, I AM OUT OF SHAPE.  after that, we swam. so a lot of activity indeed.

we did manage to get in a few sensory activities at home as well (i am counting the hiking and swimming as sensory work). the girls played with whipped cream on cookie sheets. in the past we have done this with shaving cream but thought the edible part of whipped cream would add some fun. hads took her time warming up to it. at first only putting her left pointer finger tip into it. then two fingers, still only the tips. then she tasted it and tasted it and tasted it some more. this was a first for her. she usually squeals at the site of whipped cream but i guess because she played with it first, it changed her view. now maybe we can start getting it on our milkshakes again? finally, hadley was able to get two whole hands in the mess. she wasn't crazy about it at all but she did it. it always helps when her big sister is involved and having fun, too.

 i told caroline to "smell" the whipped cream. she fell for it! 

they are so fun together


all in a day

so i've been delaying a post about this for a while because i just didn't know where to start, how to write it, or what to say. every time i thought of a way to start out writing, it just didn't happen.

i am just going to type and see what comes out.

at hadley's 3 year well visit with her pediatrician i brought up my two concerns with hadley, which were her clothing issues (read about that here) and how she still puts everything in her mouth. both of which were issues in there own right. the clothing since she definitely doesn't dress weather appropriate and the mouth thing was a worry because i didn't want to see her choke on anything. she was putting toys, rubber bands, jewelry, coins, fingers, feet, etc in her mouth still, like a baby would. i didn't think that was the norm for a 3 year old. her ped recommended we get hadley evaluated by an occupational therapist. easy enough.

her first OT evaluation was 2 hours long. basically they had me fill out lots of questionnaires on had's behavior and they watched hadley do an array of activities from playing with beans, to finger painting, climbing, riding, and walking.  all to see what she could do, how she did it, and what was her reaction when doing certain activities. her evaluation resulted in had's diagnosis of sensory processing disorder. i can say i was and i wasn't surprised by this. i really thought hads had issues with those two areas but kind of just thought that was all there was to it. once they said sensory processing, it kind of made sense. as i started to read up on it, i could see that she really fit into the category. a lot of the things that i just chalked up to being toddler behavior or hadley quirks were really indicative of this sensory issue.

obviously all of her issues with clothes, shoes, and "moutheness"(great new word) are a result of this and were of no surprise. how she doesn't like to feel certain textures on her skin, not liking clothes or her shoes to "shake," as she calls it, and not liking the way any bumps or strings feel in her socks are all issues of hads. as are pushing her pant legs and coat sleeves up. all of these things i could see how they put her into the spd category. it was things like walking on her tip toes, picking her nose till it bleeds(which she does nightly to put herself to sleep), not letting us kiss her, not being overly touchy-feely with us, bothered by certain smells (sadly, she was quick to tell me to look the other way in the morning because i smelled. nice, right), not liking loud noises and covering her ears with her hands in reaction to it, being a picky eater, not liking her hair brushed or styled in anyway that involved clips or bands, chewing on everything, forcefully and randomly crashing into me, hanging on me, and quick to tantrum when something is just "off" in her eyes are all things that hads does that are in line with spd as well. i am not sure why i did not put that together sooner.

hadley is about 4 sessions into her occupational therapy. we are learning a lot. we immediately started the wilbarger brushing therapy at home. of course her therapist taught us how to do this because i had absolutely no idea what to do. we were supposed to brush her arms, legs, and back every 2  hours and immediately follow that up with joint compressions. joint compressions could be done manually or simply by having her jump up and down. however, seeing how the husband and i both work full-time, we would brush hadley in the morning and then twice in the evening. we did try to stick to the every 2 hours of brushing on the weekend. we did it like this for the first two weeks. now we try to remember to do it a few times a day or even once a day when we are terribly forgetful parents. hadley really enjoys this brushing technique. i think it both soothes her and gives her the sensation her body craves. i am hopeful that this method will eventually improve hadley's clothing issues, which still exist. i don't expect immediate results but do see some positive changes already in her.

hadley is a sensory seeker so her OT involves a lot of heavy work like pushing heavy items(bin w beans in it), pulling herself on a scooter using her arms, bear crawls, crab crawls, rope climbs, and lots of jumping(floor or trampoline). all of these things give her body a sense of pressure on her joints that it seems to crave.  her OT suggests hadley do these types of things everyday, aiming for at least one big stint of heavy work for 10 minutes. some days we hit the mark, others not so much. it just isn't ingrained yet and i don't naturally think to make my 3 year old girl do heavy work. then her behavior shows me otherwise. when she is quick to be mean or to have a tantrum, it is then i realize that she hasn't done any.

we are in the process of trying to get our playroom set up so that it is a place where hadley and caroline both get to play and have fun, but also suggests heavy play for hadley. we have a ball pit, slide, sensory table (which is a water table with dry pasta in it right now), and a ball to bounce on. my next additions to the room will be a swing and some scooters. i think in the end the room will be encouraging of active play, which both girls benefit from.

here is the thing though. i am nervous about sensory issues. i don't want my kid, who already has so many health issues, to have anything else major on her plate. i don't want her to have any long term issues with learning, making friends, or even eating. i don't want any other diagnosis to come along with this one because so many of the blogs i have come across show children with spd who also have either or both autism or adhd. i am selfishly praying that hadley's only other hurdle on top of her asthma and reflux is the spd. and i am holding out that OT will take care of a lot of these issues. maybe that isn't fair of me to say i don't want spd or anything else of the like since i know so many other families deal with so much more, but when it is my kid i am talking about, i don't want her to deal with anything. i want life, and all that entails, to come easy to her. i want to be able to understand her and what she thinks and feels. i don't want to have to guess like we do now with her asthma. if there are going to be issues, i prefer clear, concrete ones that have clear, concrete solutions. anything outside of that is just hard.

i don't think hadley's sensory issues let her stand out in a crowd. i think you'd have to spend a certain amount of time with her to see them but they are there and make things tough. one minute she is happy and laughing, the next she is full on tantrum and not very consolable. we really have a hard time distinguishing what is just basic 3 year old toddler behavior vs the spd thing. i do remember three being the hardest age with caroline when she was little so it does act as a good reminder that this age is generally tough.

i am a little overwhelmed by it all. i really want to set my kids up for success. here is why i am overwhelmed though... because there is just so much that you have to do and be great at for your kids to be their best. so normally on any given day as a parent i would have to encourage imaginative play, work with them on basics like numbers and letters, sing and read to them, paint, color, draw, write, glue, cut, trace, etc. that is a lot. now on top of that let's throw in hard work... so pushing, pulling, jumping, running, crawling, and climbing. and the brushing. also the normal daily things all kids have to do like eat, sleep, and basic hygiene. are there even enough hours in the day? how on earth am i going to accomplish this all in one day for two children? i am already drowning a bit and so, of course, fear i will fail the girls. and the worry. there is lots of that. i worry about caroline again. hadley requires more attention but caroline craves attention. i don't want her to ever feel left out or overlooked.  man, this parenting stuff is the toughest thing ever. how do some moms make it look so easy. i can't hide it. it shows in my grey hair and wrinkles that i am overwhelmed.

but once i take a deep breath and step out of my pity party, i can somewhat see everything as a big picture type thing. i realize i just have to do the best i can for both girls one day at a time. that is the reality i need to live in. that is how the girls will both be successful as individuals.

back to hadley and spd, it stinks. wish it wasn't there. we are going to keep her with OT as long as we can, we will do heavy work with her at home, and we will wait and watch to see continued growth with and for her. we sure love this girl a lot, when she is happy, mean, funny, sad, angry, silly, whatever. she is an amazing package and we are so blessed to have her.

here is a first. may not look like much to your average eye, but to my eye i see a girl who is wearing two braids in her hair for he very first time ever. baby steps. yes, please!