My Little Tortoise

I love recording memories during this time. Especially when Abigail is changing almost overnight! I have photo albums, an app, journals, and baby books (and this blog of course) that I use to record this time in our lives. It might seem like overkill, and I know if a second child comes along all that might not be possible to keep up with. Hopefully my poor second child will not be forgotten and left out of baby memories, at least I am going to try to do my best when the time comes. It is wonderful to go back and look at what was happening a year or two ago, and see where we are today. This time two years ago I was about 38 weeks pregnant, and ready to meet our little girl. How time flies!!

But as I sat filling out Abigail’s baby book last night in preparation for her second birthday, I came across blanks everywhere in the ‘Firsts’ section of the book. When was the first time your baby sat up? When was the first time your baby crawled? When did your baby take their first steps? When did your baby first hold their sippy cup? All blank. But, oddly it brought a smile to my face. I just wanted to ditch the baby book and create a whole new baby book unique for Abigail. The questions would read more like, ‘What brings a smile to your face when you see Abigail? What is she good at? What are some of Abigail’s skills?’

Abigail has the ability to do so much more now than she ever could! In just the last few weeks our little girl has learned so many new things. She is responding to commands. She can now lift her leg, blow kisses, clap, and lift her head when you ask her. It is exciting to be able to communicate with Abigail and know she is understanding what you are saying. She is also blowing tummy time out of the water! This baby used to hate, and I mean cry when ever you even attempted to place her on her tummy, tummy time. She could tolerate about three minutes and then she was done. She would lay her head down in defeat because she just did not have the strength to do it any longer. Today, she laughs and smiles and plays while on her tummy, and she never complains or lays her head down even after 10 or 15 minutes!!! Her physical therapist is even trying to teach her how to army crawl in hopes of giving her some mobility soon! It gives me hope for her future.

I believe Abigail will be able to talk, roll around and sit some day. It might be tomorrow or it might be 4 years from now but she shows she has the potential to do these things. Her trunk and arms are getting stronger each and every day. She is getting louder as she babbles to us. In the car I feel like sometimes I need earplugs with her constant squealing. She is rolling from side to side and flipping over from her back to her stomach and visa versa when she decides she wants to. I know we have the potential to have a roller soon and that excites me!!! My baby could be independently mobile!! Honestly, I would just love for her to be able to sit on her own. Then she could play so much easier and we could do so much more with her. We just have to get Abigail some abs!

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It is a s-l-o-w process. We have been working on tummy time since day 1. We have been working on prop sitting for almost 18 months. And we have been working on talking and babbling for about a year now. It has been a long two years of waiting to see what exactly this little girl is capable of, and it is amazing to know we still do not know. She has so much potential in her tiny little body. But that is what keeps me going – the potential for change, for improvement, for independence. To imagine Abigail one day being able to communicate with us or being able to move herself around brings tears to my eyes. I know this day might still be a long ways coming. I mean she has been able to prop sit for over a year now and not once shown any desire to even attempt to sit on her own. Did I mention she is also a little stubborn and independent? If anyone asks, she got it from her daddy. Unless Abigail wants to do something, she will not do it. Trying to get that child into her positions to exercise her is a trip. For a baby who seems to have no muscle tone, she is STRONG, and she will fight you with all she has to not be put into a certain position. But this is also good because at least she has muscles to fight with!

Abigail reminds me of the tortoise in the “Tortoise and the Hare” story. All the other toddlers her age are running laps around her right now, literally. But Abigail is not concerned with them. She is marching steadily on in her very, very slow speed. Still gaining ground everyday, but you wonder if she will ever get to the finish line. Right now it does not look like it most days. But I just think of the end of the story. It is the tortoise that wins the race. I do not say that to say that all the hares will lose, but maybe the tortoise had something going for him. He enjoyed every leg of the journey. He was not rushed or hindered by anyone else. He did not try to keep up with his neighbor. He was on his own journey, loving every minute of it and honestly he probably did not think he would even win himself. Maybe, as always, my little tortoise will teach me something yet. This life is not about how fast you get to the end. We will all get there one way or the other. But life is the journey. Am I enjoying each day? Am I living each day to the fullest? Am I doing my best in everything God has called me to? Abigail may be my little tortoise, but maybe that tortoise will be a winner yet!!!

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About Me

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For those who need to see hope in this world.

For those who want encouragement in parenting.

For those who want honesty about living with a child with special needs.

This blog offers a positive view on children with special needs; written for special needs moms, stay at home moms, and those who are interested in my daughter’s progress. If you love inspirational writings, adorable toddler stories, and a heart felt love for children than this is the blog for you! The posts on this site include stories of my daughter’s progress, things I have learned from being her mother, and life with a special needs toddler because she is the inspiration behind all I write. The journey with our daughter started when she was two months old. It has been an almost two year process of tests, therapy and tears and we still are not sure why causes our daughter’s developmentally delay. This blog tells our story of the day-to-day life as we discover how to love each other through the delay.

Welcome to our family! My name is Heather. My husband, Jordan and I were married February 1, 2014 and we had our beautiful daughter, Abigail in May 2015. My husband works hard providing for us at his retail job while I stay at home with our joyful little girl. She keeps me busy between occupational, physical, and speech therapy. We live in Atlanta, Georgia, and love spending time as a family. We are active in our local church and are Christians who love God and have an intimate relationship with Him. My prayer for this blog is that it would inspire you to love others more and encourage you in ways you could never imagine. Life is hard, and we are often dealt cards we were not expecting, but those hard, unexpected things are sometimes the greatest blessings. That is what Abigail is to my husband and I, a great blessing! Abigail gives us encounters everyday that we treasure with all our hearts.

So please, if this blog sounds like a good read, subscribe to my posts! Send me an e-mail with comments or questions, or find me on social media. You can find all the links on the left side of my home page. I want to tell our story and help others with theirs. Thank-you for stopping by, and hopefully we will talk to each other soon!

The Perfect Mom

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I am not perfect. In fact most days I am not even that good. I spend more time on my phone and on social media than I would like. I get impatient with Abigail. I brush off her whines to be played with or held so I can finish that one load of laundry that just has to be done. I am selfish with my desires and time. Often at the end of the day I can see the moments I should have done things differently or had a better attitude or reaction to something that happened earlier in the day.

However, despite my imperfections I love being a mom. God blessed me with my daughter and she is my responsibility to raise, and I am thankful for this even on the hard days. Raising children is not easy. They need a lot of things and attention especially when they are young. I know the teenage years come with its own list of demands and worries as every new stage of childhood does, but right now I am in the infant, dependency stage. To think that God gave you children to raise is a huge honor and one not to be taken lightly. So often we forget the big picture as we struggle through the daily grind of dirt, feeding, and playing. We forget that we only have these little people in our lives for a short period of time before they grow up and leave our houses to build lives of their own. Babies do not keep. Babies become adults out in the world who have an impact for the good or for the worse. We all want our kids to be world changers and lights in a dark world, but are we modeling that in our homes everyday with our children now?

Motherhood is a blessing. Those little arms that reach around you at just the perfect time make your whole day better. Watching your children learn and discovery as their personalities bloom in front of you is a treasure in and of itself. Knowing that this little child will soon be replaced with a man or woman making their own decisions, makes you want to store every possible memory of them you can. Yes, days can be long between the complaining, whining, cleaning, and hunting for that lost shoe. But God gave us children to enjoy, to nurture, and to teach and He trusts us with that precious child each and every day. Motherhood not only shapes the child, but it transforms you too as you learn from those precious little lives about child-like faith, dependence, and brings you face to face with your own selfish desires. God uses motherhood to mold us as we mold our children after God.

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Children are a blessing. I still remember the first day we went to listen to Abigail’s heartbeat at the OBGYN’s office. We were about 8 weeks pregnant. I had already been experiencing night sickness for about 3 weeks, but that tiny whoosing on the monitor made everything just stop for a moment. I wish that they could give every mom a recording of that precious sound. It is the sound of life. Children bring life into everything they touch. They bring joy and laughter and fun. The way they see things is astounding, and makes you realize how much the world influences you daily. Children find more joy and laughter in the simple things of life. They would rather play in the giant cardboard box than the new toy they just received. Children make life seem so simple, and they can teach us so much.

I know I am not a perfect mom, and I know I never will be. Mistakes happen, reactions will come out too fast, and time will be mismanaged. However, I want my kids to know that I was the best mother I could be. I want to be their mom that they love. I want them to know that they are loved and that we are so proud of them. I want them to know that the love God has for them trumps my love 100 fold. I want them to be children, and let innocence reign for as long as possible. I want them to feel safe in my arms, and know I will be there to support and encourage them all day, every day. I want my children to laugh and love. I want them to be different than the world, and shine in the darkness. I want them to know and understand the Truth and know God’s Word. I want my children to love one another and love others. I want them to not be afraid to be who God created them to be.

Today, I pray, not to be a perfect mom, but to be the mom Abigail needs. I pray that you will be the parent your child needs. Let us remember the big picture, that these children will not be children forever. God gives us these little lives only for a short time to raise, and then we send them out. But they are not alone! Our God who loves our children so much more than we ever could is with them every step of the way. Let us remind our children of that daily, and then remind ourselves of that even more. May your season of motherhood be blessed!

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How Time Flies

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Today marks one year since I posted the first blog about Abigail and shared our story on here. A whole year since “Hush Little Baby” was written. I was reading over this post earlier today and I am so glad I started this blog. I was scared to at first because I was not sure what to write and how to share our story. Abigail is an odd bird. I wanted people to be encouraged by her story of the unknown. I wanted to share Abigail’s joy and love with the world. But I did not want to come across that we were wallowing in misery over here. Because we are not. Life is wonderful and I would not trade my baby with anyone. She is perfect in every way!! But I have been encouraged and have found hope through writing. It is a great way for me to process all my thoughts, and I am delighted now to share with my readers. In the year since I have been writing I have written 26 posts and over 1300 people have visited this page!! What a praise!!! I do not tell you that brag about myself, but to say I have dreams and goals that this blog will hopefully touch more and more people.

Since writing my first post so much has changed and yet, so little has changed. We are still in the midst of the unknown. (In the Midst of the Unknown) We still do not have any answers as to why Abigail is how she is. Abigail still cannot sit or walk. But my goodness, have we seen this girl improve!!! She is learning new things everyday. If you have not seen her video of all her new ‘tricks’ you can check it out here, on my Facebook page under videos. But she now rolls from side to side, and can flip over when she wants to. She is talking more and more and can say mama and dada. She loves to squeal in happiness and is getting pretty good at mimicking you. She also eats like a champ which is a big deal for us!

This almost two-year old is not the same baby as a year ago. She loves people and is very social! She works so hard in therapy and at home as she gets stronger everyday. She plays with her toys and learns something new everyday I swear. She sees and focuses on things in her environment and reaches out for people and objects that catch her attention. She hates being left by anyone, but she can play by herself and roll over to get her toys. Such a difference from the nine month old who barely did anything. She just was not interested in playing or interacting. But now she barely stops to nap.

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Abigail one year ago, eleven months old. That hair!!

Today has been a blog in review kind of day as I have gone through my posts and reminisced. I am so glad I have these to remember my thoughts and feelings during these first few years of Abigail’s life. So many of these blogs still hold true. Abigail is still “my pint-sized teacher” as she teaches me new things everyday. She still cracks us up like in “our joy” and through her God is still learning life lessons like in “the big picture“. But my favorite blog is still “my kind of normal“. Everyone has their own schedule, their own tricks and favorite things to do because we are all unique and every child is unique. What works for me would never work for your child and visa versa. I would have no idea what to do with a “normal” toddler. They are too fast for me. I am used to a child who does not move, but you know what? My arms are stronger than they have ever been!

A year of blogging has been amazing and I am excited to see where this blog goes and how it grows. I love sharing our story and how Abigail is progressing and growing into a beautiful little girl. My little baby I just was holding in the hospital is turning two in just three weeks. Oh how time flies! I want to treasure every single moment with my daughter because soon those sweet snuggles and pure innocence will be replaced. Her sweet face touches will become less and less. So before time takes away my sweet baby I will love on her all I can. Thank you for loving through the delay with me!!!

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Things Treasured

My blog was original titled “Treasured Encounters.” It started as a blog about my treasured encounters with God as I spent time with Him. But then I became a mom, and I learned that you have many, many treasured encounters with your children that people love to read and I love to share. And these moments are more sharable moments than intimate moments between my God and I. Like Mary I love to ponder these moments in my own heart. So I began what my blog is today, sweet moments about Abigail. But with resurrection Sunday tomorrow, and yesterday being Good Friday I wanted to share my treasured God encounter with my readers.

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The Bible tells us that Mary “treasured these things” on multiple occasions especially when Jesus was first-born. This young mother treasured all the moments she could with her son, the very Son of God. As Easter is approaching this weekend I love being able to take an extra long look at the cross and what God has done for all mankind so many years ago. Easter is a beautiful time of remembrance for an event that impacts our life every day. An event that should be thought about often as we humble ourselves and worship God in awe of what He has done for us. I want to be like Mary who ponders these things in her heart. She knew these were moments, when she saw shepherds bowing down to her newborn baby and wise men bringing gifts fit for a king to her bouncing toddler, that she would remember and look back on years later.

Since having my own child I can relate more with Mary as a mother. Obviously, I have no idea what it is like mothering God himself, nor would I ever want that. Just think of the worries and pressures that come with that!! But I can sense her mother’s heart as she looks lovingly into her newborn son’s perfect face moments after giving birth. I can feel her panic as she realizes her teenage son is no longer with them, and they cannot find him anywhere. And I do not want to imagine her grief and sorrow as she follows Him up Golgotha’s hill. But she has watched Him become a man and known in all her pondering that her son, God himself, was leading to do something more. He was never hers to hold on to forever. God blessed Mary with a wonderful gift of birthing and rearing the Son of God. However, Jesus answered to God alone, and was here to do His will, to save man from sin and death. But Mary had to watch.

There are things about Abigail and mine’s relationship that I could never put into words. My pride, my joy in her, my love for her are all too much for basic words to describe. The bond we have is something I never knew existed until I was blessed to experience it myself. Yet, this love pales in respect to the love Jesus showed for us that day on the cross. Two thousand years ago a young Jewish man died a gruesome death for people crosswho despised Him, rejected Him, and hated Him all because they did not understand Him. God knew His Son was the only way to reconcile man to Himself. God desired a relationship with us so badly, he sacrificed everything to bring us back to Him. My human love stretches to just a few people in this world, but God’s love is “never stopping, never giving up, unbreakable, always and forever.”  (Jesus Storybook Bible) And it reaches every. single. person.

God always reveals a new aspect of the Easter weekend to me each year, and this year I want to ponder as Mary did. I want to store these things in my heart and reflect them in my life. I want to learn more about God’s mysterious love for me and for mankind. I want to put my fingers in His nail scarred wrists and trust Him with everything. I want to learn to surrender all in the light of my Lord and Savior who was beaten and broken for my name’s sake. I want to remember the torn veil, and know I have a mediator who stands in my defense. I want to be like the ground under the cross where Jesus gave His all, and be covered in His blood. I want to be more like Jesus, and be willing to carry my cross as scary as that is. I want to worship Him in spirit and in Truth daily. I want to live in His resurrection power, and know that same power lives in me. I want to experience that same joy Christ experienced as he reconciled sinful man and holy God. I never want to forget what God gave to show His love for me. I want to find my hope and peace in this God who loves me unconditional. Oh, and I want to treasure the moments of our relationship in my heart forever!

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My Sunshine

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I love this time of year! Everything is blooming and waking up from its winter slumber. Nature is just beautiful, and even though my allergies are at an all time worse, I love driving and seeing all the beautiful scenery. But the sunshine as it kisses my skin is my favorite. I am up early enough to see the first rays of light touch the earth and brighten it as the sun rises. I love the feeling and warmth of the rays and knowing no matter what that the sun will come up and be there to welcome the day.

The sun brightens everything and shares its light and warmth. Abigail is my sunshine. She brightens everyone’s day that she meets and she never meets a stranger. She loves “waving’ at people, which is really her reaching out to touch them. Faces are her thing. If she could play with your face and hair all day she would be the happiest baby! In just the first five minutes of meeting Abigail, she reaches out for your face and hair and smiles her perfect smile. Abigail is simply a joy to be around, and I don’t think I am saying that just because I am her mom. She smiles and laughs at people while we are in the check out line. Her therapists love her and say she makes their days better. And friends and family always tell us she’s wonderful. People are just taken with her because she is such a welcoming little one.

When I think of the way Abigail brings joy to people, the way she just makes people smile with her beauty and joy, it brings hope into my life. Maybe this is exactly who Abigail is meant to be. A little blonde headed ball of joy who is a little odd compared to others. A person who stands out in the crowd. Until you meet Abigail yourself you cannot fully grasp her personality. I cannot put it into words correctly, but this child can change the atmosphere in a room instantly. Even as tiny as she is Abigail makes a big impact in a room of people and I love that about her. She brings life, and joy and hope to others, and she is not shy to have all attention on her. She does not realize she is missing out on so much. She does not want things other toddlers want. She is content to play with your face other than a new toy. She just wants to be with you more than anything in the world. In the arms of a person who adores her she works her magic and you cannot help but catch on with her contagious smile and adorable giggle.

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Our precious Spring pictures from last year.      Happy Spring y’all!

Abigail Paige is my sunshine. All children have an innocence about them that is perfect, and their joy in the smallest things lights up this world. That is what Abigail does for me; she is my bright light in this dark, confusing world. She warms up my heart and allows me to love freely. She helps me see special needs in a whole new light, and she is teaching me she does have purpose in this world. Abigail can be a world changer with just her smile. And she is by lighting up lives with her tiny rays of joy everyday!! Oh I hope that those sweet rays continue to shine for a long, long time.

Transformation in the Waiting

You wait in check out lines. You wait on big news to come. You wait on deadlines and release dates. You wait on your husband to get home. You wait on your baby to arrive and you wait on them to fall asleep every night. Waiting is just a part of life. Some people are good at waiting and others are very impatient. While you are waiting what are you learning? Life is not always about the destination at the end, but about the journey on the way there.

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:13-14

Jordan and I have been waiting for what seems like forever and we still have no clue what God is leading us towards. He has called us both into ministry, yet neither of us is anywhere close to that calling. When we first got married three years ago we were helping at a church with the youth group. We then moved to a part-time youth ministry positron, and then we moved here where we are not in any ministry. We have interviewed at countless churches and been told no more times than I’d like to admit. It’s tough knowing what your passionate about and what God has called you to, and yet not finding an open door to do that calling. I can only hope that God has something bigger out there than we could imagine, and this season is our time to prepare for what God has planned.

We are also still waiting on answers about Abigail. Why is she so far behind developmentally? Is there hope for her to talk and walk and be independent one day? This journey started when Abigail was two months old. We have waited on many different doctors to do many different tests. We have waited for MRI, EMG, EEG, and blood work results. All these point to the same answer – that Abigail is completely ‘normal’ on paper. So we wait. We wait for her genetics screen to come back. We wait for answers. We wait for her to determine if she is ready to advance or not.

We are living in a time of waiting. Waiting is not fun. We want answers as to why God has led us here and what He wants us to do. We want answers about Abigail and hope that things will be okay. But for now God has led us here – to this community, to this job, and to this child. We are trying to serve where we are because for now this is where God has us.  And as long as God has us here I want to be intentional with every moment. So many days I get caught up on the to do list I forget there’s a bigger world out there than just my own. I’m not sure how long God will have us here. It could be for 60 years or for two, but while we are here God is molding us and growing us. I can see it in my own life and in Jordan’s. We are growing up and learning so many things about our community and ourselves. We need to be here. We need this time to mature. We need this time of waiting to mold us into vessels God can use.

“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

The Bible uses a lot of comparisons to pottery and a potter when it talks about God working on our hearts. I have a very special piece of pottery from when I worked at a camp one summer. It doesn’t seem like much of a pot from the outside, but our theme that year was about the Potter and the clay. During our worship night two leaders would sit on the stage and make a pot as worship music was played. It was beautiful picture that God is still working on you and me. As the girl made this particular pot it started to fall in the middle. She didn’t give up on it though. She just started reshaping it and now the line where it dropped gives this pot personality. That’s exactly what God does in our lives. When we mess up, when we choose what our flesh wants, when we fear and doubt His ways we feel like we are messed up and cannot be fixed. But our Potter takes his skilled hands and forms all our mistakes into beauty. He is a master Potter and what He designs is never wrong. So these times of waiting, while painful and long they may be, are necessary to make us into the vessels God needs to serve Him today. And to do that I have to stay moldable and in my Creators hands no matter how tough it may be. It hurts to be pressed and pounded into something new, but in the end I want to be a beautiful piece of pottery that my God is proud to display to the world around me.

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“Where do you want me to go?” That is what is written on my piece of pottery.

What is in a Name?

Picking out your child’s name is tough. You have to think about so many factors – does it sound good with your last name? Do you know anyone you don’t like with that name? Does the monogram look cute? Will they get picked on their whole life for this name? Do you name the baby after someone in the family? The list goes on and on. There are books and websites dedicated to helping you pick the best name for your child. How do you pick the perfect name?

When we found out we were pregnant picking out a name was one of the first things we did. We had to pick out the girl name and the boy name. The boy name was

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Our gender announcement!

a lot harder, and I still do not know if I even love it. We knew our son’s middle name would be Jordan after my husband, but we were leaning towards Asher for the first name. Apparently we like names that begin with ‘A’. As for the girl’s name, we knew it instantly without even debating. We both loved the name Abigail. I am not sure why, but it was decided 100% Abigail would be our daughter’s name if we had a girl.

Abigail Paige Lidh. Her name has so much meaning behind it, and I pray she lives up to her name as she grows and matures. Jordan allowed me to pick the middle name Paige. I have always loved it, and it adds so much to her name as I will explain. First, Abigail means ‘her father’s delight’. Well of course she is Jordan’s delight. He loves her so much and she gets so excited when he walks in the room! Those two have a very special relationship and I love it. But then there is the Abigail in the Bible. A strong, wise lady who served David and his men in the face of near destruction for her and her family. A servant through and through. Paige also means to serve. That is what I want for Abigail, for her to have a servant’s heart, and for her to love others and serve them selflessly. The world teaches you to look out for number one, but if we would serve others and treat them as people who God loves then we could make a difference in people’s lives.

And I would be amiss to not mention my favorite part of Abigail’s name – her monogram. APL or apple as I like to say, for she is the apple of our eye. She will always be as our first baby. But as I was reading Psalm one day when I was pregnant I came across this verse. “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Ps. 17:8, NIV. I knew instantly that wImage (2)as to be Abigail’s life verse. I want her to have an intimate relationship with God when the time comes, and to find shelter in Him and not in the things of this world. I want her to be in awe of the One who made her, and trusts Him fully for all things. Such simple, life-changing truths that even I wish I would apply more often. These are the things I pray for my daughter’s life.

Abigail Paige Lidh. There are so many emotions, prayers, and thoughts wrapped up in that one name. It is one of my favorites! And I am so glad that there is more to her name than just what was written on her birth certificate. Do you have a specific reason for naming your child what you named them? I love hearing naming stories!! Please comment and share below!