Our Amazing Wonder

I forget how tall Abigail is. I know that is weird, but I just always forget that she would already come up to my waist if she could stand next to me. She is pushing three feet tall now, but I forget that. When I help her stand using the couch it hits me every time that she is tall. It is such a simple thing, but it always amazes me because I never get to see her stand up. That is how Abigail is though – just little things she does catches you off guard and amazes you.

Abigail never stops to amaze me in what she can do and what she tries to do. Just this week she has been wanting to hold her own cup and drink herself. She has learned to take sips from a glass. She pushes herself up completely with her arms so she’s almost in a sitting position. She is wanting to sit up and stand all the time. She is trying to tuck her legs underneath her to get on all fours. Her signing abilities have improved. She now signs without being prompted, or if she overhears a word she knows while people are talking she will sign it. It is like one thing after another. We missed therapy this week, so when we see our therapists Monday they will be so proud!


Our big girl enjoying her juice at Chick-fil-a!

It is usually simple things that amaze us, but sometimes it is the simple things that matter most in life. Because Abigail is so far behind developmentally, it is easy to presume she does not understand a lot of things. I am even impressed what all Abigail understands. But just because she cannot communicate does not mean she does not understand. She knows exactly when people are talking to her and when they are not, and she does not liked to be ignored. It is not rare at the dinner table for Jordan to be telling me about his day and Abigail will start screaming at the top of her lungs. Not a scary ‘I’m hurt’ scream, but a ‘look at me I’m cute and you’re not talking to me’ scream. We have tried to ignore her, but usually if you ask her if she has anything else to say she is happy you paid her attention and will allow you to continue your conversation again. And it is not just in person. Abigail loves talking on the phone. I will put the phone on speaker and lock it and hand it to her and she knows to put the phone to her ear and talk. Her and Daddy often talk on the phone and she does the screaming war then too until he talks to her and not Mommie. She is a mess!

Abigail only knows the word yes because we have not taught her no yet. She can sign yes (it’s one of her favorites) and sometimes she will vocally say a little, ‘yay.’ But we realized we had to start teaching her no because she says yes to everything. She knows when you ask a question and she will respond yes. So since she cannot do the real sign for no in sign language her therapist told me to just have her point her finger and turn her wrist back and forth. But Abigail cannot point and wave at the same time yet. So right now if you ask her to say no she simply points at you. It is still cute! But she catches on so quickly! I try to introduce new signs every week, and she always picks them up and uses them. I love being able to communicate better with her, and I think she loves her signs too. When she signs something and you respond to her, Abigail gets the biggest grin on her face – it’s like she is saying, ‘hey you heard what I said!’

And then we come to those legs. When Abigail was about 15 months I got her to stand and my mom snapped a picture. IMG_3679After that I could never get her to do it again. Plus, she was not ready or willing to do it. Now she is! Oh she wants to stand and pull up so bad. Her legs want to work, but they have no idea how to work. Abigail often stands on the side of her feet and her toes remain curled under. But I cannot even change her now without her turning to squirm away or trying to sit up. It amazes me how much she wants this. She is such a little fighter. Her body is literally incapable of sitting or standing, but that does not stop her. She groans and grunts and struggles to do it. Her arms have to be the most toned arms of any two-year-old. But she never gives up. She never stops wanting to try. She never quits. Everyday she learns something new. Everyday she amazes me. Everyday she fights. And that is amazing to me!



Bloom Where you are Planted

I love spring time. I love the newness of everything. How everything is turning green and flowers are beginning to bloom. How winter’s slumber is being shaken off, and life is awakening. Springtime just brings a pep in your step and a song in your heart. At least it does me. And goodness knows getting outside helps all those winter blues fade away. The weather was gorgeous today and I could not help thinking that springtime is coming!

I bought this cute springy shirt for Abigail a few months ago and it was perfect for today! Bright yellow with a huge flower on it! It instantly made me think of the saying, “Bloom where you are planted.” I’ve never thought much about it before, but that saying applies so much to Abigail. So today she wore her yellow shirt proudly, because Abigail is most definitely blooming where she is planted!

I was told my baby’s eyes were not normal at two months old. We instantly thought blindness, but today her vision is perfect! Yes, she wears glasses to help her eyes stay focused, but her vision is perfect. Abigail is known for those cute pink glasses, and countless strangers brag abt them. Even in the face of bad eyesight, Abigail is blooming!

First day in those pink glasses!

At four months we were told that Abigail had low muscle tone – hypotonia (they call it floppy baby syndrome). She has met zero milestones. She cannot hold herself up. Carrying her is like carrying a bag of potatoes. She is so heavy and does not help at all! She stays under the ten percentile because she has no muscles and muscles weigh more than fat. But despite all this Abigail is crawling! She has mobility. She is pushing up and she wants to stand so bad. She can sit with minimal assistance. She is doing things that amaze everyone. In spite of her diagnoses, Abigail is blooming!

Abigail cannot keep up with other children. They move too fast for her. Children her age are too advanced for her and run away before she can play. And children younger than her just want her glasses or her hair which scares her. But she is getting so much better around children. She has been crawling around with her nephews and they pass toys to her. In music class she is brave enough to get down on the floor and crawl around now. She is talking and laughing in class which means she is getting more comfortable around other toddlers. Even with her fears, Abigail is blooming!

In every area I feel like Abigail is blooming. She is becoming stronger, more social, and she is growing every day! Abigail has no idea that she is developmentally behind. She has no idea she is unique. She has no idea that she lives a very weird life compared to a normal three year old. She is one of the happiest children you will ever meet. She is smart. She is kind. And she is going to do BIG things!

I just feel like if this little girl who has so much against her can bloom where she is planted then we all can. I would never wish this life on any child. But I am a proud mama because even in the worst of situations and what life has to throw at her my daughter is blooming. She is a determined little fighter. She is fiercely independent and a little rebel at heart. All this makes her a force to be reckoned with. She is going to knock down barriers and is going to make miracles. Abigail will be able to bloom wherever she is planted!

Abigail’s Favorite Things

Abigail likes lots of things, and she is always happy and giggling. I could write pages and pages about her personality and things she likes, but I thought I would share 10 things she really loves. Of course she loves her family and being tickled and eating. All things toddlers love too. But here are 10 of Abigail’s favorite things.

1.) Abigail loves to be tossed and turned and flipped and dropped. She is a little thrill seeker. Abigail was born with zero reflexes so she has no fear of falling or being dropped. Plus, she has never fallen over or tripped so I don’t know if she is scared of things like that. I always tell people if Abigail could walk she would be that child who has already broken a leg jumping or climbing on something. She has a very adventurous soul!

2.) Music! This girl loves all kinds of music. We can be watching tv and she does not pay any attention to the show until music comes on. We have listened to a little bit of everything and she loves it all! That’s why I am so glad we found The Music Class. Once a week we get to go and enjoy music with other children. I hope she has some musical talent, because that is one thing I lack!

3.) Chick-fil-a. Well who doesn’t enjoy them some Chick-fil-a? But thanks to G-mama (my husband’s mom) she has discovered a true love of their chicken, fries, and ice cream! That girl can put her away some chicken!!


Enjoying some CFA!

4.) Watching people. Abigail is a people watcher if there ever was one. It’s hard to get her to eat at restaurants because she simply likes to stare at all the people around us. Today in Walmart the lines were ridiculously long and the older couple behind us were so sweet. Abigail loved them! She does not often meet a stranger (well as long as they are an adult).

5.) Chapstick. This girl loves playing with chapstick tubes. We played with one for about 20 minutes the other day. And she likes putting it on, and I am glad in this cold weather!


A girl with a tube of chapstick. She could not be happier!

6.) Emptying containers. Anything she can empty she does. A basket. A bag. A purse. A toy bus full of people. If the objects can come out then Abigail will take them out. She usually helps me clean up too so I am thankful for that.

7.) Wind. I know that’s an odd thing, but when the wind blows in her face she giggles. I know she is loving this cold wind these last few days! The cold does not bother her because she is a little heater, but this wind is perfect for her.

8.) Talking on the Phone. When family calls me I often put it on speaker phone so Abigail can hear and talk too. And we FaceTime my mom almost every day. Abigail does not just ‘talk’ to everyone she screams. You know how older people who talk on the phone like to talk louder like that will help you hear them better? Well Abigail does the same thing on the phone. It is an obvious scream talk. She has also learned to pretend to talk on the phone. She will pick up a toy or a shoe and hold it to her ear and scream into it. It’s so cute! I am glad to loves to talk to people and to herself.

9.) Other people’s pain. This makes her seem cruel, but hear me out. Whenever you stub your toe or knick yourself a little she laughs. I guess it’s that reaction you make that she thinks is funny. Abigail does not know what hurt or pain is so you probably do look funny hopping around or making silly sounds when you get hurt. She loves the word “ouch” too. Like if you’re playing with her and you hit yourself in the head with a toy and say ‘ouch’ she laughs so hard! She is a mess.

10.) I saved the best for last…DOORS!!! She is obsessed with them! All doors. Closet doors. Sliding doors. Bedroom doors. Cabinet doors. Doors on her doll houses. Put this girl in front of a door and she is instantly entertained. She just sits there and opens and closes them. I am not sure what the fun is, but she loves doors. I think she could play with doors all day. A funny story about this for you all. While I am getting ready in the mornings I sit her in front of my bedroom door so she can open and close it and be entertained. Well one morning I was running in and out of the bedroom straitening things up and putting a load of laundry on. While I was out of them room Abigail happened to close the door. This would not be a big deal except that she then proceeded to crawl right next to the door so she could open it. That is when there was a problem. The door opens into the bedroom. Abigail was laying behind the door blocking it and I was on the outside in the hallway. Have you ever had to give instructions to a toddler who cannot really move or communicate? It is fun! I could only get my hand through the door and I didn’t want to hurt her. So I am telling her to scoot back and trying to push her back at the same time. We finally worked it out together and she got away from the door enough that I could make it in. Yes, the adventures we have around here!

Well there you go – a very random list of 10 things Abigail loves. She is an odd child, but we love her so much! I am so glad she is interested in things and has likes and dislikes now. It is so fun to watch her grow up. It hit me today that she is going to be three in about 4 months. Three years old! My little girl is growing up and I don’t want to forget that she loves playing with doors all day long and how she laughed at the silliest things. I don’t want to miss out on her learning to pretend play and figuring out how her hands work. I love these days with Abigail, and I can’t wait to see what else she learns to love in the days to come!


Our Christmas Sloth

We have a Christmas tradition in our house that started when I was just a child. Every year my mom would let my brother and I pick out our own Christmas ornaments to hang on the tree. Then when we got married she gave all our ornaments to us. Well I wanted to do this when Jordan and I got married, but I wanted ornaments that reflected the year before. Then Abigail came along and I had to start buying her ornaments too.

I’m usually on top of things – like I know what ornament to get in October, but this year I just couldn’t find the right one for Abigail. I knew I wanted to get her an ornament that represented her getting her little pink glasses. That was a big thing for her this year, and what people know her for. But they don’t sell a lot of ornaments with glasses on them. So my next plan was to buy a pink pair of kids shades and pop the lenses out and tie them to our tree. Well can you say tacky?? Okay, so then I thought I would buy a cute animal ornament that reminded me of Abigail and buy some wire and attach pink glasses to said animal. Now that would be cute I thought, so now what animal reminds me of Abigail? I had no idea. I texted Jordan at work and right about the time he responded I thought about a sloth. Two minutes later he replied with sloth. Wow! We hadn’t even talked about it and we both thought the same thing. So I got on Etsy and found a shop that sold little felt sloths. The owner even put little pink glasses on the sloth after I told her what I wanted. It’s one of my favorite ornaments on our tree now. My little Abigail sloth!


See the similarities between her and the sloth behind her? Such a perfect picture for this!

But why is Abigail like a sloth? I googled sloths and learned some cool facts about them and I have 10 ways Abigail is just like a sloth. They made me laugh so enjoy!! And Merry Christmas…I’ll be here admiring our little sloth ornament.


  • Sloths are slow. Everyone knows that, but what’s is funny is that sloths are pretty useless when they are on the ground. That’s why they stay in the trees all the time, but once a week they have to get down to go to the bathroom and that is when they are most likely to be ate because their long claws that help them navigate the trees, make them obsolete on the ground. Abigail can relate. She is pretty obsolete on the ground too. Sure she can wiggle and pull herself around slowly, but don’t expect her to be winning any marathons with her sloth-like movements.
  • Who has ever seen a picture of an ugly sloth? They are all so cute! And Abigail is no exception to this sloth rule. Everywhere she goes she gets compliments of her beauty.
  • This one made me laugh, but sloths only poop once a week. It has something to do with their slow metabolism. But gosh, we struggle with Abigail’s bowel movements all the time. Since she never is up or moving I swear her little bowels hate her, poor thing.
  • Contrary to popular belief, sloths in the wild don’t really sleep that often. They sleep about 10 hours a day. Abigail also does not sleep that often either. She is getting better in her new bed, but bedtimes are a struggle around here.
  • Sloths can turn their heads like an owl because they are missing two vertebras in their neck, so that makes them pretty flexible. I have never seen a more flexible kid than Abigail. Her PT always says things like I am not sure this is the right way for her to move, but she seems to be able to do it so lets go with it. She can reach the top of their head with her toes. When I put jackets on Abigail I swear I bend her arm backwards, but she doesn’t seem to mind. If she were ever able to I would love to put her in gymnastics!
  • Sloths are not social creatures. They live alone unless it is time to mate. Abigail is social to adults, but not to children. She would be okay being the only kid in the room at all times. Maybe she is just a little jealous of them too.
  • Baby sloths are very attached to their mothers. They stay together up to four years before the baby sloth separates from them. Gosh, I feel for that mom. Abigail and I have a strong attachment. I cannot even leave the room before she starts crying missing me. She literally goes everywhere I go.
  • Sloths are only 25% muscle. I feel like that’s Abigail. Her poor little muscles have caused us issues from day one. Whether it’s her eyes, her legs, or her core it’s all a muscle thing.
  • Sloths are tiny for being mammals. They just don’t get that big, and I don’t think Abigail every will get big either. She has always been in the 5-10 percentile of her weight. And her feet and hands are the tiniest little things.
  • A sloth’s facial coloring makes it look like they are always smiling. And Abigail is always smiling. I don’t know how or why but she is. Even this weekend after throwing up about 8 times in a row she still laughed in the doctor’s office! That’s our little sloth!!

Her Stubbornness

Stubbornness runs in our family. My grandparents were and still are entrepreneurs, making glass wind chimes now for over 40 years. Jordan’s grandparents are still active and going and his grandfather still works 8-5 at his job at 72 years old. The stubbornness shows itself in our parents as well. And goodness does it show up in us! We can never decide on who is more stubborn between Jordan and me because we are too stubborn to admit who is more stubborn. We are a mess! So then you have two very stubborn people make a baby, and guess what? That baby is as stubborn as both parents put together.

Stubbornness is often seen as a bad thing, and often it is. It prevents you from seeing the other side of the argument.  It keeps you from listening to wise council. It stops you from enjoying things you could otherwise enjoy. But as stubborn as Abigail is, I am very thankful for that quality in her. Sure it is annoying when you try to tell her no and she just keeps doing what she was doing while laughing in your face. Sure I would like her to actually do what I say instead of what Abigail wants to do all the time. And sure we butt heads a lot and I get very annoyed with her. But that stubbornness in her is what makes her a little miracle child.

Let me explain. So our journey all began at Abigail’s two month check up. Everything was great and we had a perfectly healthy little baby in our arms, except the doctor told us he was very concerned with her vision. We knew she had wonky eyes, but we figured all newborns had poor vision, well apparently not this bad. Here are some pictures from Abigail’s first year. You can see how she constantly looked up.

We saw two eye doctors and one neurologist at this point and none of them could explain Abigail’s vision. But by 18 months her eyes had corrected themselves with no help from anyone. Her eyes simply came down by themselves. We worked on some tracking exercises and things like that with her OT, but that’s it. Her eyes still get cross eyed and a little shaky today so that is why Abigail wears her glasses, but compared to how they looked when she was 3 months old her eyes look perfect.

Her stubbornness is vital for Abigail because without her motivation to want to move and play and be little Miss Independent she would not be improving. Yes, her therapists are amazing and I am beyond grateful for each of them. Yes, working with her at home helps. But it is Abigail who wants to pull herself around. It is Abigail who wanted to start feeding herself. We tried for almost two years to make that kid feed herself and she never would hold a scrap of food, and then one day I just laid some goldfish on her tray to feed her and she picked them up and put them in her mouth like she was a feeding expert. Until Abigail wants to do something she does not do it. I know she can get herself around and I try to make her pull herself if I just go in to the next room. But she refuses to move until she wants to.

I truly believe if Abigail has a will she has a way. If she is willing to work and move and play then she does. She has shown that these last few months. Her awareness and wanting to move around has come out of no where and now she scoots and pulls and plays like never before. I still do not know where the motivation to move came from, but I wish I knew! But when the day comes for her to be ready to stand on those wobbly little legs of her I know she will be stubborn enough to figure out what she needs to. I always tell people that for being one of the most dependent toddlers in the world, Abigail is the most independent little thing you will ever meet. I know that spells trouble for Jordan and me as she gets older, but for now I love that she is a little stubborn, independent little blonde headed ball of motivation.


believe girl

How Abigail Learns

We began occupational and physical therapy when Abigail was just 5 months old. At that point we had no idea what we were in for. We had no idea how our journey would proceed. We simply knew we had a little baby girl who the doctors were telling us was way behind in muscle tone. Abigail was our normal and still is. We had no idea a five month old shouldn’t be doing these things. Thankfully we had some great therapists who helped us learn what we should be doing with Abigail to help strengthen her little muscles.

Abigail has always been progressing forward but at the slowest rate you could ever imagine. The last time we went to see our neurologist she asked how Abigail had been doing. I was so excited to tell her about all of Abigail’s progress in the months we hadn’t seen her. But putting it in words seemed so dismal. “Well she can kinda roll over now and she is making more noises.” It just didn’t sound that impressive, but if she could just live with Abigail for a few days you can see her huge strides of improvement. But to strangers Abigail is still a two year old who can’t sit, stand, walk or talk.

So how does Abigail learn? How does she get stronger? Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. We have been doing the same things with her from the beginning it feels like. Sometimes things click right away. It only took her a couple of times to learn how to fist bump and wave bye-bye. Teaching her a new sign for sign language usually only takes a few times as well. Now she does not correlate that the eat sign means she is hungry, but if you ask her if she wants to eat she does the right sign so we are getting there. But feeding herself has taken 18 months. We have tried everything, and then one day out of the blue last week she just picked up her goldfish and ate it perfectly by herself. I am not sure why she catches on to some things instantly and other things she still does not get even though we have been working with her for months.

IMG_8100 (1)

Either way, we have to be intentional with Abigail. And slow. You cannot ask Abigail to do something and then walk away because she did not do it. Chances are she will do it as you turn your back. Her processing time is slow. So it takes her a minute to wave bye when you tell her to. You just have to give her a chance to listen and process what you said. I like this about Abigail because it has taught me slow down. I am a rush, rush, rush kind of person. Having Abigail has taught me to pause now and then.

Abigail is a smart cookie. I think my husband put it best. Abigail is more and less than meets the eye. Let me explain. When a stranger first looks at Abigail he or she probably thinks she is a normal child. Then I tell them that she has special needs and cannot sit, walk, talk, etc. So then Abigail becomes a special needs child who cannot do anything in their minds. But she is so much more than her disabilities. Sure she cannot sit up on her own, but if you ask her to dance, point, find her belly, or laugh she can follow your instructions perfectly. She understands what people around her are saying, and I swear she can sense people’s emotions. She definitely knows when Mama is leaving and her physical therapists has told me multiple times what an amazing little sense of humor she has. Abigail is pretty fun to get to know and everyone who has spent more than 10 minutes with her just loves her!

Abigail’s processing time may be slower than others, she may not be able to physically compete with another toddler her age, and she cannot communicate with words, but everyday she is learning and growing in her own way. At five months old Abigail barely even cared about the environment around her. She could care less about toys or food or anything really. But to see where she is today, even from where she was a year ago is amazing. She loves her toys and gets so excited when her therapists brings out her big bag of them now. She is ‘talking’ up a storm and is wiggling everywhere. Her head circumference is in the 94 percent tile (her weight is only in the 10th) and we always joke about her huge head. But maybe it is just holding all those smart brains up there. I love watching her learn and I cannot wait to teach her more!


Communication Gap

Remember that feeling you get when your baby says his or her first word? That little ‘da-da’ or ‘mama’ (or ‘ball’ if your child is anything like my husband was when he was a baby), uttered in that adorable little voice! It is so exciting!! You just want them to keep saying it. Then they pick up more and more words until they turn three or four and begin asking you about two million questions a day. Then you look at them and think, “why was I excited that you learned to talk?” Communication is so exciting for children and parents alike. You can begin to see them learn and grow as they experience the environment around them. You begin to understand what they are thinking and what they need as opposed to randomly guessing in the dark. Language is a huge developmental milestone in a child’s life!

Abigail will be two and a half in November, and she has yet to say any words. Sure she says mamama when she is tired. She can say dada and ba and I swear there is a ‘this’ in there every once in a while. She does occasionally tell people bye when she wants. But that’s it. Da, ba, ma, and maybe a ‘th’ sound. Four syllables is what I get to work with all day. These four syllables are all I have to tell me what Abigail might be wanting or needing at any particular moment.


She may not talk, but that smile is worth a thousand words!

From day one, Abigail was the most content baby you would ever meet. She rarely cried. But now that she is developing and becoming more aware of her environment she is becoming more vocal about what she likes and what she does not like. If she does not want something she is not afraid to tell you. Her whining is at an all time high now days, and I wonder if she gets frustrated with herself because the people around her just are not understanding her. She has no real way to communicate with us. We are teaching her sign language but it is a slow process because Abigail does learn a little different from others. Right now we love the ‘all done’ sign! But we also know ‘more’ and are learning ‘please’ and ‘eat’. I hope that she begins to catch on to signing and it will benefit her.

Thankfully I am with her most days, and I am pretty good at knowing what she needs or what she wants. I know her schedule so I can tell when she will be hungry or tired. Those are when she is the most fussy. But we have gone to the doctor for a quick check up on many occasions because I thought she may have an ear infection or be sick, and she cannot tell me. Usually it is a false alarm and she is healthy, but I would hate for her to be suffering and no one even know.

Oh I cannot wait for her to talk so we can have conversations. I want to hear her voice and know what she is thinking. I want her to be able to be happy or upset and be able to express herself. You do not realize how important communication is until the ability to have it is taken away from you. I do hope that Abigail learns to communicate. We have a speech therapist that comes to our house once a week. Ms. Keisha knows that Abigail’s communication (like everything else about her) is behind. She still is not quite to a one year old’s speech patterns yet. And teaching speech to a child who has never talked is difficult. It is a lot of playing and simply communicating with them. They learn by hearing and mimicking, so you just play and talk and talk and make silly noises hoping they pick up on something. My day consists of a lot of one way talking. I am very good at talking to myself it seems. But I have a little buddy who is hopefully listening to all my chatter and learning something.

Before Abigail I would have never believed how important communication is in life. The power of the spoken word is amazing. So often we take it for granted the fact that we have so many ways to communicate with technology, word of mouth, the written word. I am so thankful that I have my husband beside me through this journey, helping me communicate my feelings and being my support system. I am thankful that today there is hope that Abigail will learn to communicate with us too. Whether through her own voice, or signing, or the help of a device. I just pray her little voice will be heard as she grows and that with it she will honor her Lord, her family, and others.