Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Merriest of them All

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. And this year with both beautiful, healthy babies it was the merriest of them all. They were so precious. Lincoln loved everything and really got into it this year. He loved ripping off the paper and had the sweetest expressions when he discovered what was inside. And he's so gracious, always saying thank you and giving hugs. Love that boy! Aspen was cute, and tried to eat everything. Thankfully we understood this need and her toys were selected accordingly! 

As is our new tradition, we spent Christmas Eve morning at Mom and Dad's with Kaleb, Leslie, Zane, and Zoey. The kids all together were fun. Zoey is just ALL about the boys and what they were doing. She had to be right there with them. 

She thinks she's just as tough, too. I have to say she holds her own and doesn't put up with being pushed around! Zane wanted everything that everyone had, and so did Lincoln. They loved the opening but got sad when there were no more to open. Once they started playing with things they did well together. Aspen kept to herself and us, but she enjoyed eating the paper and dumping things out. Lincoln and Aspen both received their first pair of "real" cowboy boots. 

I can't say we are real boot people, but they are soooo stinking cute! And Lincoln wants to wear his all the time. "I want to wear my cowboy boots, Mommy!" He loves to stomp around the house with them on. Aspen really just wants to eat hers...but man are they sweet!

We always take a family picture in front of the tree at Mom's house...and no exclusion this year. It's so sweet to have this little family of four.

Christmas morning we enjoyed time at our house with several goodies for the babies. 

Lincoln loves his Thomas table..a big thanks to Benjamin Wortman for passing it down and letting it go!! Aspen seems to enjoy her new tricycle..we got her one just like Lincoln's because he still rides his. It's been one of his most favorite toys. We couldn't take it away from him now that he can "pedal pedal pedal" all around the yard. So now Aspen will have her very own and they can pedal together. 

On Sunday, December 23, Aspen was dedicated to the Lord. It was a very sweet ceremony. Pastor Keith is truly a wordsmith and always knows just what to say. I am so thankful that we are part of a church family where we feel spiritually filled. Aspen went right to Pastor Keith when he asked for her. She didn't fuss, or cry. In fact, she kept trying to grab his microphone. He wears one over his ear and she really seemed to like the way it looked. He began to mention Anthony's kidney troubles and I almost didn't make it through. He said that she was such a blessing in the midst of such a hard time, and how thankful we should be that she is here to bring us such joy. I have to say that if I wouldn't have been pregnant when Anthony found out about this kidney we would probably still not have another child. I am thankful every day that she is in our life. I know that some days are very difficult and they both test my patience, but I can't imagine life without Aspen here. Everything happens for a reason and I am so thankful that God placed her with us before Anthony was diagnosed. She brings us so much joy.

Our friend, Stephanie Pellecionne took these pictures of the ceremony.

We haven't had a family picture like this since the wedding...but now there are two extra faces! :)

On another note, Aspen is starting to walk!! She has been standing by herself for a few weeks now, but she has just recently started taking steps. Just yesterday she walked to me from the coffee table to the couch, about 5 or 6 steps!! She even had to turn a little to get to me. I must say I shed a tear! It was her 9 month birthday and she walked to me! This is crazy. She is getting so big, so fast. She is doing everything ahead of schedule, and so much faster than Lincoln. Leaving for Disney on Tuesday will be interesting...she may try to just walk away! She is making lots of noise these days: mamamam, dadadada, yayaya, bababa, nanana. She now loves cheerios and most foods we give her. It's about time! She is now becoming an eater. She likes most everything now...except baby cereal. But have you tasted that?! Who would like it anyway? She's OK eating most of our table foods, not just baby foods. She will eat baby food and she prefers the pouches. That's OK by me, they're so much easier. 

We may not know what 2013 holds but I do know this: Our family is precious. Our time will be sweet, protected, and cherished. We will love each other no matter what. And we will have tons of fun making memories together. We will start by ringing in the New Year at Disney World...just like it should be. (Again!!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Eight Whole Months

I'm not sure how November slipped away without a single post. I guess we've just been busy! Thanksgiving has come and's so great to see family and spend such good times with them. And it's funny, because of Facebook I really do feel like we're closer. I don't have to wait an entire year to see pictures of Lexy & Lulu. I can follow Laura and Jonathan's next Disney trip in pictures. It really does come in handy.

Here are some of our pictures from October and Thanksgiving:

 Nemo and a Little Mermaid!
I made Aspen's tutu and headband.

Such cuties!!

Aspen's first pumpkin patch and hay ride.

Our sweet family

My little turkeys on Thanksgiving!!

On November 28 our Aspen turned eight months old. I'm not sure how it happened! She's amazing. We went to the doctor yesterday for her 6 months shots, yes...even though she's 8 months old. 
She weighs 18 pounds, 2 ounces which is still less than Lincoln weighed at the same age. (50%) She was 27 1/4 inches long. (60%)
Her head is 17 1/2 inches. (80%)

She's wearing 6-9 month clothes and size 2 or 3 shoes depending on the brand. She's still not a fabulous sleeper. Many nights we're up 2 or more times. Sometimes we're up as many as 6 or 7. It's just not anything like how well Lincoln always slept unless he was sick, and he still sleeps well thank goodness. For the last 3 or 4 nights she's slept through the night. She's loud, and she makes noises. Most night she even fusses or cried but she manages to put herself back to sleep without us. We had to break down and actually try sleep training with her. It took a good two nights, well a bad two nights really. By the 3rd night she almost had it figured out by herself. She still needs us occasionally, but thank goodness I finally feel like it might be getting better.

She babbles all the time, yayayayaya or dadadada or mamamamama. She's not actually saying our names or calling for us, but she's making lots of noise! She's crawling all over the house, and has been for a long time. She started with the scoot, then the army crawl, but now she's really fast. You walk down the hall and turn around...and there she is! Lincoln loves to crawl with her or tries to get her to follow him. I fervently hope they will be friends and love each other as they grow up. She's pulling up on all the furniture and can even cruise around it already. She's a pro at going from the chair to the couch to the ottoman or table. 
 And just in the last two days she has started standing up all by herself!!! She pulls herself to standing then just lets go and stands there. Looking pleased as punch!! She's getting sooo big, sooo fast! 

She is wearing her DOC band from Cranial Technologies. She's only been in it for 4 weeks but I can already see a difference! Her forehead is becoming more round. And already her hat doesn't fit the same on her ears which makes me feel like progress is being made. We've been for two adjustments now. We go every 2 weeks. They use a router to give her "room to grow" in the spots where she's flat to encourage the head to grow there. It's amazing that doctors come up with this stuff. I mean really. Who said, "Hey, let's tie something around this baby's head to see if we can make it more round!" It's crazy. I'm very thankful that it's working. I am also thankful that Anthony has wonderful insurance (MedCost) that is paying for most of the treatment. That would've been $2,300 out of our own pocket otherwise. 

She doesn't seem to mind the helmet at all, as we call it. She doesn't pay it any attention, really. The only time she fusses about it is when we're taking it off or putting it back on. She has to wear it 23 hours a day and for the one hour a day she has it off she seems to enjoy it. As soon as it comes off she puts her hands up and just rubs her head. It's cute. We've just gotten used to it now and when we take it off she looks totally different. Of course I had to fancy it up a little bit and she's got her very own bows made with velcro on the back. If your mommy is going to have a small bow business, you better have a bow on at all times! :)

I can't let a post go by without talking about Lincoln! He's a hoot. So full of life, so smart, and so funny! He's a ham. He's still got beautiful curls but I'm afraid they're getting darker. Not that I didn't expect them to, I just loved the blond curls. He's 2 years and 8 months. He weighs 30 pounds on the dot. (50%) He's 37 1/2 inches tall (70%). Looks like he's going to be tall and skinny. Fine by me. He talks non-stop. Serioiusly. There really are no times in the day that he's not talking, babbling, singing a song, or making some kind of noise. His vocabulary and verbal skills are amazing. He speaks better than many school age children I have known. He always speaks in complete sentences and most of the time the correct verb tense is used. He always gets pronouns correct and can carry on complete conversations. He knows his alphabet and most of the numbers when he sees them. He can count to 20, most of the time! Sometimes there's an eleventeen thrown in there. Who knows where that came from. He knows the basic shapes and all of the colors. He can "read" his two favorite books to us: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? and The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle. They have a beautiful rhythm and pattern to them and he picked up on it right away. He loves sitting in our laps reading to us. He knows them word for word, even before you turn the pages to show him the pictures. Beautiful. I love that he loves to read as much as we do.

 He's a busy body...always moving, playing, running, jumping, bouncing, crawling with Aspen. He LOVES to play cars/trucks/trains/planes right now. All modes of transportation are very popular. His favorite cars by far are Mater and Lightning McQueen. Thanks Grammy. 
He's still sleeping in his crib. Keep him locked down as long as I can! He can get in and out if he wants to, but he doesn't seem to be tempted to do it at nap or bedtime, so that's ok with me. Still afraid to move him to a toddler bed because he can get up and down by himself whenever. Scary! He loves playing with his kitchen set, always cooking me something. It's usually chicken and dip dip or pancakes. He's up every day around 7, takes about a 2-3 hour nap around 2:00, then goes to lay down for bed around 8:30. Some nights he lays there talking and singing to himself until well after 9. But he doesn't fuss or cry, he just lays there. 

He's wearing size 8 shoes, but we're beginning to by size 9. It's almost time to say goodbye to his "big boy shoes" as he calls them. They're the green and grey Nike's he's had since last Christmas. He's worn them like crazy and loves them, but they're a size 8. So it's time to get new ones in 9s. I worry he will cry! His 2T pants are too short, but I have NO idea how to keep the 3T up on him. He has to have adjustable waist and wear a belt just to keep 2T up. But we're going to have to get the 3Ts because I can't stand the high waters!! 2T shirts fit just fine. 

My Thirty-One business is doing fabulous! I've had a great October and November. I'm hoping January also starts off with a bang and the rest of the year follows suit. Aspen Bows, my hairbows and headbands, are doing quite well also. I started an Aspen Bows Facebook page and I have over 50 likes already. I've sold more than I can count and almost weekly I'm getting requests for custom orders to match outfits or Christmas dresses. I LOVE it! Finding things that match, looking for interesting textures, combining patterns. Anthony has helped me convert the office that we don't use as an office into a craft room! I've used many old school supplies to organize my fabric supply and bow making materials. It's still in the early stages, and I have lots of ideas!!

Daddy and his babies...fresh out of the tub.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Something new...

So since Aspen was born she has held her head to the right.

Look at her coming home from the hospital: head deeply tilted to the right. the right.

Yet again...

Even snuggling in bed with brother and she's slightly tilted to the right.
 It got to the point where I began to mention it to Anthony quite often because I was worried it might be torticollis, where the muscles are tight on one side. He had noticed it too and we started blocking her in the car seat, swing, and bouncy seat so she couldn't turn so far that direction. He even did a few stretches on her to see what he thought might be going on. He concluded that he didn't think it was torticollis because she wasn't "stuck" and would turn her head both ways when asleep or while playing. So we didn't think much more about it. I just happened to mention it at her 6 month check up with Dr. Todd. I had been noticing lately that one side of her face was flatter than the other. Not flat, but maybe less chipmunk cheeks on one side. Dr. Todd looked at her head from above and put his fingers behind her ears and said yes, she was out of alignment and that it was time to see a specialist.

So off to Charlotte we went, Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Cranial Technologies is the name of the center where we were referred. Anthony took off work early to make it to her 4:15 appointment with me. I figured we both needed to be there. Your baby's head shape and her future appearance are pretty big decisions to make by yourself. We met a sweet consultant named Ashley who welcomed us and explained the procedure to us. She also loved Aspen's headband! She happens to be preggo with a baby girl, so future customer! :) Anyway, she told us what would be happening today and took us to the imaging room.

This was a very large room with a huge piece of equipment right in the center. We had Aspen stripped down to just a diaper and Ashley put this "baby bank robber" hat on her so the full shape of her head could be seen without any hair getting in the way. It looked sooo funny!

She didn't seem to mind at all. Anthony was instructed to hold her arms straight down by her side and then Ashley stood by on of the many cameras that were surrounding Aspen and tried to get her attention. 

Basically it's a big circuit of cameras. There were at least 4 surrounding her body, from all sides and angles. Then there was one directly above her head to look straight down on her skull. It was pretty quick and painless and Aspen didn't fuss at all. We were ushered back to our exam room to wait for the images to process and Aspen played with her first "big girl" toy!

So cute!

Our official consultant came to speak with us once the photos were processed and in the computer. She came in to talk to us and evaluate. She watched Aspen play in the floor with her toys and asked us to explain what was going on. According to our eval paper work she assumes this occurred in utero so it's not something we did, or didn't do. She took us to yet another room to view the photos with her. Those cameras took pictures that were then assembled into the baddest, awesomest 3-D image of Aspen we've ever seen. (Forget that it's the only 3-D pic of her we've ever seen!) It was a giant rotating, totally manipulative photo of Aspen's whole body. She could twist, turn, tilt, zoom in any way she needed to see the exact shape of Aspen's head to explain to us what we were looking at and how the skull was affected. We were officially diagnosed with plagiocephaly

She called her case "moderate" and said it was unlikely to get any worse. However, her ears are misaligned and as her head continues to grow it could lead to misalignment of her jaw. Other problems could also occur if not treated. I don't want us to do nothing about it, then when she's 12 she's mad at us because she can't put her hair in a ponytail because the kids laugh that her ears aren't matched up. And of course you have that sudden feeling of, what did I do wrong? But I know she wasn't just left lying around in her crib, swing, stroller, car seat, etc long enough to cause flat places on her head. It just happened. Stuff happens. No telling what really goes on in the womb. And really, you know they're all squished up in there. Poor baby.

So what does this all mean? what? Well, now we get a 'helmet.' Or more correctly, a band. This band will be made from super light weight material specifically for Aspen using the images they will take next week. It fits on her head and looks like a helmet. You've probably seen other babies out and about with theirs on. Maybe you just didn't know what it was for. So this band must be worn 23 hours a day for 10-12 weeks. Next week we go back for more imaging for the creation of the band. Then two weeks after that we go back for our first fitting and actually receive the band. And yes, you did the math right. That means we'll be wearing this helmet through all the holidays this year. If we get it mid-November, we'll probably have it until February some time. 

How do we, I, feel about this? I think it's the right thing to do. It's the right decision. I want her to be perfect in every way. I want her to have everything she wants in life. I want to eliminate any reason other kids could be mean to her later. I want her to be as beautiful on the outside as she already is on the inside. Does that mean I don't have reservations? Absolutely not. Does that mean I'm not worried? No way. I'm most concerned about the people who I know will  ask about it. I know they are just uninformed. But I know some will be rude and assume she has a disability, or that there's something wrong with her. And I just don't want her to be seen as anything less than perfect. Because she is...with or without the helmet. I just know how people are. They're curious. It's human nature. But it's also human nature to hurt people's feelings without expressly meaning to. I know there will be tears shed the first time I see her in the band. I know I'll cry as we get adjusted to this new "thing" in our life. I know there will be people who aggravate and anger me. I just hope I have the fortitude to withstand the gawking, staring, and rude comments people make. 

I'm very thankful for my friend, Nicole, who also went through this with sweet Mady. Without having a close friend to consult with, cry with, and lean on I'm not sure how this would've gone. I had no idea what the bands were for before I met Nicole and Mady when Lincoln and Mady were only about 4 months old. Thanks to her I now have a personal reference for all things related to plagiocephaly. 

I will definitely be posting pictures of our beautiful baby girl in her super cute helmet. Because they truly are super cute. The office showed us pictures of babies with their bands decorated for every season, with their names on them, some even come in funky patterns like sports teams and Hello Kitty. Interesting. Just keep us in your prayers as we undergo what I feel like is just 'one more thing' on our plate...that seems to be heaped pretty full these days. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

SIX whole months!!

I can't believe that Aspen is SIX months old!! It really feels like it was a few weeks since we got home from the hospital. She can sit up, been doing that for about a month now. She's trying VERY hard to go from laying down to sitting...she's so close! She still rolls all over the floor to get where she wants to go, but now she's up on all four's and rocks back and forth. She even lunges forward but forgets to move her arms and she face plants on the carpet! But she doesn't seem to mind too much. She can scoot all over the place. Just not an official "crawl" with hands and knees moving together. One of her very favorite things right now is the "Johnny Jumper" that hangs in the doorway. She can spend up to 45 minutes there while we're cooking and eating just jumping away. She just jumps and looks around and talks and spins. It's so cute! There is constant motion...I don't know how she can wiggle and jump that much without getting sick! Her favorite toys are the alphabet links we got when I was pregnant with Lincoln. She eats them and shakes them, and talks to them. She also really enjoys a vibrating star rattle that was handed down from my sweet friend Jessica, when Macy was too big for it.

She is wearing mostly her 3-6 month clothes. When we're in cloth diapers they're a little snug, but for the most part they still fit well. We have tons of 6-9 just waiting to be worn, but why not wear the 3-6 as long as possible? I never feel like she wears all the dresses she owns. Then I hate to see them go after only wearing them once. She's going to have to start dressing up more often than just to go to church! She's in size 1 shoes but they're almost too small. The size 2 is still too big and falls off or just seems to get in her way. 

We haven't had her 6 month check up yet, but last week we went to breastfeeding support group and she weighed 16 pounds, 6 ounces. This is so much less than Lincoln! At his 6 month check up he weighed 19 pounds, 3 ounces. She's mostly sleeping well. She sometimes wakes up but if we give her a paci she goes back to sleep. I'm trying not to feed her at night, I don't want to start a habit! We've recently begun giving her a bottle before bed, it seems to help her sleep better. She spits up a LOT. Lincoln didn't spit like this. And she can spit up like 2 hours after she ate. She'll be playing in the floor and suddenly, there it is. Yuck! Tons of laundry!

Anthony and I left her overnight for the first time last weekend. We always try to run away for our anniversary, so we left Lincoln with Grammy and Aspen with Nana. Mom said Aspen missed me a lot and had a rough time on Saturday after we left, but was sweet and snuggly and smiley on Sunday. She slept all night for Mom which was great, but I think it had been 4 or 5 nights that I'd been up with her in a row. It was definitely time to get a good night's sleep. Lincoln was his wonderful self and slept great and played well. We went to Fontana Village, NC. It's right by Fontana Dam. I was pretty excited to go. It's the largest concrete dam east of the Rockies and has great history of WWII. I taught 4th grade and there are pictures of Fontana Dam in our social studies book for NC history. I enjoyed seeing it. The Appalachian Trail actually crosses right over the top of the dam, so we actually walked a little over half a mile of the AT! Yay us!

Lincoln is fabulous, of course. He's wearing size 8 tennis shoes, but we're buying 9s for the fall and winter. He is wearing 2T shirts and pants. They're both a little big. The pants have to be adjustable waist or they don't stay up. He really needs the 2T for length, but they're always too big around the middle. He can still wear his 18 month pants from last fall...they're just about 3 inches too short! He still loves to ride his Radio Flyer Scoot 'n Zoom Scooter that we got him for his 1st birthday. He's crazy about cars, trucks, and trains. Oh, and tractors, and cranes, and diggers. Typical boy. Lately he's been carrying Aspen's Cabbage Patch Doll around and taking care of it. It's really sweet. He gives it a paci, wraps her up for nap and even puts her in the Johnny Jumper for exercise. I'm thinking about making him his own CPK for Christmas. Aspen's is actually her, named for her, and on her birthday. Thanks Anna!!

I'd just like to note that these were completely non-posted! That's just how he decided he wanted his picture taken!!!! :)

Lincoln still loves all things Mickey. He also really enjoys Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Chuggington. Let's just say we watch the Disney Channel. He loves, loves, loves to ride his big truck outside. And almost every day he listens to hear the ice cream truck! Ha. We're going to Disney on Ice this Saturday and I'm really excited! We're going with some friends, Nicole, Michael, and Maddy Turnmeyer. Lincoln and Maddy are 3 months apart and they play very well together. Maddy is just as verbal as he is, so they share pretty well and talk a LOT! It's very cute! Nicole is my crafting friend. We often go to her house to spend the day creating fun things from Pinterest!

We're working on potty training. Mostly he tells me after he's peed in his diaper, then it's too late. But on days like today he's only peed in his diaper twice, and on the potty the rest of the day! Hooray! We've also just moved him to napping in his own bed. For the longest time he napped on the couch. When Aspen came along it got too loud and too hard to let him nap on the couch so I moved him to our bed. He's been napping in our bed probably since Aspen was a few weeks old. I need to be able to do laundry and things from my bedroom during nap so we just recently got him to sleep in his bed for a nap. Progress! He's still in a crib, that he doesn't even try to climb out of. My thoughts are to keep him locked up as long as possible! No reason to tempt him to get out of bed when he doesn't need to.

I just celebrated my 31st birthday. Wow. I don't feel old!! But I definitely wouldn't want to go back  to being 25. After a weekend in Boone listening to all the kids over at the bar beside Erin's house until alllllll hours of the morning, I'm so over that. I hate the wooing around outside late at night, the inconsiderate loudness, and their general attitudes. I'd also like to go to bed by 10. Does that mean I'm old?!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ooooh mobility!!

Lock the baby gates and take away the breakables!! Aspen Ensley Vance is mobile!!!

She's not exactly "crawling" by being up on hands and knees...but she scoots and wiggles both forward and backward. My original prediction of September is definitely correct! She will probably be up on all 4s by the end of next week....she can roll all over the floor and use her feet to push herself around wherever she wants to go! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Go vote!!

I entered Aspen's picture in one of Parent Magazine's photo contests. You can vote once a day.

So go vote!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I just want to make it public that I am predicting that Aspen will crawl VERY soon! In fact, I think she'll be crawling before October gets here! She's already rolling from here to there and can get up on all 4s. She kinda falls back down but she works her hands and feet enough that she can get herself turned around and try to get her toys. So there. I said it. I'll try to make Anthony make a prediction tonight!

Anyone else wanna guess?! Just post a comment down below by clicking where it says "No comments" or "1 Comment" or whatever it may be. 


Monday, September 3, 2012

Crazy Summer

I am absolutely disappointed in myself for not posting more this summer. But I guess that's how it goes when you have two small children at home, one of whom is turning out to be a drama queen!! :) Not to mention we've been gone on vacation for a while in August, and I had to finish cleaning out my classroom. What a monumental task.

So I am completely finished cleaning out my classroom. Our storage building is totally full of randomness...I need to take a picture. It's ridiculous! I'm not sure how long I'm going to hang onto it. If (when) I go back to work I don't really want to go back into the classroom. Since I have a masters in technology I'd be able to do other things. I could teach computer classes. I could be a TA in a computer room. But what I think I'd really like to do is work as a data manager for one of the schools. I would manage NC Wise and attendance and such. Surely my master's degree would get me far enough! But for now I'm having a fabulous time staying home with my babies!

Lincoln is a joy. Every day he makes me laugh.

 He is so smart and can help me do so many things. He is just beginning to be interested in going potty. For FIVE mornings now, he's been dry in the morning and has pee pee potty'd!! We're rewarding with lots and lots of silly dancing and singing (how embarrassing for us) and M&M's. He can't yet tell us he needs to go, but he's beginning to realize the signals and I ask him to go all the time. We try to sit and go every diaper change. I'm not willing or able to go "cold turkey" and just put him in underwear or naked. I have a house full of carpet that would require tremendous cleaning if that were ever to happen. So none of that for us. Just a little at a time, please! I think he's doing great for just getting started. Yesterday he peed 3 times in the potty! That's the first time he's done it more than just in the morning or after nap. He is amazing and LOVES to sing. He knows his entire kids CD from listening in the car. He knows the entire alphabet song, even the "won't you sing with me" part. It's precious. He sings Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star more than anything else. He also still loves "Uffin Dan" and is now singing a lot of Baa Baa Black Sheep. He knows tons of colors, letters, shapes. We've been trying some preschool type activities off of Pinterest and that's been tons of fun. We just did one matching stickers to colors. He had to name the shape of the sticker and the color, then group them together. It's exciting to watch him think it out. He can now count to 14, even though there's an eleventeen in there somewhere! Most times he gets it right. He is incredibly compassionate. He's very aware of other people's feelings and asks what's wrong. Then he wants to hug you and love on you to make you feel better. He's just so sweet. He love love loves his little sister. It's just precious to see the two of them together. He wants to hug her, kiss her, hold her. Just yesterday he rode her around on his was the cutest thing! We got it on video! He still needs to be watched with her, but he's a lot better about being careful. Or maybe she's just getting bigger and it's not so scary. Aspen is starting to reach out to him, pull his hair when he comes close, and she laughs and giggles at him. Oh they're going to be fun.

Aspen is actually 5 months old now!!

 It's incredible how time flies. She can sit up on her own. We didn't know how good she was until we went on vacation and she started sitting up on the bed and playing with her toys. Totally unprepared for that. It seems too early. She's getting up on all 4's already...I'm afraid she'll be crawling in a few weeks. I'm not ready for her to be mobile yet!! I feel like I'm going to have to baby proof all over again! Lincoln's so good about not playing with stuff he's not supposed to, we'll have to do all that again. The gate at the top of the steps has to be closed at all times now because she can roll herself all the way over there! Since she figured out how to go from back to front she's been rolling all over. Today she rolled into the wall and couldn't go any she started licking it! Oh my. She's holding toys and playing with things so well now. She still drops things, and she still falls over but it just seems like her "baby-ness' is going away so fast. We're beginning sign language with her, also. It really, reallllly helped with communicating with Lincoln. We are hopeful that it will go as well with her. We're trying to help Lincoln remember them, so he can help us with them too. We truly feel that's why Lincoln is so verbal today, he had a jump start on communication. We started signing at 4 months with him and by 9 months he was beginning to sign back. Hopefully it will work for Aspen, too. She may be a bit of a drama queen. There have been several nights where Mom and Dad, or Anthony's parents will have the kids and she'll scream the whole time. They'll call us to come get her because she's so unhappy! That NEVER happened with Lincoln. When we get there and I pick her up she stops, then starts laughing at Nana. Ridiculous! Now she also gets mad if she's playing in the floor and I walk by. It's like she was fine until she saw me, then suddenly realized she wasn't with she starts fussing. I've begun walking out of the way just to avoid the drama! It's sweet to be loved that much, but really...get a grip girl!

She has tried baby cereal for the first time. It was quite funny. She tried to spit it all back out at me and blow raspberries. Of course she wore more than she ate! The second time she tried it she actually managed to open her mouth for the spoon and eat some. A work in progress...

For vacation this summer we waited until all Anthony's coworkers had their time off. They have school schedules to plan around and we don't! Imagine that!! We went to Atlanta and Tybee Island, Georgia. Atlanta was so we could go to the Georgia Aquarium and "see the dolphins!" Lincoln has been seeing the commercial for the dolphin show and has begged to go ever since. It was so much fun! It's big and beautiful and has just about everything you can imagine or want to see at the aquarium. 

This was huge and amazing!! The whale sharks are unbelievable. 

The dolphin show was fabulous! The singing was a little corny, but the dolphins were beautiful. I'm always amazed they can do those things...and that they follow commands so well. Amazing! Lincoln just kept saying that he wanted to swim with them. He also wanted to swim with the otters and the penguins!

We also visited Zoo Atlanta while we were there. It was a Monday and the first day of school for Atlanta kids, so it was perfectly empty! We saw elephants, lions, bears...and the highlight of the day: pandas. They actually have a panda named Po, just like Kung Fu Panda! It's all Lincoln could talk about!

Aspen spent most of the day sleeping on Daddy.

After Atlanta we traveled several more grueling hours in the car to Tybee Island. Aspen woefully chose this trip to make her loathing of the car seat known. She screamed for hours. We finally had to make some changes and ride between the car seats in the back so she would stop. It was pretty miserable. Next time we travel we're renting a mini van and taking Erin!!! :)

Tybee was beautiful! It's a small island off the coast of Savannah, GA and it's a little like Hawaii in its way of life. They call it "Tybee Time" and everyone is laid back and easy going. It's non-commercial and very private. Most of the accommodations are rental houses and condos. There's only 2 hotels on the island and they're quite small. There's no mini golf or huge restaurants. It was practically empty on the beach. I thought it was perfect! I was surprised that there are no shells at all. Just lots of broken, tiny pieces. 
Aspen's first dip in the ocean.

If you look closely you can see all of our footprints in the sand.

Lincoln absolutely loved the ocean this year. He just ran right into it and never looked back. He loved stomping on the waves as they came in, and he loved walking in the surf. He almost always had a stick in his hand to smack the water or draw in the sand. Aspen seemed to like the water when we stuck her toes in. She did not, however, enjoy the heat and fussed quite a bit about it. It was miserably hot while we were out on the beach. The wind and water were nice, but she wasn't getting a lot of either one of those. We spent a lot of time on vacation in our hotel rooms or in the car. This was the first time we've traveled since Anthony started dialysis and because of how he does it it takes up lots of time. So between nursing Aspen and doing Anthony's exchanges we spent plenty of time just hanging out. Thankfully Lincoln is such a fabulous boy and just goes with the flow pretty well.

This is only just a sampling of what's been happening this month. I will add pictures tomorrow! This thing takes For.Ever. to load! :)