Wednesday, February 22, 2012


dear little leah,

today you turned five years old. FIVE. um, that's half a decade and i kind of don't believe it. to be completely honest, if i think about the last five years in detail, there were some pretty loooooooong stretches in there {ahem, 2009}. but today, today it's like i blinked and you changed from the tiniest little 5 lb. 14 oz., 17-inch cherub into one of the most beautiful young ladies i have ever met.

you truly melt my heart, miss leah. you are strong and independent and STUBBORN {i have NO idea where you get that from?}, but i love it. i really do. i would so rather you be these wonderful things than their opposites. you know what you want and you are willing to work so hard to reach your goals.

for example, just this year you:

-learned to climb stairs. i'm not kidding. you have seriously blown my mind with this. first it was just one, then two and the next day, all 15 in our house. there are moments you look from the bottom stair all the way to the top and think you just don't have the energy to climb the mountain today. but you always do it. always. and it still blows me away.

-learned to give high fives. you mostly do this for daddy. but it is hilarious and heart-melting all at once. i love it.

-improved so much on the potty. really, you probably go at least once a day and you are getting so much better at telling us you need to go even if we don't ask {sorry, i'm so bad at that!}.

-decreased your teeth grinding quite a bit. it's not completely eradicated by any means, but you are much more aware of it. it mostly happens now when you are tired, but if i hold your cheeks or sometimes even if i just mention for you to stop, you will.

-improved leaps and bounds with your switch. you are getting so good at this, leah! i think we still have taylor swift to thank, as her music is often a reward for hitting your switch. we should write her a letter, huh? we owe that girl a lot. but your switch is really helping you communicate and do lots of things at school. using your scissors is a pretty amazing new trick for you as you have to hold the switch down {not just hit the switch} to continue activating the blade. it's so great to watch.

-gained 5 pounds. this is truly an accomplishment. at your five year check up you were 34 pounds and i had to do a double take of the scale. your bmi has shot up nearly two points {so no g-tube for you, missy!}.

-figured out new ways to communicate. your yes/no eye gaze is getting pretty great as well as making choices between a few options. and you seem to prefer to use your hands/arms when making a choice. we just need to figure out how to reign in the excitement.

oh, leah. i'm sure there's so much more that i just can't even think of right now!

you have a lot of favorites at the moment. your favorite tv shows are super why and the cat in the hat. your favorite movies are tangled and kung fu panda still, i think. but you have a great sense of humor and seem to love lots of different movies. 

your favorite foods are tomatoes and watermelon. you often choose a tomato for your afternoon snack - and you will devour it in no time flat! as for watermelon, this isn't new, but your love for watermelon certainly hasn't waned. you will eat and eat and eat and eat that red, watery goodness until you are sick. and actually, you won't stop there. i usually have to stop you. but i can't blame you, because i do the same thing. you usually have cheerios with vitamin d milk for breakfast {your choice!}, but sometimes we switch it up with eggs/toast/sausage {gotta get some meat on those bones!} or pancakes. you seem to have outgrown your love for oatmeal as a general rule, but you still choose it every once in awhile. in addition to your previous diet of chicken nuggets or quesadillas for lunch, you will now tolerate ham or turkey sandwiches and green salad {loaded with tomatoes, cucumbers and mushrooms}. this is a GREAT thing! you love tomatoes, clementines, apples, applesauce, peaches, pears, raisins and cheese for snacks. your appetite for beverages has thankfully increased this year as well. i used to be lucky to get one teeny tiny cup of something down your pipes once a day. but in the last year, you have learned to love all things water, milk, pediasure and juice. and you are still my little dipper - ketchup and ranch dressing seem to be continuing favorites. really, you are such a great eater. you will consume pretty much anything we put in front of you - or at least you'll tolerate it. from cous cous to salmon to curry and more, i know you are willing to eat more than the average five year old. hooray! {now if we can just make sure you pass this trait along to your little sister...}.

you are a master cuddler. i could cuddle with you all day long. you usually don't stop moving, so sometimes cuddling can be dangerous. but when you're sleepy you quickly scoot over to anyone who is nearby and snuggle right on in. this could be me, daddy, family, friends, teachers, neighbors...or even strangers, really. you are so loving.

you are learning to be more gentle. when you get excited, those arms go wild. and you're a strong girl, so it's not always the most pleasant thing to be in their way. we still haven't figured out how to direct this excitement in a more positive direction, but we're working on it...and just hope you don't lose any little friends in the meantime.

your least favorite part of the day is tooth-brushing time. we won't tell grandpa hauley.

your second least favorite part of the day is sitting still for me to do your hair {usually}, but when we talk about rapunzel and you see the finished product, you are usually very pleased with the results.

you love going to school. LOVE it. the kids in your class are simply fantastic and you seem to prefer the gentlemen. i don't blame you. they are super cute, aren't they? you are learning all sorts of things about the alphabet, letters, numbers, weather, the solar system and more, and you just soak it in. i get notes every day about what you did and what you were able to participate in. for a few months now, all of the good boxes are checked 99% of the time, meaning you are able to sit and participate for longer periods of time than just a few short months ago. go you. 

you have adjusted to "cold" weather like a champ. although this winter has been kind of a dud, you never complain when we have to put on your coat and snowpants and boots and mittens and neck warmer and hat. it's a lot of junk to carry around on your tiny little frame...but you do it. and you look so cute when you do.

you still love to read books. we are moving up in the world and have acquired some new chapter books including some from the junie b. jones series and more. this has been lots of fun for both of us. you could read for hours.

one of your major weaknesses is hitting. i think you love the sounds that come from hitting things really hard - like the stove and the tv. but this is not acceptable. which is why we got you a drum. that, you can hit. 

you love to dance and i often see you in the rear view mirror of the car bobbing up and down to whatever is on the radio. you even tolerate the rock dad listens to. you love to run and i still get a grin on my face when i see your tiny body dart through the house. you have greatly increased your ability to sit still for prolonged periods of time, especially when you know you're tired. you climb onto {and off of} the couch like a champ. you give hugs and kisses like it's nobody's business. we've been practicing our kindness on dollies in hopes it will rub off by may...we're still crossing our fingers. and you love to bake and cook with me in the kitchen - especially when we wear our matching aprons.

i love your excitement for life, your giggles and your sense of humor. 

but mostly i love you. to the moon and back. and i'm so grateful for every last second of the past five years you have been a part of my life. 

i really, truly, love you miss ribbons. 


Monday, February 13, 2012


dear little leah, 

just for the sake of an update, seizures still drool. they are the worst, don't you think!? i do. and i'm so sorry that you are the one who has to suffer through them. we've upped your dosage of keppra and it seems to be working, for the most part. the most part NOT being yesterday when you had your all-time high of 20. twenty seizures in one day {including four at night as i laid in your bed by your side}. even one wears you out enough to take a nap. so let's just say you and i did a lot of lounging on the couch. 

oh, little leah, you are stronger than you will ever know. thanks for waking up 20 times with a smile for my eyes and a giggle for my soul. 

you never cease seize to amaze me.

i love you. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

sdrawkcab day

dear little leah, 

last week at school, you had "sdrawkcab day" {more commonly known as backwards day}. my oh my did you fit the part. we're talkin' a turned around cardigan and some inside out french braids. you did everything backward at school, like free time at the end of the day and snack and circle at the beginning. the welcome board with your picture and all of your friends' pictures was on the other side of the room...and it was upside down! miss martin walked around backward looking into a mirror to see behind her. and to top it off, when i came to pick you up, you and all the other kids walked out to us...yup, backward. it was pretty awesome.

except for one thing: your personality fit the part that day too. you were completely backward. to keep things peaceful on the blog, let's just say we made a mutual decision to not be friends that day. i didn't like you one bit and i'm 110% certain you felt the same about me.

you kicked. you screamed. you hit. you bit. you pinched. you flailed. you gnashed. you did it all. 

and i, well, i screamed. a lot. 

i'm not here to say i'm proud of it, because i'm really not. but leah, you made me so angry! i was trying to be kind and do all the things i need to do for you every day, but i just wasn't getting the love in return. and it's hard to serve someone who isn't appreciative of that service. 

well, the day wore on, bedtime came and you fell asleep. i fell asleep a few hours later, crying. i was exhausted. 

the next day was better. much, much better. in fact, you had quite a few days right in a row that were downright awesome. 

and then backwards leah struck again. it was all too familiar. the kicking. the screaming. the hitting. the biting, pinching, flailing and gnashing. it was all back.

only this time, i decided that even though i had zero control over how you behaved, i had complete control over the way i did. and i chose to not scream. i chose to stay calm. and to give you the benefit of the doubt. i chose to speak calmly. and to give you lots of hugs when you cried. 
and you know what!? it made a difference. you were still kind of mean. but not nearly as mean as you were on the official backwards day. and that doesn't really matter. because it made a difference in me. at day's end, i wasn't nearly as exhausted and i had much better thoughts about you and about myself. i wasn't angry; i was proud of you for being you and dealing with it so well the other 99% of the time. i figured you deserve a day every once in awhile to just completely flip out. and if you're going to have to take it out on someone, i guess i'm glad you chose me. that shows me you're comfortable with me and you're willing to show me your true self - insecurities, frustrations and all. 

i really do love you leah. i know sometimes you probably think i don't show it enough, but i'm going to try my very hardest to remember this experience and to always treat you with the kindness and love you deserve. because you absolutely do deserve it. 

i love you, little leah. even when you're backwards.