Still Four Even if I'm Late in Posting on it

Veronica turned four in January. And like a broken record from most parent's mouths, "I can't believe she's already four." Okay, there I said it and now move on. She's a pretty spectacular girl and life would be far more boring without her little phrases, asking for mama to tell yet another story, and talking about food, "I think eating is nice!" Girl after my own heart.

She shares a birthday with both my brothers. The night before she was born I showed no progress and my younger brother Andrew called to see if a baby would be born on his birthday (which was the next day)? I said, "Nope!" After hanging up I headed to bed and sure enough...water broke and on toward the hospital due to testing positive for strep B. I called Andrew back and said, "Looks like I'm wrong and your niece or nephew will be sharing a birthday with you after all." Sidenote: This year my good friend Tina gave birth to her firstborn on V's birthday, so that means quite a bit of birthday action.

We hung the birthday banner and Veronica decided upon her floofy pink dress to wear. She is all girl who delighted in see her birthday morning surprise...


I made some homemade sourdough doughnuts for a birthday treat (surprisingly didn't leave a gut bomb--an ode to sourdough).

A little birthday celebration and I made my specialty, Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes (this time gluten-free and yes, they tasted superb).

Sisterly love while opening presents, could it get any more cute?

Dear Veronica--

Next to your sister, you tie for the best gift I've ever been given. I'm amazed at the beauty of your heart. Your ability to dream big, to live a world that is full of possibilities and imagination. I pray that you would hold tight to that world and let go of anxiety & worry that so easily entangles. That you would dance with abandon forever. That your rest would be in knowing you are delighted in and Jesus sings over you as you dance with that abandon. Your love of good things, eating yummy food, telling & listening to stories, considering your sister and others by generously giving, wanting to be a helpmate to your family, and asking for seconds on tickles.
My sweet sweet little girl, I'm blown away by how far you've come in this world, and you're only four. You have so much more to conquer and learn. You have one of the biggest hearts I've ever seen. I'm proud to be able to call you my daughter. I've grown and become a better person because of you. You've taught me how to love more adequately and graciously. You've given me opportunity to practice patience and model it to you. I'm forever grateful & smitten. I adore you Veronica Storey! God knew what was he was doing when he created you...with your luxurious curls, big chocolate brown eyes full of expression, slight dimples & beautiful inside & out.

Love that older lady you call Mama


A Bigger Smile

I have realized that I haven't written much about Veronica's school. As of today, she has been enrolled in the Special Education ECE program for 6 weeks, and we have already seen dramatic improvements in her overall countenance, abilities, & self. I find myself looking at her (like in this picture) and saying, "how did I get such a beautiful, kind-hearted little girl?" How about I give you a window into our world prior to V enrolling into the school, and after shots.

Before (I'm only going through areas where we've seen improvements, because she definitely had many strengths prior to the school):

1. She didn't even like attempting to put clothes on, because when your fingers and fine motor skills aren't working properly, it only brings frustration and tears.
2. Social interactions were much more scarce, like looking at people when she was talking with them, having much interest in friends, and having that confidence one needs when approaching social/emotional interactions.
3. She was showing signs of improvement when it came to gross motor, due to her appointments with her physical therapist, but there were still areas of improvement needed.
4. Taking charge and being a bit more driven to do life without me as her mom right there.
5. Drawing & coloring, she never wanted to do these things. When she did color it looked more similar to an 18 month old's abilities.
6. Conversation, speaking, & thinking. She has always been a conversationalist, storytelling sort of girl. But, there was a bit missing, which could be tied in with #2 here.


1. In terms of fine motor skills (i.e. drawing, coloring, writing, putting clothes on, etc), she originally showed resistence to even adult assistance in these areas, which her teacher told me she did the same in the first week at school. When a child (or anyone) has a delay and they are resistence to even try, it makes therapy that more difficult. Luckily, she was very welcome to Miss Jill during physical therapy. Fine Motor (occupational therapy) was very resistent. She would cry, throw herself on the ground, and scream when she couldn't do something or even when you tried to help. She is just now learning (and getting more confident and self-controlled) how to stay calm to work out these more detailed lines of work. Ben and I have seen her go from flayling about just to ask her to put underwear on to getting her underwear and calming attempting to put them on. I have to give credit to myself as well (not boasting), because obviously the school doesn't teach them this element of clothing, nor should it be there job. However, with the combination of weekly Occupational Therapy coupled with other fine motor activities they do everyday in the school, we see a little girl gaining confidence & willingness to partake in these activities. She wants to color & draw everyday, dress herself, and start to use her fork & spoon. She's also beginning to have more control over these fine motor skills. Learning to have precision and overall balance & focus.

2. Veronica has never been a mean kid. Never been a bully. Never been the kid who other kids didn't want to be around due to negative behavior. However, she was also never the kid who interacted much, which is no wonder why other kids didn't mind her...they didn't notice her. She kept to herself. I was (and am still not) never worried about her having some syndrome like Aspberger's or Autism, due to her lack of social interactions. Yet, I knew something was missing. One arena where I think I'm most fond of and tear up a bit is her new friend, M. Veronica has a couple friends that she will pray for and talk about at home; however, (aside from Cadence) M has a special place in Veronica's heart. It was her second or third week of school and I dropped her off that day. She was coloring on the floor with the SLP, when the rest of the kids came in from the bus. There was M. Veronica looked up and the response I saw from her was none I'd ever seen before when seeing a friend. Her eyes widened, her mouth turned upwards and and uplifting sigh followed by, "HI M!" She quickly got up and went to her to say hello again (in case she didn't hear the first time). Since then, I've heard numerous stories of how M's mom also made a Green Goddess smoothie for her when she got home from school (coincidence that I made V one that same day?) and squealed with delight when there at the door on her birthday party was M.

3. As far as fine & large motor skills, she wants to color almost everyday, create using her fine motor and wants to put on her own clothes. She is becoming more patient and less frustrated when endeavoring in the fine motor arena. Gross motor skills continue to grow and develop. She's getting more confident and sure of her abilities. Confidence in one self is essential in success. She finding hers and I'm incredibly grateful.

4. As a result of this confidence, I have seen her take playing on playgrounds, interacting with others & going to Sunday School with such stride. She isn't full of fear or hesitation, but holds her head a bit higher. She is looking at people in the eye. She is taking interests in life with new glasses. I do believe her smile has grown in the past months and I know it's only going to get more big.


A New Friend

This month's favorite stuffed animal is Spot from Grandma Scellick. Grandma told Veronica that she had a puppy at her house waiting to meet her and her beloved Puppy (below). When we got to their house before Christmas, she fell in love with a new little puppy, along with the Spot books that went along with the stuffed animal Spot. Four of the five books have these little flaps, where you lift up to see what is happening or who is there. One book, Spot Goes to the Beach, Spot's parents ask him, "What did you find Spot?" When you lift the flap, there is Spot with another dog and he answers, "A new friend!" Now, Spot wasn't the only new pup introduced during Christmas. Cadence got one too.
As Grandma was reading this part in the book, Cadence exclaims, (while holding her new puppy and pointing at "A new friend" in the book), "It's NEW FRIEND!," meaning she was holding "new friend" while Veronica was holding "Spot." So, if you happen to be babysitting our girls one night and Cadence says, "where's new friend?" She's referring to her pup.


Catepillars, Butterflies & One Imaginative, Outstanding Girl

My daughter (probably not uncommon like most little ones)gets a tad bit infatuated with various objects. One week it's Puppy, who was Ben's puppy when he was a boy. Another week it's butterfly, who was her little stuffed/scrunchy animal from when she was a baby, which was found in storage. Sometimes the phases are longer than a week, lasting months (insert Strawberry Shortcake). One thing is certain about her infatuations, she is consistent in the way in which she fully encapsulates the world of this inanimate object. Somehow she reminds me of a little girl I once knew (her name Kamille--maybe you know her).

One of her fascinations started one night before bed. At this point, she already knew butterfly, but wasn't acquainted with catepillar. I was sorting through some toys in the closet accumulating dust, while putting some in a box, out came a little rainbow catepillar. Grandma Scellick gave it to Cadence when she was a baby and we hadn't seen the poor little thing in months. Now, prior to Veronica spotting it, she wouldn't have batted an eye; however, at that moment she was enraptured. It became a sweet, sweet friend. A friend in which needed to be cherished, adored and tended to. Once she realized that she also had a puzzle of the The Very Hungry Catepillar, she soon began discussing the events of the day to it. As well as this...

A couple months later we found ourselves in a toy store where Veronica saw a big version of the little catepillar. To say she was thrilled would not suffice. We ended up creating a star chart where she could get a star sticker for every morning she stayed in her room until mommy or daddy came to get her. If she got 15 stickers, then she could get the big catepillar. Incentive my friends is a BEAUTIFUL thing, especially when it warrants you extra sleep in the morning. So thank you Big Catepillar!


Facet of Faces

Aside from being utterly adorable, these two girls are such delights as well. Their personalities (as you can see by the pictures) are both unique (and uniquely different), which is quite evident in their hair alone. I'm very thankful for their blossoming friendship. With Veronica going to school now, she made a friend who she constantly talks about named M. When Ben was reading a book to Veronica about friends, he said, "Oh, like M, you're best friend!" Veronica quickly said, "No daddy! Cadence is my best friend!" I feel like we're currently in that stage of wonderfulness with our girls growing in understanding & comprehension. Veronica is showing more kindness and maturing in what a beautiful heart looks like, while Cadence is, well, two years old (it's a work in progress).