Ethan’s Progress Report

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I know that it has been awhile since I have written a progress report for my sweet youngest boy. Life has just been busy.  Good…but busy.

As I sat here this morning, though, I knew that I simply must write a short post because last night, as we completed homework, I was beaming.  I had Ethan kiss his brain five times.  He was beaming.

Gabriel was watching Ethan in awe, and as soon as he finished his work, he gave him the sweetest, most sincere, heartwarming hug.  Yes, big brother was beaming, too.

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And, when Sean arrived home, I could hardly let him put away his things before I had Ethan showing off his skills, which then had Papa beaming, as well.

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To say that it was a great night would be an understatement.

Ethan is shining.  He is learning sign language, which is helping him continue to learn to read. Last night, there were two things that had everyone so excited.  The first one was his worksheets that always have a word or matching phrase.  Ethan completes the worksheets and then writes his name at the top of the paper, without any prompting.  Gabriel could literally not believe what he was seeing.  I think that I enjoyed watching Gabriel’s reaction just as much as I enjoyed watching Ethan so confidently complete the homework by himself.

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The second thing that had everyone so excited was the reading passages that Ethan had to read. He was signing the words faster than he could approximate them.  We usually make him slow down so that the signs are more accurate.  Last night we did not stop him.  He was a little boy on a mission, and he knew exactly what he was signing and saying.  It was beautiful.

I literally have teachers who stop me to tell me what a break through year Ethan is having.  In the past, Ethan would not say much or make eye contact if someone who he did not know well tried to talk to him. We think that he did not want them to know that he could not speak clearly.  That does not stop him now.  He knows what he is saying.  He knows that he has a voice.  And, if someone wants to have a conversation with him, he is all about letting his sweet voice be heard.

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At Gabriel’s birthday party last weekend, Ethan was so comfortable.  He jumped in the trampoline with the children, he ate at the big picnic tables with everyone, he participated in the nerf gun war with the big kids, and he was right in the middle of the silly string action, as well.  He was just one of the kids, and it was such a beautiful sight.

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I am not sure what makes me more proud.  I do not know if it is the fact that he is soaking up so much information.  Or the fact that he has gained so much confidence in himself this year.  Or maybe even that fact that he knows who he is, and he is determined to let his little light shine. Yes, that is definitely what has to make me the most proud.  We have always told our children that the thing that makes them the most special is that “you are YOU!”  Ethan is really understanding that this year, and that makes this momma’s heart swell with absolute pride.

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Yes, second grade has been good to my sweet boy.  Our teacher was put on this earth to be a teacher.  She entered our lives two years ago, and we are blessed beyond belief to know her and to have her love our children.  She and Ethan are both independently magic in so many wonderful, amazing ways, so, together, they are a force.  A magical, wonderful force.

Weekend Things

We had a great weekend.  Sean is finally in his slower time of the year at work, which means that he is taking some time off to be at home with us.

1.  We started the weekend early by going to Sea World on Thursday.  It is a magical place  with unicorns in the form of dolphins and rainbows everywhere we look.



2.  On Friday, we had pizza and movie night, followed by a little celebration because Cooking for My Kids turned 1.


3.  I did a little photo shoot with Ethan when I was writing his weekly progress report.  I love looking back through pictures of him and seeing how much his personality shines through in every single photo.




4.  Sweet Gabriel started feeling rotten on Friday.  We did multiple breathing treatments throughout the day, and by Saturday, his lung capacity was much better.


5.  What was supposed to just be a quick mowing job on Friday turned into an all-out landscaping weekend, complete with mulch, stones, and more grass.  The yard beautification project continued, and I am very pleased with the results. It is times such as this that my husband is so glad that I was raised on a farm and can hold my own with yard work.


6.  We went to see Brave on Sunday, and it was such a sweet, feel-good movie.  When Gabriel asked me my favorite part, I said, “When the daughter realized how much she loves and needs her mom.”  He said, “I knew you were going to say that.”  My children know me so well.  Family is everything.



I could not ask for more in a weekend – Sea World, a celebration, yard work, family time, and a movie.  It does not take much to make this momma happy.

Have a super week!

Happy Birthday, Cooking for My Kids!!


Today is a special day.

And, as is the case with all special days, we celebrated.

One year ago today, I started this blog.  I honestly did not have a single clue what I was doing, and I never thought that it would be read by anyone other than family and friends.  I just wanted a place to write down our recipes, our story, our family journey.  I wanted a place to store the memories.

We were starting the gluten/dairy/peanut free journey with Ethan, and I had feelings of fear and hesitation until Sean told me one day, “Natalie, this might be your best moment.  It might be what you were called to do.” This is an excerpt from my first blog post.

I sit here wondering where to begin.  How do I describe our story, our family, in a single blog entry?  I can’t.  I remember playing Life as a kid, wanting the husband, the house, and the kids.  It always felt so good in the game…but not half as good as the reality.  Being a mom is not what makes me special; being the mom to my kids is what makes me special.  I have hesitated to start a blog for fear of failure, fear of not living up to expectations, and fear of not always knowing the rules.  I so want to describe everything in such a way that everyone will know how beautiful this journey has been/is for me, for us.  But, then I realized, this is life.  This is our life.  And, there are no rules in the real game of life.

I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every moment of sharing our story, testing out recipes, trying recipes that other bloggers have already created and tested, and virtually meeting some amazingly sweet people along the way.


Thank you for an incredible year.  Thank you for being here for us when Ethan had his ulcers, when we finally received his childhood apraxia of speech diagnosis, when we celebrated the big things and the small things, and when we just shared our family moments.

I have said several times that I wish I had started this little blog many, many years ago.  But, I didn’t.  I started it a year ago for a very special reason.  I needed a blank canvas to share. I needed to let go of the fear of failure and take a leap of faith.  I needed to share our journey because I wanted other people to experience the magic, the unicorns, and the rainbows.

Every good celebration needs a fantastic dessert.  A quick glance at my options, landed me over at Picky Palate.  I knew that her Bakery Style Cookies would be just what we needed to celebrate a special day.  Celebrate our day, celebrate the weekend, celebrate summer, celebrate Friday….just find a reason to celebrate.  And, if you need cookies to make the celebration just perfect, click here for the fantastic recipe.


Happy Birthday, Cooking for My Kids!  You have been such a fun 4th baby!