The Graduate

Although Brett received his degree months ago, he will don his cap and gown to walk with his fellow BYU graduates tomorrow. It will be a great way to cap off Brett's educational experience at Brigham Young University.

Brett is graduating with a bachelor's degree in special education with an endorsement in mild/moderate disabilities. I knew when I married Brett that he would excel in whatever degree/profession he decided to choose. I admire him for choosing a degree that fits him and our family so well.

Brett is an incredible teacher and coach. He is compassionate, patient, selfless, organized, driven and personable. He is perfect as a special education teacher because instead of teaching a class, Brett teaches individuals. He works well with small groups and knows how to motivate each individual to do their best. Brett also creates a comfortable learning environment where students aren't afraid to say they don't understand a concept. Brett loves making a difference in the lives of young people who especially need supportive teachers and good role models.

Besides making Brett a better teacher, a degree in education has also taught Brett to be a better father. He has learned patience, consistency, discipline, and how to set clear expectations. While teachers are not paid the highest salaries, Brett recognizes that being a teacher includes non-monetary perks that are priceless, like spending more time with our family, ending the work day at 3:30, and enjoying summers off with our children.

We can't wait to see where Brett ends up teaching this fall. We could end up on a military base in a foreign country teaching for the Department of Defense. We may move out of state, or we may stay close. We may know very soon! Brett has had multiple interviews this week. He actually has an interview on the way home from graduation tomorrow! Don't worry, I'm sure he'll leave his cap and gown in the car.

I'm excited to celebrate Brett's graduation tomorrow. It marks the end of the "poor college student" chapter in our lives that I will always look back on with fondness. It's with excitement that I look forward to enjoying all that will come.



Dear Maddie Girl,

We've hit a few fun milestones this last month. You got two teeth, you started standing without holding on to anything, you learned to click your tongue, and you even took your first steps.

You are getting more and more confident with walking. You cruise around the room using the furniture for support and you make the transition from one object to another seem effortless. You have become very confident with standing. You will often stand on your own (without holding on to anything) for thirty seconds to a minute (as long as you don't get bored). You love to walk back and forth between Mommy and Daddy and you sometimes take a step or two on your own in the transition between our safe arms. You took your first step on Easter and you took two steps yesterday! You love pushing your walker all over the house. Sometimes you push it one handed, sometimes backwards, and sometimes you push it while you hold onto a toy in each hand. If your walker isn't handy, you will often push chairs around the kitchen to get to and from whatever catches your eye.

At eight months you were starting to wave goodbye occasionally. Now at nine months, you wave hello and goodbye whenever you have the chance. Seeing your cute little hand open and close is the cutest thing. Sometimes you use two hands when you are extra excited and decide a double wave is necessary. You are also starting to imitate whatever we do. You'll shake your head, bounce, click your tongue, wave, clap, and wiggle if we do it first.

You love to jabber. You still say "Momma" and "Dadda" and "Hi". Lately you've been working on your "R" sounds and and "La" sounds. You like combining different sounds together. You also talk in a cute high pitched voice when you are really excited about something.

You have such a playful spirit. You love to play hide and go seek and tag. I'll hide around the corner of the couch or behind your pack & play and you'll get all excited and start chasing me. If I peek around the corner you giggle and put your head down and start crawling faster and faster. Once you reach me you squeal and start climbing all over me. You also like to hide. Sometimes when we are visiting in the family room you will crawl through the kitchen and sit and wait around the corner in the hall. Once someone comes to peek around the corner you take off crawling as fast as you can down the hall, giggling as you go.

You are eating more and more food. We often share whatever we are eating. For baby food, we still use your baby oatmeal or some baby food as a base and add bits of whatever we are eating. You also love to eat whole peas on your own, bits of carrot, pineapple, blueberries, apples, noodles, etc.

Your growth has slowed down a bit (for the first time in your life). You've been moving around so much that you haven't gained much weight at all. You are exactly 20 lbs and you are 28 inches tall. You are no longer in the 98th percentile, at the moment you are in the 75th percentile. There is no need to worry, the pediatrician said that you have trimmed down from all the activity and that you will likely have another growth spurt soon. Even though you haven't gained much weight you still have healthy baby chunk on you! You are mostly wearing size 12 month clothing and some 18 month clothing. Your size three diapers are fitting much better now that you are becoming more lean.

We can't wait to see what this next month brings! We love you sweet Madeline!


Mommy & Daddy


Trigger Thumb

So a few months ago when Maddie first started feeding herself snacks, I noticed that she was using the tip of her thumb and pointer finger to grab things with her left hand (the pincer grasp), but that she grabbed things in an odd way with her right hand (using the side of the knuckle on her thumb and the side of her pointer finger). I figured that she was just getting the hang of the pincer grasp and didn't think much of it.

Then last night after a very busy day, Maddie fell sound asleep in my arms. Amused by her complete exhaustion, I started playing around with her limp arms and hands. I noticed that although every muscle in her body was limp, her right thumb was stuck in a bent position. I gently pressed on it to see if it would go straight but it did not budge. I pushed harder and harder, until I was putting a lot of pressure on it and it still stayed bent. I also felt a bump at the base of her thumb. I wondered for a moment if she had dislocated it playing or if she broke it. But as I pressed she slept soundly, oblivious to any pain.

Concerned, I looked through my computer at all my photos and videos of Madeline and realized that in every single one her thumb was bent. I googled "baby's finger stuck in bent position" and found information about pediatric trigger thumb, (thumb is stuck in fixed, flexed position due being born with a tight fibrous band). I pushed up Maddie's nine month check up to get an expert opinion.  The pediatrician checked it out and made the diagnosis almost immediately.

While I am relieved that Maddie's thumb isn't broken or dislocated, I am still broken hearted for my sweet girl because she will most likely need surgery. While spontaneous recovery does happen, our Dr. said that it was rare in babies and children. So we will "wait and see" and massage her thumb daily to hopefully loosen the tendon naturally. The good news is that it shouldn't interfere with her development, though she may end up favoring her left hand and becoming left handed. She also may need to do therapy to correct the muscles in her right hand.

While I am sad that Madeline has to deal with trigger thumb and likely need surgery, I recognize how blessed we have been when it comes to Madeline's health and well being. Besides a minor case of the sniffles and eczema she has been a very healthy girl. I just feel so bad thinking that she may be in pain, that it may be holding her back, or that it may hold her back in the future. I also feel bad for not noticing it sooner!

If Madeline needs surgery it is a relatively easy procedure that has statistically very positive outcomes. It would be outpatient and she would wear a soft cast for a couple weeks. My main anxiety about surgery is the idea of having Madeline put under general anesthesia and dealing with a potentially traumatic experience at a young age. 

So please say a little prayer for our baby girl. We hope that she can recover from this without surgery.

It's been a long time since that first diagnosis. Our pediatrician was very helpful and encouraged us to continue waiting it out and not do surgery when she was 1 year old. I am so glad we decided to wait it out. When Madeline was 17 months, her thumb spontaneously went straight! She is now 2 1/2 and it is still straight. She has been doing great with writing and with other fine motor skills. She does sometimes move her thumb around to where it sticks for a second and then she unsticks it herself by bending her thumb. It doesn't hurt her at all. Our pediatrician is not concerned and says she is doing great.