"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Isla Frances is 3 1/2 Years Old!!!

So Isla had her 3 year well visit finally!  We weren’t sure if she needed one or if we should even do one since we knew she was fine and it isn’t a shot year, but I decided to go ahead and do it just to make sure.IMG_0799

And sure enough! She’s perfect. Healthy weight and height. Smart. Funny. Busy. I have so much to say about my precious first born so feel free to scroll and not read!

20131011 from Nikon 040

General Isla Facts:

Favorite colors: red and (sigh) orange

Favorite movie: The Land Before Time

Favorite TV Show: Curious George

Best Friends: Kaylin and Gabby

Favorite Game: Kitty Cats and Puppy Dogs

Favorite Toy: Her Land Before Time Sarah doll

Favorite Songs: Baby Mine, Hungry, Hungry Herbivore, and How Deep the Father’s Love for Us – she loves having mommy sing these to her over and over!

Favorite Food: Eggs and Cheese Tortillas


Isla has such a joyful little heart.  She loves to meet new people and rarely gets shy.  She is very obedient and polite.  And by obedient, she is a 3 year old and not a robot so obviously she is not perfect, but she really does try to be good.  Adults seem to really enjoy her. She is very engaging and charming.  She loves her little friends too, although she can be a little rough in her affection and occasionally grabby about their toys.  We are working on that one. I don’t think she is any bossier than other children, but she can be a little bossy sometimes. She is much less bossy than I was, that’s for sure.

She is very good about saying she is sorry when she has been legitimately naughty. However, at our house, mommy and daddy are pretty free with the “I’m sorrys” and “Will you forgive mes?” Since at every stage of her life things are new to Nick and I, we mess up a lot, and unfortunately we give her many opportunities to extend grace as well as receive it.

We call her the hummingbird!  She is happy and she flits everywhere all the time. She is so interested and so curious about everything.  She is also soooo grabby and very clumsy.  She is eager to jump in and help, often with disastrous results!!! I am learning to be patient and accept her help joyfully, as I know she will not always want to help me and be right beside me. I get better all the time, but this would definitely be one area where I have struggled with patience.

Here she is “helping” me weed our garden Smile.


Isla loves being read to, I will read book after book after book to her and she still cannot get enough. Reading is the only thing that keeps her sitting still besides watching movies. Even when she is sitting still, she is still moving and rolling her body, even though her eyes stay in one place.

I do have a few areas of concern with Isla. I have really worried that she might have ADHD. She is too young to really know for certain, but I see many signs of it.  We do a lot of exercises to improve her focusing skills. There is a new one in On Becoming Childwise that I want to start doing.  I see improvement all the time but sometimes I think even Gemma focuses better than Isla.  I need to get better about reinforcing that she is only allowed to play with a few toys during Independent Playtime.  I also put a lot of emphasis on her health – both on her sleep habits and what she puts in her body to help with her hyperactivity.

I also worry about her people-person personality. She has even started to really verbalize “Mommy, I don’t want to be alone. Mommy, I don’t like to be alone.” or “Mommy, then I will be all alone.” Right now being alone is a big fear of hers.  Her ability to connect with and people and love for people can be a wonderful thing, but I worry about her when she gets older.  Will she be the kind of person who cannot be alone? I have seen this personality trait turn into something destructive in an older person so we work a lot on being ok being alone (with Mommy nearby) and being able to entertain herself without outside stimulation.  We also focus on the fact that Jesus is always with her and she always had angels with her.


Isla is at that age where she is always making us laugh and mixing up words. My latest favorite “Mommy, here are your Fla-Mangos” when bringing me mangos. Hahahaha. Or today – “Oh yes, I love peperoni (macaroni) and cheese.” “Mommy put the air (hair) conditioner in my hair so it won’t hurt when you brush it.”  Her voice is starting to even out more – it no longer cracks or sounds like a cross between Bobcat Goldthwaite and an adolescent boy.

She has known her letters for a year and half now, and she has started to understand reading and is identifying words as well as sounding out letters. Its not something that I make a big deal over, I ask her if she wants to learn to read and she says no. In time the desire will grow.  We just spend a lot of time cultivating a love of books. We get very into our stories! I love our time reading together.

Isla is also getting very good at counting. She has a harder time the higher the count goes.  I recommend these two toys from Melissa and Doug – the Numbers Sound Puzzle and Self Correcting Numbers Puzzle. We do them together, although we have not done the latter in a while.

I keep saying that I am going to start a chore chart for Isla… um, haven’t done it yet, but Nick and I have decided that she will be responsible for feeding Frodo and getting dressed and um… something else that I have forgotten.

I also need to work harder on having Isla clean up her toys.  She is willing, I am just not always very consistent about making her do it or giving her the time to do it.

She has mad dinosaur naming skills Smile - thanks to Dinosaur Train she can name almost all the species.


Isla is a good little eater for a 3 year old. I’ve seen better, and I’ve seen worse, but in general I am very happy with her eating. She will try anything new, but it has to be with prompting from me. If its new on her plate she will usually just ignore it. Rarely does she love anything new once she tries it though. However she gets a wide variety of healthy old favorites and she has a green smoothie almost every morning so I don’t worry.  A typical day for Isla is a green smoothie and/or fruit for breakfast, either a baked sweet potato, almond butter and jelly sandwich, or avocado on crackers for lunch and then dinner is whatever we are having with various healthy snacks thrown in there during the day. On preschool days she gets a cheese stick, animal crackers, a veggie and the healthiest juice boxes that I can find so those are her off days. Her favorites remain – eggs and cheese tortillas… and hot dogs of course Smile.

One thing that I do a lot is mix in things she likes with things she doesn’t (like sprinkle cheese on something new or mix it with noodles) and that works very well for acclimating her to new food. When she was little, I managed to get her to eat avocado by mixing it with goat cheese and then just mixing in less and less goat cheese until it was all avocado. To this day she calls avocado “green cheese”.

Of course she loves chocolate and candy like any kid (and her mama and daddy)!


Isla is still taking naps most days that they are offered. She has gone periods without napping but I always make her do quiet time which usually turns back into nap time after periods of not sleeping.  She is hard to keep in one place so we have various tools that we use to make quiet time easier on all of us, and hopefully get her some sleep.

  • We use an “OK to Wake Owl” to let her know when she is able to get up from quiet/nap time. This is so important as it is a visual that she can understand at her age.
  • We have moved quiet time into the TV room – it’s the darkest room in the house and we set her up in her quiet time spot on our brown couch.
  • We have her watch TV for 30 minutes before lights out for quiet time. Everything else just stimulates her – it is essential for her to be still in order to nap. Otherwise she just rolls all over her bed or the couch or wherever she is napping and won’t fall asleep. Reading does NOT calm her down. Sitting still does, but that is hard for her to do without TV.
  • We also have a rule that she has to be 1) still and 2) quiet for quiet time. We can’t expect her to fall asleep, but we can expect her to be still (ie not get up from her bed) and quiet.
  • We give her one book to look through during quiet time. For some reason, having a book to look at for a few minutes alone helps her nap.

Night time sleeping is good. Usually 11 to 12 hours, sometimes more, rarely less. I mentioned that we were letting her come and get into bed with us if she woke up at night, and she still is, but in the past couple of weeks she has stayed in her room all night three or four times.  That reinforces to me that we did the right thing by letting her come into our bed. We were filling a need, which is slowly going away. I think it is just taking her a while to get used to the new house, and the more confident she is in Midland, the better she will do at staying in her bed!

We have also started giving her a “relaxing vitamin” (melatonin and chamomile) to help her fall asleep at night. Dr. Ozzzz brand are our favorites so far, I even take one sometimes.  I wish that I had had these when we were fighting jetlag all those times!

As you can tell, I am slightly nutty about her sleep!  When her sleep needs are met, she is happier, better able to focus and also more obedient.


Its worth mentioning that I have failed in my summer goal of getting her to not watch TV.  She watches it everyday before quiet time, and on non-preschool days she usually watches it while I make dinner.

I recently read a book called “Nutureshock”, which I highly recommend and that I very much want to review… at some point. It has changed my viewpoint on what I let Isla watch (as well as many other things).  Right now we love PBS shows, and I never thought that I would say this, but I am thinking about donating to PBS since I love their TV. Our favorites are Curious George, Dinosaur Train, and The Cat in the Hat.  Clifford is down on the list, it makes me sad because it was all she used to watch in Russia… Sad smile.

I do not let her watch Arthur – the one episode I watched was about a girl who spent the entire episode being emotionally manipulative and generally unkind to her friends. It doesn’t matter what the moral is, at Isla’s age if you spend 12 minutes building the problem and 1 minute solving the problem – her main takeaway is going to be the 12 minutes. So far, I do not let her watch Disney or Nickelodeon shows – they might be fine, but I just have not properly vetted them yet.

I also do not let her watch the Princess movies besides Tangled. I have very mixed feelings about the Princess movement. That would be a post in and of itself, but I do love Tangled – strong heroine, a love story about two people falling in love with each other over shared experiences (not seeing each other once and becoming infatuated over looks) and NO MENTION of the princess’ worth being so high based solely on her looks or even mention of her looks at all.  We love Megamind, the Toy Story movies, The Land Before Time and others like it.


Isla has always been a daddy’s girl, but now I am beginning to think she is just as much of a mommy’s girl. She loves her mommy!  There are many times where she just wants me for comfort even when Nick is around. I love it.


I love the way that she has taken to sisterhood!  What an answer to a prayer.  She is so sweet to Gemma and just loves her.  I will continue to pray that they have a loving relationship.  She has even started playing with Gemma – shaking toys in front of her face and things like that. She loves dressing just like Gemma Smile. I love dressing them alike too.


I love this picture of Isla and Gemma relaxing in our wagon after a family walk.


Sweet sisters!


***Side note*** After my previous little rant on the last post I went and investigated Facebook.  It turns out there are a lot of things in people’s newsfeeds that don’t make it to mine.  Things that I would very much like to be seeing – friends with THREE MONTH OLD BABIES!  Friends who are about to give birth! WHAT?!?!?! I would very much like to see more on my newsfeeds. I have adjusted my settings and I am still not getting to see other people’s things.  Of course I use the term friends loosely – but they are people that I care enough about to keep up with and send a note about once a year. Oh well. ***The End***

Isla at her well check visit. I love what a mess her hair is!


It is so hard to get a good picture of her since she is always moving!

So that wraps up my post on Isla. I have probably forgotten a hundred adorable things she does! I am amazed at the length of this post. Its crazy how much knowledge about a person you accumulate.  I love falling in love with Isla, she is a such a treasure to us, and Nick and I so thankful that we get to be the parents of this happy, kind, funny, smart little girl!

***UPDATE*** I forgot to mention that at the end of August, Isla was bouncing around at the lunch table and NOT sitting on her booty.  She fell off and hit her head on our bench.  She cried a lot and we were all scared over the amount of blood. Thankfully Nick was home for all of it, so we all raced to Urgent Care. We knew it wasn’t bad enough to need stitches but we wanted a Doctor to take a look at it.  The Doctor recommended glue for it. Honestly, she is like a ping pong ball! I am amazed that this is the only run in with the Doctors that we have had!



  1. She is so precious! Love your post and reading about your heart and where God is directing your parenting. I am right there with you on the princess movement! Other good princess movie we like is Mulan. Thankfully Peyton gravitates away from princesses anyways. What wonderful girls you have and I love reading about your life!

  2. I loved reading this! It's so great to hear about all that she is doing. As a hyper kid myself, I appreciate your approach to her energy and focus. I think you're doing the right things--mainly following your gut and staying grounded.

  3. Thanks to you both!
    Che - Isla is not really into it either, and I am so thankful for that. I think we both have little Tomboys on our hands :).
    Meg - She is making great strides. I would love any advice on what worked at making you focus and do well as a child! I know you turned out well, so that gives me so hope!


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