Browsing Category: motherhood

Dealing with a Speech Delay

Even if your child is advanced in everything else, they could still have a delay

It’s really hard when you have a brilliant son in every way possible, but everyone else his age speaks circles around him. Rhys has a speech delay. It’s frustrating for Justin and I and it’s also frustrating for Rhys.

Even if your child is advanced in everything else, they could still have a delay

The absolute worst is at night, he constantly asks for “A da da.” For months, we have wracked our brains with what that could possibly mean, even recruiting my mother for her ideas. “Door open,” “I don’t want to,” “Daddy,” “door open,” “attention,” we have no idea. We’ve asked him to show us, and he just stands still and says it more.

Rhys has plenty of words; his vocabulary expands every day. But, he really suffers with pronunciation. The most prevalent example is when he asks us to go to his room: “ee oom” (Rhys room). Sometimes, he doesn’t even get the “m” on room.

He is two and half and has started to get frustrated when we can’t understand him. Especially because he will be starting preschool in the fall and now has a baby sister who can only coo and cry, we definitely wanted to work on his speech. So, we called Early Childhood Intervention to see if we could qualify for speech therapy through the state.

A speech therapist came to evaluate Rhys, not only in speech, but also in other aspects of his growth and development to see if it was a compounded problem. This happened in early December, when he was barely 29 months old. Most thing: gross and fine motor skills, social development, comprehension and communication, and other knowledge based things, Rhys was scoring between 30 and 36 months–he was advanced.

I knew that already. I mean, if you look back at all his monthly updates, he was always ahead of the curve when it came to milestones. But, we wanted to figure out the issue with the speech delay. Tongue tied and lip tied was ruled out (that was taken care of the day he was born), he didn’t have a chewing/swallowing issue (which sometimes affects speech), his hearing and his vision was fine.

I described to the therapists that I called him “speech dyslexic.” He was mixing up some sounds. For example, instead of saying “bye bye”, he’d say “dye dye.” He uses a lot of “g”s for other sounds too. He can get his guttural sounds very easy but his nasal and his aspirate sounds are lacking, the therapists explained. That made complete sense to me because of how the Welsh language is set up with mutations of certain sounds (I’m not going to explain it since it’s a large grammar lesson, but you can read about it here).

Sadly, he scored barely above the bar for qualifying for speech. The therapists looked back over their test results and tried to see what they could skew in Rhys’s favor to qualify him. They said they really felt that he would truly benefit from speech therapy. But, ethically, they didn’t feel that they could risk their licenses to skew it in his favor. So, they gave me their information, a packet on how to help Rhys with phonics, and told us to look at private therapists through our insurance. They left repeating that Rhys’s case is the one they will feel most bad about the entire year.

So, for now, we are trying to really help Rhys with pronunciation. Really, that is where he is failing. Daily, he gains new words (he just can’t properly say them). He knows songs and tunes and will “sing” along with them. He “reads along” when we read books. We make him use his words. We try not to use “yes or no” questions. When he watches TV, I ask him questions as to what is going on, who is who, what color they are wearing, etc. He plays along with Nick Jr shows, answering how many balls there are, or which road is longer, or that’s the triangle, etc. He truly is brilliant. Rhys knows all the numbers 0-10 and can count forward and backwards (just not pronouncing them correctly). He knows all the basic shapes and every color. He can identify the different letters of the alphabet (and can correctly pronounce most of them).

And, he is willing to try to practice his speech. We’ll work on specific sounds in each syllable, then try to get them to connect….but it doesn’t always work…..

Me: Baby

Rhys: geegee

Me: ba ba ba ba

Rhys: babababa

Me: be be be be

Rhys: dee dee dee

Me: ba bee

Rhys: ba dee

Me: ba bee

Rhys: ba gee

Me: baby

Rhys: geegee

For some reason, he can do the separate, individual sounds, but he can’t put them together. But, I have confidence that he will continue to learn and grow. I am a little worried about him being able to properly speak when he starts preschool in the fall–he’ll be little over 3. But, if his speech is still suffering, we’ll test him again at age 3 and see if we can get support through the school system.

As for now, I’m trying my hardest not to compare him to other kids his age. But, the hardest is I have two good friends who had daughters within a week of Rhys. Both girls can pronounce words correctly and speak full, long sentences. It does kill me a little inside to see that….and then when I watch Instastories or SnapChat and see my kids’ friends who are younger than Rhys speak better than him, it hits hard at home again.

But, I know it’s not my fault and it’s not Rhys’s fault. Rhys is just as smart (if not possibly smarter…I’m not bragging or biased at all!) than they are. He just has a weakness in speech. And, I am so glad that my friend, Susannah’s little boy, who is a few months younger than Rhys is having the exact same issue. It does make me feel better.

So, we’ll see what happens in the next few months.

Did your child have a speech delay? Did they qualify for speech therapy? What did you do to help your child to speak correctly?

Tayler from The Morrell

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Breastmilk Isn’t Always Best

Breast milk may be best, but it may not be the best for you or your baby.

You know the old saying, “Breastmilk is best?” I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that nutritionally it really is the best–the immunities that breast milk provides is far superior to formula. Plus, it’s completely free. However, sometimes it’s not necessarily best for the baby or the mother or the family.

Yes, breast milk is the best nutrition for a baby. But, it may not be the best circumstantially.

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I was able to nurse Rhys for four months. Many say that is a huge success. Sometimes, to me, it still feels like a failure. I try not to let the mom guilt get to me. Yes, I wasn’t producing enough due to stress and other factors. Yes, Rhys wasn’t growing as much as he could. Yes, it was causing such horrendous anxiety between both Rhys and I. And yes, he immediately had a big growth spurt as soon as I switched him over to formula. But, the fact still remained that I wasn’t able to provide him with enough breast milk. The fact that my body failed to work properly the way I wanted it bugged me.

Plus, it was very painful. Even before I gave birth to Rhys, my OB had prescribed a specific behind-the-counter cream for me to use to help soothe the pain. The lactation specialists at the hospital all felt terrible seeing the bruising I had because of Rhys’s poor latching. All four months, I had to use a shield to help ease the pain, but it never went away fully.

This time round, I was excited to nurse again. I was sure it would be much better–I wasn’t teaching, I was on anxiety medication, I knew what I was doing. My goal was 4 months.

I lasted four days.

Evelyn was not tongue tied. The lactation specialists all commented how well she latched. Yet, I still bruised, I still broke, I still bled. The pain of the initial latch was excruciating. My whole body would tense up and tighten. I would need something in my mouth to chew on to distract me from the pain. It didn’t help that Evelyn had a very powerful suck and was nursing every 1.5-2.5 hours, never giving me any time to heal. I started to dread feedings, especially at night. I’d start crying and panting during the initial latch.

I wanted to wait it out. Everyone says to try 2 weeks and typically it gets better.


I knew from experience that wasn’t 100% the case. But, I tried. My goal then wasn’t four months; it was two weeks. Surely, I could last that long.


Dealing with a 2.5 year old trying to get used to a new family member, the pain, the demands of a newborn, and my postpartum hormones was just too much for me. I wanted to give up. I wanted to be done with the pain. I wanted to not dread feeding.

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But, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted that intimacy that comes from nursing. I wanted that joy of knowing I could do what other mothers could do. I wanted to have the privilege of being able to boast that I nursed my baby until her 1st birthday. And, I didn’t want to pay for all that formula–it’s expensive!

And, then came the mom guilt. Not only was I dealing with postpartum hormones, but I was also experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety (which I knew I was prone to). I wasn’t enjoying motherhood.

After having some heart-to-hearts with my mom (who had nursed us all for different lengths of time and fed us all formula and is super sensitive like me), discussing it with Justin, and getting advice from my pediatrician, I finally decided to stop nursing Evelyn.

I felt peace about that decision. It would alleviate a ton of pain and stress for me, which would help the overall atmosphere of my home and family. And, it would allow others to bond with Evelyn by feeding her.

Almost immediately, both my mom and Justin commented on how my entire countenance changed. I was more relieved, more calm, more relaxed. True, I had to endure the engorgement pain as I let my milk dry up. But, I was happier.

Formula helped Rhys catch up on the growth chart after four months of nursing. Formula is bringing peace to our home with Evelyn and relieving me of daily pain.

There are times I miss nursing, especially because formula is a bit rough on Evelyn’s digestive system, but I know this is the right decision for our family.

As my OB and mom have both told me: “Breast can be best. But happy baby and mother is best.”

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Tayler from The Morrell

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Best Toys for Toddlers | Guest Post

Hello, hello! I’m so grateful to be here, posting for Tayler today, while she’s snuggling baby Evie. Tayler is such a wonderful person, and I’m so excited for her to experience life with two kids. A little introduction, I’m Britt! I blog over at My Little Sunshines, which is a lifestyle blog where I write about all the things that bring sunshine into my life! Motherhood, my kids, my marriage, my favorite beauty products, books, and more! I’ve been married almost 7 years to Kyle, and we have two little ones, Abe (2.5) and Eliza (14 months). We live in Idaho, where I’m blessed to stay at home while my husband (a professional counselor) runs a parenting program for the state. Life is good, even if it is cold these days! 😉

Best Toys For Toddlers

Play Kitchen | Shopping Cart | Train Set | Car Mat | Baby Doll | Books

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about when I first signed up to post for Tayler during her maternity leave. I just knew I wanted to help her out. But now that Christmas has come and gone, I still have toys on the brain, so I thought I’d share with you the best toys for toddlers, as tested and approved at my house 🙂 My husband and I are definitely minimalists and far as toys go. We don’t like to bring many into our home, but do like to buy quality toys that will last a long time and stimulate my kids’ imagination. (This is not to say we’re “perfect” parents at all! My kids watch just as much (or more!) TV as yours do! Ha.)

Play Kitchen and Accessories.

We just got Abe and Eliza a play kitchen for Christmas, along with some food, pots and pans, and tableware/cutlery. It has a been a huge hit for both of them, but especially Abe (my two year old). He has always loved to pretend to cook, and loves to help in the kitchen, so we knew he’d love it. Play kitchens can be kind of expensive, so my advice is to either watch for sales, or better yet, grab one at garage sale! Ours we were actually given by my sister-in-law since her kids have outgrown it. Win-win for everyone involved!

Play Shopping Cart and/or Stroller.

Abe got a shopping cart Christmas 2015 and it’s still played with daily. He just loads it full of stuff and pushes it around! And now Eliza is starting to push it around too. She also just got a stroller for Christmas and they both love pushing that around, too. Basically, a push toy an awesome gift, no matter what type it is.

Train Set.

Abe just got the basic train set from Melissa and Doug from his grandparents for Christmas, and that thing has already provided hours of entertainment. I love that it’s a quality toy, and Abe? Well, Abe just loves that it’s a train.

Car Mat and Cars/Trucks.

We were recently gifted the Ikea Car Mat, and with the cars and trucks Abe got for Christmas, it’s been well loved already. It came at just the right time, when our TV died, and this made the transition to no TV time a little easier. 😉

Baby Dolls.

Both Abe and Eliza love playing with our baby doll. They can push her in the cart or stroller, they can dress her, they can give her a binky, they can pretend she’s sleeping or eating. They can snuggle her and love her, and it’s just the cutest thing.


I am a huge lover of reading, and a huge proponent of reading with your kids, too! We have books upon books at our house, and we especially enjoy interactive type books, or ones that have fun rhymes. There are so many great kids books out there, so you’re sure to find at least one your child will like!

So there you have it! Some of the best toys for toddlers. It is so fun to watch toddlers learn and grow, and stretch their imagination, and I could really watch Abe and Eliza play and discover all day long. Thanks for reading along today, friends! Have fun playing! 🙂


Britt is a stay-at-home momma by day, and a blogger by naptime. She’s been married to Kyle since 2010 and has two children – Abe (3 in March) and Eliza (14 months). As an introverted extrovert, she loves to read, write, and spend time with her family and friends. She has a degree in Human Development, her favorite colors are green, blue and gray, and she loves carbs. She’s a loyal friend, a follower of Christ, and a lover of learning.
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Evelyn’s Newborn Photos

DIY Easy peasy newborn photoshoot. No photography experience or professionalism necessary!

This is why we didn’t want a Christmas baby–money, money, money, money. Ha. So, I decided to stretch my photography skills a bit and DIY Evelyn’s newborn photos.

When Rhys was born, we had a unique opportunity to work with a local photographer who was just beginning her business. So, we got 10 photos for free in exchange for a review and social media shoutouts. I was so grateful, since I didn’t have a DSLR nor photography skills. However, looking back, I’m not the happiest with the quality nor style of the pictures. Since then, I’ve gotten a DSLR and grained some skill. So, I decided to scour Pinterest for advice and tips and attempt them myself.

They aren’t perfect, and Evelyn wasn’t very cooperative–she didn’t sleep very soundly nor stayed in the positions I arranged her in. But, I’m proud of myself and my efforts. I did them on my bed, next to our large open window, with a white bed sheet and pillows in the back to hold the sheet up.

Tayler from The Morrell

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Evelyn’s Birth Story

"You two definitely seem like 2nd time parents." "You are very calm right now." "She is very strong and brave, Justin." "Your body was made for birthing babies." "That was a fast delivery." ............................. These are all things I heard from nurses and doctors during Evelyn's birth. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go into labor on my own, as well as having such a smooth, quick, relatively painless labor (yeah for epidurals!). Read about it here!

Mother’s intuition is a strange thing. Although Evelyn’s due date was January 2nd, and we had a scheduled induction on the 29th of December, I had a feeling she would come the week before Christmas. And I was correct.

All that week, I had a ton of Braxton Hicks and cramps. But, showers and changing positions always stopped them. On Wednesdy, December 21st, I had my last OB/GYN appointment and was told I was dilated 3 centimeters and 30% effaced. My OB joked about not going into labor over Christmas weekend as she wouldn’t be there. I said, “Don’t worry. I don’t want a Christmas baby at all.”

Thursday was Justin’s first day off work for Christmas break. So, I took the laptop and went to a Starbucks to try to finish all blogging and virtual assisting/free lancing for the month. Then, I went to Target to get stocking stuffers and ingredients for Christmas dinner. At home, I cleaned the house. I was feeling very good that day. However, as we were putting Rhys to bed at 8 pm, I started to get a little uncomfortable with cramps. But, they started to become somewhat consistent. So, I warned Justin and started timing. I hopped in the shower and packed last minute items in our hospital bags. I had a few snacks, and tried changing my positions a few times. Around 10:30. I finally called my doctor and she said to go ahead to the hospital.

We woke Rhys up, packed up the pack-n-play, and walked over to our neighbor’s house to drop him off. On the way to the hospital, we called mom–she was planning on flying in for the induction on the 29th, but she switched her flight for early the next day.

We got to the hospital around 11:30pm and they put us in an observation room. Justin had Pokemon Go up to pass the time, and an Eevee appeared on my stomach! It was such a sweet coincidence! After they determined that I was in fact no dilated to 5 cm and 50% effaced and having consistent contractions, they sent us to a delivery room.

After an hour or so, I had some very painful contractions almost a minute apart…more painful than I had with Rhys, so we asked for the epidural. I was checked first and at 7 cm and 80% with very fast contractions. They rushed out to get the epidural and there was a part of me that was afraid that I wouldn’t get it in time. There were a lot of scheduled inductions that night because no one really wants a baby born on Christmas Eve or Day and they had priority over a natural labor. I turned to Justin in the middle of the worst contraction I ever had in tears and fear telling him I couldn’t do a natural labor–I was too scared. Thankfully, the epidural came right away.

With Rhys’s birth, the epidural was actually the most painful part, so I gathered up all my courage. But, I guess this anesthesiologist was just better because it didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the first time. I couldn’t feel my contractions, nor my legs, but I could still lift them…I didn’t have nearly as much epidural as Rhys’s birth.

Around 4:45 AM or so, I had some huge pressure and felt the need to push. The nurse came in, saw that I was 9 cm and that my water still hadn’t broke, but Evelyn was definitely dropping. So, she grabbed the doctor. They broke my water, and immediately, I started pushing. After three sets of contractions, Evelyn was born. It was a faster, easier labor than Rhys’s all the way around.

Evelyn had pooped before being born, so before they could let us do skin-to-skin, they had to make sure she didn’t have any poop in her lungs. Then, they did the routine tests. Listening to her cry and seeing her wiggle around made my heart explode. I finally had a daughter. She was here, in my arms, not just a thought or a bump in my belly. She was really her and she was really mine.

Skin to skin with Evelyn was perfection. After a few minutes, she started really rooting, so I nursed her. She had a much better, natural latch than Rhys did, but it still hurt like crazy (as it would the entire week).

I recovered from the epidural a whole lot quicker than I did with Rhys, and I didn’t feel nearly as tired or in pain as I did with Rhys. For that, and for the whole quick and easy labor, I am extremely grateful.

My mom landed in Texas around 10AM, grabbed Rhys from his sitter (he had slept wonderfully and behaved well for them), and came over. Rhys was more interested in the hospital room equipment than he was Evelyn. Mom gushed with her.

Evelyn did have a little trouble adjusting to life–she lost 7% of her birth weight while in the hospital (the danger zone is 10%) and failed a regulating body temperature/heart test once, but passed both the second time. Thankfully, we were able to go home Christmas Eve and spend Christmas as a family of four (plus my mom).

I feel so full of happiness, gratitude, and peace. I have a wonderful husband, a brilliant son, and an adorable daughter. I feel complete.

Tayler from The Morrell

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.