Tag Archives: milestones

We Are So Thankful

The season of thanks is upon us once again and we have so much to be thankful for this year. Along the journey, we have learned to be thankful for everyday and grateful for all of the little moments throughout the year. As we reflect upon the last year, one thing stands out most; progress. We are so thankful for progress. Braxton has accomplished so much in a year and what once was very slow progress, is now exploding in so many ways.

This time last year, Braxton took his first unassisted steps and at most walked about 10 steps on his own. He was eating 2-4 ounces per day. He had no words and minimal sounds. Though progress was slow, there was, in fact, progress. Braxton can now walk unassisted, albeit a bit wobbly, an entire city block.

He’s on his feet more than he crawls around. He eats nearly 16 ounces every meal and you’d never guess there was ever a time he couldn’t or didn’t want to eat. He still has no words, but he is so much more vocal these days. Thanks to technology, he now has a voice through the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app, Speak For Yourself on the iPad. He’s learning everyday how to use the app to communicate with us.

Braxton pointing and telling me he wants to eat on SFY.

Braxton pointing and telling me he wants to eat on SFY.

His dexterity, focus, and fine motor skills are still slow to come, but he is so much farther along this year.

Braxton learning to string beads

Braxton learning to string beads

These are huge accomplishments for Braxton, but there are also so many little things we are thankful for this year.



We’re thankful for the coos and babbles that wake us before the sun, because it means we’ve been granted another day.

We’re thankful for the extra minutes of rest we can steal when Braxton will snuggle in bed with us.

We’re thankful for the sweet smile and not-so-gentle pat on the back that says, “Wake up, guys!”

We’re thankful for the sweet way Braxton pulls you close for a hug and rests his head on your shoulder.

We’re thankful for the way Braxton pulls our arm back around him when the hug wasn’t quite long enough.

We’re thankful for the look Braxton gives when he recognizes you and the way his eyes light up and his beautiful smile crosses his face.

We’re thankful for the way his whole body tenses up and he shakes with excitement, or kicks his little legs.

Big Smiles

We’re thankful for silent way Braxton says “I love you.”

We’re thankful for the incredible sibling bond he shares with his amazing big sister.

A sibling love that cannot be broken.

A sibling love that cannot be broken.

We’re thankful for the messes Braxton makes, because it means he’s mobile and independent.

We’re thankful for the countless hours of therapy that have helped Braxton along the way.

We’re thankful that we are down to seeing our specialists once a year.

We’re thankful for Braxton’s good health as of late.

We’re thankful for the sweet moments in parenting that melt away bad days and tell us we must be doing an alright job.


We’re thankful for therapists who have been in our home since Braxton was 8 weeks old. Their tireless work with Braxton goes far beyond therapy. They love and care for our sweet boy and share in our pride when Braxton reaches a goal. Braxton is not just a patient or a paycheck to them. We have been extremely blessed.

We’re thankful for wonderful teachers who have joined our team this year and have already fallen in love with Braxton. They have such a love for all of their students and we’ve seen such progress since Braxton started with them in August.

Braxton walking with his teachers

Braxton walking with his teachers

We’re thankful for the tantrums Braxton throws when he gets told “no” or has a toy taken away, because it shows he has the cognitive ability to understand and a way to communicate when something is unpleasant. It’s also a “normal” toddler reaction, so it’s a nice reminder that not everything in our life is atypical.

Braxton Upset


We’re thankful for the times Braxton gets himself in trouble by opening the oven door, swinging the lid on the trashcan, opening the cabinets and banging pots and pans, or unraveling an entire roll of toilet paper, because do you know what cognitive and motor skills it takes to do any of these things!? Although it can be frustrating and we get upset with Braxton, inside we are elated because this shows so much progress!

We are thankful for the sweet laughter that fills our home daily.


We’re thankful for family that loves and supports us in so many ways.

We’re thankful for friends who care and share in our joys.

We’re thankful for people who read our blog and share our Facebook posts and have fallen in love with a little boy they have never met.

We are thankful every day for so very much in our lives. We remain positive in our journey because positivity has so much more power and love than focusing on the negative. We have bad days, but they don’t last long because we allow positivity to permeate every aspect of our life.

We wish the same for you. Look for opportunities to be thankful. Live every day with gratitude and positivity. Let your thanks extend beyond today and this season. From our family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.


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Braxton Turned Three!

Braxton just had his third birthday! We are so thrilled with the progress Braxton has been making and cannot wait to see what the future brings.  We are getting ready to embark on the next journey with Braxton as he starts school in the fall, and took time to celebrate this milestone with family.

Some milestones for Braxton this year:

  • Braxton is officially cruising along walls, furniture, and anything that can hold him up!
  • He still likes to “walk” on his knees, but he’s doing more cruising than crawling which is exciting.
  • He took his first independent steps in therapy in November of 2013, and will take a few steps now, but mostly he walks with one hand being held.
  • If we try to hold both of Braxton’s hands, he decides his legs are spaghetti and refuses to walk! Little joker, that kid!
  • Braxton is FINALLY eating by mouth as of January 2014 and is officially over his severe oral aversion.  He eats up to 40 ounces of pureed foods a day.  We are still working on solid table food, but as of now he’s not a fan.
  • He is also working on straw drinking and has so far only taken a few sips, but he’s getting better!
  • He still has not learned any sign language or shown any interest, but we are continuing to learn and model for him just in case he decides to catch on and begin using signs.
  • We have been working with an iPad to communicate with Braxton and letting him make his own choices.  We use an app called Sounding Board and use 4 pictures of objects Braxton knows.  (Or 4 activities he can choose from). Braxton effectively scans the board and makes a selection indicating his preference.  He understands the purpose of the iPad and will reach out for it again when he’s made the wrong selection or is done with the current activity.
  • Braxton’s receptive language has grown by leaps and bounds! He understand so much more now.  Some words/phrases he knows are “It’s time to eat” – he whips his head around so fast and gets right over to his chair to eat.  “Let’s go bye-bye” – he will stop his activity and go to the door when it’s time to leave.  “come here” – About 70% of the time when we call his name or ask him to come to us, he will.
  • Peek-a-Boo is hands down his favorite game.  We ask “Where’s Braxton?” and he covers his eyes with his hands and waits a minute before uncovering them.  When he uncovers his eyes we say “Peek-a-boo” and he has THE biggest smile across his little face.
  • We are down to annual appointments with all of his specialists, which is great! At this point, Braxton is “medically stable” and we are just monitoring a few things to make sure there is no cause for concern later.
  • Braxton is still receiving Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy twice a week.  Our therapists will continue to work with him once he starts school as the school therapies are not enough to ensure his success.
  • It seems like there is something new every week here lately, so be sure to keep up with us on Facebook so you don’t miss out!


This year,Braxton’s birthday party was superhero themed! We asked all of our friends to come to his party wearing their favorite superhero costume or t-shirt. At the party, we had felt capes and foam masks so that everyone could decorate their own! I also made a large city scape background for photos and just as a decoration.  Braxton did get a little overwhelmed again this year, but he participated a little more in activities and enjoyed his special day.  Here are some fun photos from his birthday party!

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Braxton is BEY-AWESOME!

Braxton is awesome! He’s so awesome. He’s beyond awesome! He’s bey-awesome!

You might recognize that if you’ve seen “Bolt” 467423 times (but who’s counting) and remember Rhino saying that into the A/C vent. If not, let me refresh your memory 😉


Braxton has been doing some really incredible things lately. I can’t even believe his awesomeness right now!   As you know, Braxton has been making great progress walking as long as we hold one of his hands.  He is getting much faster and able to maintain his balance much better.  Well, on Wednesday, he was off of school so we had his Physical Therapy session here at home. Then, this happened….

Yes! Your eyes did not deceive you. Braxton took his FIRST independent steps in therapy.  He took up to 5 steps at a time at least twice and then 2-3 steps each time after.  It was pure coincidence at first.  I was walking Brax to his therapist when I slowly let go and he kept walking!! We were both surprised and decided to test him and sure enough, another 2 steps.  I made Aileen grab my phone and start recording.  Braxton took small steps multiple times in therapy. It was so awesome to see and I’m so glad I caught it on video.

Happy ThanksgivingFor Thanksgiving, we visited Joseph’s parents and Braxton showed off his walking skills and even took a couple independent steps for his grandparents.  He really enjoyed sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair slowly rocking himself in the cool breeze.  A year ago he was only starting to crawl, so it was like a totally different child was visiting this time.  Braxton enjoyed exploring his grandparent’s house and gave grandma and grandpa lots of love.

Friday, we drove back home because Braxton had a Physical Therapy session in the afternoon.  He wasted no time showing us he was still working on walking.  He took 6-7 independent steps TWICE!! The second time, he might have taken 2-3 more steps, but his therapist ran out of room to back up so Braxton just kneeled when he got to his therapist. Then, Braxton got a little diva-ish and decided he was ‘all done’ with therapy and refused to even stand. Little stinker!

His awesomeness did not end there.  Tonight, he managed to walk up stairs with me! My back has been killing me all day, and I could barely bend over to pick him up, so we walked over to the stairs.  As I started to try to pick him up, he picked up his little leg and placed it on the stair in front of him.  In disbelief, I waited to see what he would do next and sure enough, he beared his weight and pulled on my hand to lift himself up.  And without prompting, he repeated the action to go up the next step.  I know that he isn’t technically ready for stairs and his PT might even discourage it a little, but Braxton definitely understood what he was doing and he honestly only need help to stay upright, and I used my leg as his backboard so he could push up and off of me as needed, but he did all the work.  He even reached out to the handrail for balance and to pull himself up! I tried to get him to do it again so I could catch video, but he wasn’t feeling it.  Nevertheless, he is making INCREDIBLE progress!! I am sooo excited!

Braxton is truly beyond awesome! He’s bey-awesome!! Look out world, here comes Braxton!

Braxton Walking

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Thankful Thursday: Braxton is Walking!

Yes, you read that title correctly! Braxton is making amazing progress with walking.  I picked him up from daycare the other day and his teacher said, “Look what your son is doing!” She grabbed him by one hand and he started WALKING with her!!!! I quickly came to my senses and said “No, no, waaiiitt! I have to get this on video!” And here you go:

Yayyyyyy!!!! We’ve been walking him around at home a little more and his teacher told me today that they make him walk everywhere.  They are so patient with him and if he takes longer than the other kids, it’s totally okay! I am soooo sooo thankful for this incredible accomplishment.  I’ve cried lots of happy tears.  With every milestone, I think back to the hospital in the first few days of Braxton’s life and think how the doctor’s didn’t even give him but a few weeks to live and here he is rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, and finally walking.  First steps are always awesome, but when everyone counted your child out before he even had a chance, first steps are a miracle.  I take nothing for granted. Braxton has worked so hard and continues to do so each and every day.  His hard work is definitely paying off and I am so incredibly proud of Braxton.

So is his sister. Aileen drew a congratulatory card for Braxton after I showed her the video of him walking.

Such a proud sister <3

Such a proud sister ❤

And if that wasn’t enough, today, they channeled their superhero powers and practiced together. ❤

Some serious @tinysuperheroes work going on! Super Sidekick Aileen helping Super Braxton walk!

A post shared by Vanessa Vaughan (@vnessa_22) on

Beyond blessed and so incredibly thankful for my amazing kids.


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Braxton’s 2nd Birthday

Happy 2nd Birthday, Braxton!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Braxton!

Braxton will be 2 years old tomorrow! Today, we had a few friends and family over to celebrate with us. He wasn’t quite himself today though. 😦 I’m not sure if he is coming down with something, or if he was just overwhelmed with everyone. Nevertheless, we had a nice day. We set up an inflatable pool for Aileen and some of her friends. Braxton slept through the first part of his party or he would have been in the pool too! When he finally woke up we did cake and presents. He got lots of goodies!

I still can’t believe Braxton is 2 years old! The past 2 years have been incredible and crazy all at the same time. 2 years ago we were told our son wouldn’t live for 2 weeks and we had no idea what the future held for him and for us. Now, we have a diagnosis, a better idea of what his future might hold, and so much more hope. So many things we thought he would never do, we now see him trying to do and know, that in time, he WILL do them.

At 2 years old, Braxton is developmentally about 10-11 months. He definitely has crawling down! He is all over the place. He is pulling to stand pretty much every chance he gets and will even hold on with one hand, or bend and stoop from standing and get himself back up. If we hold his hands he will take a few steps before he drops down and crawls off instead. He is cruising furniture a little bit and able to transition from one object to another while standing without losing balance. Braxton is still babbling and making a lot of sounds. Just because the research says he won’t talk, doesn’t mean we will stop trying to get him to talk. We talk to Braxton ALL the time, sign to him the signs that we know, sing to him, give him toys that play music and he is responsive! Braxton is even doing really well with the iPad! He used to bang his head on it or try and eat it, and now he is finally using his hands instead of his head or mouth. This is great since we will be considering a communication device for him. It’s so nice to see everything clicking for him.

Happy 2nd birthday, little man! Keep on writing your amazing story, I know you will continue to surprise us all.

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