Aug 15

12 Things To Know About Sierra (Because today is her 12th birthday!)

Today is sort of a big deal around here … it’s Sierra’s 12th birthday!

And since it’s such an important day for our family, I thought I’d share 12 things you should know about Sierra!

Ashley Durham

1.) She was the smallest baby born in our family. She came into this world at 6 pounds, 14 ounces and her labor was by far my easiest. The anesthesiologist put my epidural in just the right spot, and I honestly didn’t even know she was being born – true story! I felt absolutely NOTHING until she was about 8 hours old, but then I got slammed by a freight train and felt absolutely EVERYTHING. No amount of Motrin helped, haha!

baby born at Camp Lester in Okinawa

2.) She was born overseas, in Okinawa (a small island that’s part of Japan). She has a really cool Consular Born Abroad birth certificate!

eating japanese ice cream

3.) As a baby, she was in physical therapy because at 6 months old, she would not put weight on her legs. She was described as having “low muscle tone” and she had required physical therapy a couple times a week until she was nearly 3. She started riding horses as part of her physical therapy, and she’s loved horses ever since.

physical therapy on a horse for children

4.) She’s incredibly athletic and flexible. You’d never know that, based on the fact she spent the first 3 years of her life in physical therapy – but she’s an incredible athlete. She loves flipping and gymnastics, she’s a cheerleader and next week, she’ll officially be a soccer player!

5.) She loves music. She loves listening to music, playing music, singing music, creating music – she absolutely loves it. She used to even sing that to horrid song from Frozen (Let It Goooo) in multiple languages on YouTube, simply because she loved how it sounded.

silly girl in the fall leaves

6.) She was diagnosed with EVA (Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct) Syndrome, at the end of third grade. The only reason we found out was because she failed her hearing test at school, which prompted further testing, an MRI and a somewhat devastating diagnosis. We were absolutely blindsided by the news that Sierra is profoundly deaf on her left side, because we honestly had no idea. She now wears a hearing aid for her left side, and next month she’ll be getting a second hearing aid for her right side – and she absolutely ROCKS it!

getting fitted for a hearing aid

7.) She was misdiagnosed with ADD in second grade, and was put on medication for it. We thought she was like her older brother Danny, who suffers from moderate to severe ADHD and has since he was 3 years old; and when we explained that she sometimes acts like she doesn’t listen, she only does half of what she’s told, etc. … the pediatrician agreed, it was likely ADD. Little did we know that she was actually losing her hearing, and does not have ADD at all. Anytime I ever hear a parent ask if they should get their child tested for ADD, I always recommend that they get a hearing and vision screening done first to rule out hearing loss.

sierra being the coolest kid ever

8.) She is super smart (especially with math), and recently got enrolled into the honors and gifted classes in middle school. I’m so proud of her for it! She’s been an incredible student since we found out her school issues were related to her hearing.

sierra feeding the bunny

9.) She is as much of an animal lover as I am – but for weirder stuff. Let me explain! Of course, she loves dogs and llamas and all things cute … but she also loves frogs, snakes, bugs and absolutely isn’t afraid to touch anything. The only things she’s afraid to be around is butterflies; yeah, I’m totally being serious! When she was a baby, we went to the butterfly park in Okinawa and she was running away from them and fell and totally scraped her face up, and I’m pretty sure that trauma has grown into a total panic attack near butterflies. Not scared of sharks or crabs or snakes, but butterflies get her riled up. All part of her charm!

the kids at the butterfly park in okinawa

10.) She wants to be a surgeon when she grows up. Well, at least that’s what she tells us for right now – maybe it’s because she’s been watching a ton of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, I’m not sure. But when we recently went down to Nemours Children’s Hospital, she asked every single person if they were an intern, a resident, an attending, a surgeon or if they were the chief of medicine. It was pretty funny!

Sierra at the beach

11.) She has a heart of gold. She’s the first person to make someone a card for their birthday, she loves to give hugs to everyone she comes across (zero personal space, sorry people!) will literally tell her life story to anyone who says, “hi!” to her. She decorates for everyone’s birthday with her own homemade designs, and if she has your number, she’ll text you a bajillion emojis just to make you feel good. She loves to sew and be crafty, and makes some of the coolest projects I’ve ever seen (her grandma taught her everything she knows!).

sierra sewing a bunny

12.) Every single day she makes me so grateful to be her momma. I tell her all the time that she’s my favorite younger daughter (and I always tell Katelyn that she’s my favorite older daughter) – which she always rolls her eyes at and responds with, “you mean just your absolute favorite, right?”

Yes, baby girl, you’re my absolutely favorite (younger) daughter!

Happy 12th birthday, sweetheart. You’re an incredible person, and I’m so proud of you!

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