Thursday, May 30, 2013

Can I Sneak In A 7 Month Post?

Ezie will be 8 months old tomorrow, but I technically never did a 7 month update. So let's just pretend that I posted this about a month ago.

Besides having his first meal at 7 months old



he also began rolling over


and sitting up.


He is a spoiled and gets carried around a lot! This my view when I wear him in the grocery store.


He's just go with the flow. Here he is "watching" Super Man with the guys. 


Heesh  sooch a adobalbable bebe. Oh I'm sorry, did that not make sense? That's how my brain works sometime around this cutie pie. He is so precious I find my thoughts just turning into mush. I know it's sappy, but it's true. I love this baby. He is such a joy to hold, squish, and kiss. 


People that ask me about his temperament probably regret it, because I get out my bragaphone and start chanting about my angel. He is that sweet and wonderful. I mean it. I have two other kids so I know my day is coming when he too may be categorized as strong willed, but for now God knows I needed an easy compliant baby. That doesn't mean he never cries or has rough nights, but seriously, he is about as easy going as a healthy baby can possibly be. 
That's my Ezie at 7 months old. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Reason To Celebrate

As of today we have all of the money for SJ's summer school tuition. This school year wraps up on Friday with an ice cream party and she starts "preschool" on Tuesday. So far all of her time at Ohio Valley Voices has been spent in the toddler program. This should make for a smooth transition because she will begin with half days in 3-5 year old preschool program and in the fall she'll start full days.



SJ is now 6 months old as far as hearing and she continues to make great strides every day. There are times I am still in disbelief that she can hear. If we are looking at a book I can say "choo choo" and she will point to the train and do her own version of a train sound. One day she was pointing up at the drinks and I said "juice?" Her eyes got really big and she pointed to her feet. I laughed and said "not shoes. Juice." I was ecstatic. Just the fact that she can mishear me is a miracle. We weren't doing anything with shoes, but she was listening  and thought she heard a word that she knew. YAY!

This month she has started saying down, shoes, I want, outside, and where all on her own. They still sound pretty rough, but she has vocabulary and that's huge. We'll work on articulation later. I get notes from her teachers all the time and they are so encouraging. Here is just one example from May 14

"I think today was the best day I've ever had with SJ! She was so engaged, happy, and willing to attempt new words. She gave me a great approximation for "I want pink" and "help me." I am so excited for her and the entire family"


I do not take for granted how blessed we are to have such a great school, and loved ones that care so much that they are committed to pray for SJ and sponsor her this summer. If you donated I will be sending out formal thank you notes and updates. Even though I know we have so much work ahead of us I really believe that this is going to be the fun part.



All of the photos were taken at SJ's school and were on her donation page. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Lesson In Patriotism

When Z was getting ready for his trip to NYC I looked at it as a learning opportunity. We went to the library and checked out everything we could find pertaining to New York City. One of the books we looked through reminded me of my old encyclopedia days. There I was sitting with my little 5 year old, eyes full of wonder imaging all the adventures to be had in his dream city. Then I read this sentence accompanied by photographs.


"Three of Manhattans most famous skyscrapers are the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center." 

I sat there speechless. He looked at me anticipating my next words and I looked down at him in his innocence, in his ignorance. I felt my heart sink and my stomach turn. I told him that the Twin Towers weren't there any more. He looked confused and asked why. I explained how some bad people attacked America and the destroyed the towers. His eyes were sincerely concerned and I talked him through some of the pain felt over the tragedy that happened 6 years before he was even born.

9/11 impacted all of us, but I felt a new layer of sorrow the day I had to explain the evil of those events to my child. But just like Mr. Roger's says



I was able to use it as an opportunity to teach him about the army. Three of my nephews serve in the military so we even had faces and names for these heroes. When I asked him  if he understood what the army was he said "something that protects us". I said that's right along with the police, firemen, teachers, parents, and more than all of that- God. 

Z went on to have a great time in New York City where the bigger and better world trade center is almost complete. 







Thank you to the men and women who have given their lives to protect our country. Thank you to all the veterans out there that have served, and for heroes that are serving now.
 Happy Memorial Day. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Have Meniere's Disease?

I have so much that I have wanted to blog about, but life has so rudely interrupted my attempts. Vertigo has no manners I tell you. 

The first time I ever experienced vertigo was about 10 years ago. I was hanging out at my friend's pool and suddenly I couldn’t even walk straight. I was so dizzy I had to be carried to the car and it was there that the nausea turned into vomiting. No fun at all. I could tell that the source of the imbalance was coming from my ear which had been ringing and what I could only describe as a stuffy, cloudy feeling. It eventually got bad enough that I drug my uninsured self to an ear doctor. I pretty much wasted $400 for them to do some tests and have a Doctor say "Yep, you don't hear as well on the left side. As far as the ringing goes some people like to use music as a way to distract from the irritation that intensifies in silence."

 My ear issues have come and gone since then. I mostly just deal with it, but over the past couple years it seems to have gotten worse. I have been embarrassed to talk about it because I don't like to seem like a hypochondriac. I feel like it could look like a desperate attempt to compete with my daughter's deafness. The truth is though, I know I don't hear well at all from the left side. I realized just how bad when I had ear buds in and I swore the left side wasn't working... until I put it in my right ear. After doing some online research I diagnosed myself with Tinnitus (this was about two months ago). Tinnitus basically just means ringing in the ears.

On Friday I had another rare episode of vertigo where it felt like my eyes were scanning the room diagonally and rapidly, but it was all involuntary. Up down. Up down. Up down. The room was spinning except I couldn't see behind me so to me spinning isn't even the right word. I started freaking out a little bit and told Z to get my phone. I hunched forward and when it ceased I said "that was trippy" which is a word I never use. Then I was able to get to a plastic bag just in time to loose my lunch (via the upchuck). This happened again on Monday (in a Kroger parking lot) and Tuesday. Each episode was usually followed by covering my face with a  wet rag and always falling asleep.
After a little more online research about tinnitus and vertigo I found one article after another that had my symptoms written out with complete accuracy. 
  • Dizziness or vertigo, often with nausea and vomiting
  • Ringing or roaring in the ear (tinnitus)
  • Fluctuating hearing loss
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear
and there was a name for it 

Ménière's disease


The Mayo Clinic says a diagnosis of Meniere's disease requires:

  • Two spontaneous episodes of vertigo, each lasting 20 minutes or longer
  • Hearing loss verified by a hearing test on at least one occasion
  • Tinnitus or aural fullness
  • Exclusion of other known causes of these sensory problems
That's it. That's me exactly. On top of that it can first appear in your early twenties (like for me), the vertigo is followed by episodes of fatigue (check), and most enlightening to me was how the hearing loss fluctuates in the early stages, but eventually becomes permanent (so I am not crazy). Some of the things I read were kind of scary like no cure and no known cause. But in some cases it is just considered "mildly irritating", which is how I feel most of the time (ha ha). I just laid out all of the worst aspects of it over the course 10 years. This probably makes it sound terrifying, but most of the time it's just a mildly irritating frustration that I have learned to deal with. 

So that is why my blog has been a little quiet lately. Well, that is one of probably 50 reasons why. There is a lot happening right now. But as far as my newly diagnosed disease, I am first of all just glad to have a name for it and an idea of what is going on. And even though medicine may not be able to cure it I know the great physician, the ultimate healer, my savior Jesus Christ and I have peace in that.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer School Fundraiser




It's no secret that we've been through a lot the past year (and then some). All the while the Lord has been faithful and we've been carried through it all thanks to our faith, family, friendships, and community. When I signed SJ up for summer school, (which would be imperative for her at this stage) I inquired about grants and scholarship. I even asked if we would just continue our monthly payments. Then on Friday I found out that there is no outside funding available for Kentucky residents and the flat rate of $775 is all due at once.

I am not freaking out nor am I in a state of emergency. I just thought it would be helpful per the request of loved ones, if we started up a sponsorship page for SJ (Sedona or Sedona Jean is her name outside of blogland in case that is confusing). We've been extremely blessed to have all of her medical care covered at this time and we haven't always been able to say that, so I am grateful for God's provision. I know that HE will meet all of our needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Phillipians 4:19). 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ezie's First Meal

I've done a lot of research on when to initiate solid food with my baby. He is obviously growing and  receiving plenty of nourishment from exclusively breastfeeding the past 7 months, but what it boiled down to was Exhibit A:


I might be going out on a limb here, but to me this boy looks like he might be ready for some beginner soft solid food... or a t-bone, but first things first. 

SJ was started on avocado and that went well, so I decided to go for it again. Ezie had mashed up avocado with plenty of breast milk to make it more familiar to him. We used the rest of the avocado on our own grilled BLT dinner. 


I love that we can all eat the same thing. 


The bib he wore was the first thing I ever bought for him. I got it over a year ago before I even knew he was a boy.


And the dish the meal was prepared in was some of my sister in law's hand made pottery. So it was a special occasion all the way around. 


I am not entirely sure how much of the food he actually ate. I've fed him several times since then and the jury is still out, but he seems happy about the experience so I am too. 

 






Thursday, May 9, 2013

Laughter

Who doesn't love a good baby laugh? I know I do and my kids do too. They have a way with getting their little brother to squeal with delight. One day I decided to document this display of sibling affection and I captured this video of the kids entertaining each other. Z and SJ were running around on the porch making E laugh so hard he could just about burst out of his bumbo.



But before they made him laugh they made me laugh with this next episode. It was the same concept, act like crazy monkeys and get the baby to laugh, but I kept telling them they were being too rough (you can even hear me say it at the beginning of this clip). He takes a lot of abuse from his big sis who doesn't quite understand that he isn't one of her baby dolls. Eventually she literally pushed him too hard.



For the record she was fine and got right back up. And that's when we took things outside. "LOL"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring Time

May looks like it will be a season of closure in some ways. SJ will be graduating from the toddler program at her school, J will have his last day where he is currently holding a temp job, and Ezie will no longer be exclusively breastfed. However when I look back at the past month I see that along with some of the bittersweet springtime goodbyes this season also gives us plenty to look forward to.

Like sunshine!


Fun time


Kid time


"kid time"



Barefoot time


Skirt time 


and Family Time. 


What are you looking forward to in the second half of Spring?



Today I am linking up with Miscellany Mondays AND Hello Monday at Lisa Leonard Designs.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Speech Therapy Behind The Scenes



I don't mean to sound like a broken record or, to be more current, a song stuck on repeat, but learning to talk with a cochlear implant is a lot of hard work! SJ rivals A-List celebrities with the size of the entourage she has working with her. I even have to go special meetings, classes, and conferences to learn right along with her. 

She goes to school 5 days a week and has private therapy daily. She has made some significant strides since she was remapped a month ago. She turns to her name consistently. I used to call for her as a listening test just to see if "it worked", now I call for her in a normal and practical way expecting that she will respond to my voice. She has even heard me from another room. Some sounds that are frequently heard around our house are the baby crying, Z's video games, a timer beeping, and the cell phone ringing. I shared the video I have of her hearing the first two and since then she has also responded to the timer and the phone. This is a breakthrough that I had previously only dreamed about! 

There are so many steps to hearing that we take for granted because for most of us it is just like breathing or drinking. I bet you are a pro in the area of auditory processing. If you go outside and hear birds chirping up in the trees, you are able to accomplish sound detection, discrimination, and localization without even trying. This process is one that we are in the middle of working on with SJ along with starting some vocalization. So far SJ has said "Uh-Oh", "up", "more", and some animal noises. She has made several attempts at other words when prompted too (prompting is when you say the word for her so that she can repeat it). One thing I've learned about since she started school that is worth mentioning is called"approximation". It's when the word sounds approximately like whatever she is trying to say. When SJ tries to mimic a word, or produce a sound, or a melody, it is usually completely unrecognizable, but for where she is at (5 months old hearing age) she is doing great. We are not working on articulation. We are not working on sentences or manners yet. What we are working on right now is getting her to be able to recognize and produce basic sounds and every effort on her part is worthy of celebration. 

In this video you will see SJ putting together a Mr. Potato Head. Her therapist is prompting her to say the name of each part before giving it to her. She doesn't always cooperate (just to be perfectly honest), but this was a good day for this particular activity. 


video

Now that is what a I call a pretty little girl with a bright future! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How Young Is Too Young? The Career Minded Child and the Parents That Drive Them.

Whether it's Tiger Woods or Toddler's in Tiaras some children are trained at the youngest of ages to be the best of the best and do whatever it takes to achieve their dreams. But whose dreams are they really?

I saw an ESPN documentary on Netflix called The Maronovich Project where a father raised his child from birth to be a professional football player. He did stretches with him as a baby and he never allowed any processed food to touch his lips. He had rigorous training throughout his entire childhood and eventually did go on to be a quarter back in the NFL. Unfortunately he also became a drug addict which would end his football career shortly after it began.

On a more positive note I read an article recently where a family with 10 kids had 6 of their children in college by age 12 and the younger four that remain will probably follow suit. My first reaction was what is the hurry? It's not about how soon you start, but how you finish. So far it turns out they finish well. One is a space craft engineer, another an architect, and another is on her way to becoming  one of the youngest Doctors in history. The parents claim that they are just "average folks" and attribute their success to homeschooling. In a CNN interview 16 year old Serennah Harding speaks highly of her parents saying "They found our interests and they cultivated those and helped us pursue those and learn at our own pace" and she gives credit to God for what he's done in their family and how he has blessed them. It's easy to think these parents from Alabama were pushing the kids too hard and stealing their right to childhood, but after watching the interview I am convinced that they are a sweet loving family that just happen to have really smart kids.



I personally know of a couple different families who claim their kids knew what they wanted to be at a young age and they held them to it and I know them as successful adults now. For example one of my elementary school classmates did pageantry when we were younger and she eventually became Miss Missouri in the Miss USA pageant. Now she is a news anchor woman in Cleveland. She is expecting her first child, which they just found out is a girl. The city lit up one of it's historic buildings in honor of the announcement.

 

Her brothers have been equally as successful. Their parents truly are the sweetest most loving couple, but they are also "average folks". Their dad was and still is a coach at the school I went to as a child. At a resent graduation banquet he was quoted saying "Good stops at good, but great never quits." Call me miss lack of motivation, but that sounds exhausting to me. 

Speaking of quotes one of my favorite lines is from a Rhett and Link video about a college student telling his parents he is switching majors.

"I only did engineering because of that time when you said You're so good at Legos. maybe you'll be an engineer. Mom, engineering is harder than Legos."

This scenario is probably more common than the child prodigies we've seen on Oprah. More than likely the sweet little girl you bought so many kittens for, the one that wanted to be a veterinarian, will end up in real estate loathing the chore of selling homes with pets and you will be left raising all of her cats. Isn't that more typical? Seriously though, when is a reasonable age for a child to know their passion or their calling, and to strive for it? All I know is that right now Z wants to be Batman when he grows up  and when he turns 20 he wants to own a "batmovehicle" and I support him 100%.