Thursday, September 26, 2013

You Would Love Me Online

I've seen a lot of very viral write ups lately about how we shouldn't try to be so perfect for our online profiles.

There is this post,

*Stop Instagraming Your Perfect Life- Everyone's life looks better on social media and that's the problem

Then I saw this one,

23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing (#8 Comparing Your Real Life To Someone Else's Virtual One)

Or this, which is hilarious by the way.

21 Really Annoying Facebook Friends We All Have 

And the one that really got me thinking was this latest movement "Don't Delete That"

"@therevrock has started a hash tag social experiment #dontdeletethat. Instead of posting only that perfectly edited selfie, try posting a REAL pic of yourself that you'd normally delete! Spread the word and let's see the real you! #dontdeletethat"

On one hand I get it. I came across this blog article the other day and the person was portraying themselves as the super star of homemaking and she's pretty successful at writing about it. Lots of people are looking up to her as the expert in her field, but I've seen her field in real life and it is in horrible condition. I mean stop blogging right now and go take care of your field because it is on fire kind of condition. It's like the documentary Catfish, which is now a show I guess. This documentary is CRAZY and I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but let's just say people aren't always who they make themselves out to be on the internet. And we know this. So I understand that there is a danger in trying to create a virtual facade.

On the other hand when I read the articles above sometimes I think people worry about it TOO much. It's like complaining that people dress up at weddings, or that girls wear makeup to cover blemishes. We all want to put our best foot forward don't we? When I saw several of my friends posting some funny #dontdeletethat photos I thought about joining in, but I humiliate myself 20 hours of the day as it is (yes even my sleep is embarrassing) and so I don't have time to make a conscious effort to humiliate myself on purpose on the internet. Although, I do that sometimes, like intentionally including dozens of typos and grammatical errors on my blog so that no one feels inferior to me. That was a joke, those are authentic.

As I chew on these thoughts, it occurs to me that just because I am not dealing with this there are so many people that are.  It's like the models on the covers of magazines are getting worried that they are being replaced as the #1 reason so many women hate themselves. That's a shame. Even though I do spend a significant amount of time online I do not think I am contributing to this epidemic. Then again, I could see how some people would be jealous of my prayer requests and my instagrams.

But I just can't help it that my life is glamorous.

What it really boils down to is to know the truth and be set free, John 8:32. The truth is you are a one of a kind beautiful individual. Man has struggled with comparison, insecurity, and pride since the beginning of time this isn't something that is all the webs fault. I have recommended  Hamlett's Blackberry before and I'll do it again, it is all about this kind of thing.  Here is part of the description from the back of the book

Author William Powers draws on some of history's most brilliant thinkers, from Plato to Shakespeare to Thoreau to demonstrate that digital connectedness serves us best when it's balanced by its opposite, disconnectedness. Lively, original, and entertaining, Hamlet's Blackberry will challenge you to rethink your digital life.

Go check it out from the library like I did, or by all means if you are going to order it through Amazon click the link on the side of my page here and I get a little sliver in commissions.

I've rambled on long enough. Keep it real internet.

*It's interesting that this article used to be called "Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life"which is how I saw it when it was circulating on Facebook, but now it appears to be called "Instagram's Envy Affect". I guess I wasn't the only one that thought that sounded a little bitter.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bedtime At Our House

The other day my friend posted this status on Facebook

Our next baby will sleep in. God has to give us one that sleeps in, right? Someday? 5:00 am on Saturday isn't my favorite....

and my reply was

Be careful what you wish for. If you get a baby that sleeps in he/she probably won't go to bed anywhere near a decent hour. Take it from one who knows. 

My kids are night owls and while it is nice that they'll let us sleep in, struggling to get them to bed before 10:00 is bleh. Last year when we had to start getting up early I had to gear my ENTIRE day towards how to get them to sleep at night. That meant that the moment I got up I was thinking about how late they could sleep in without ruining bedtime. The same thing for naps and calculating how much exercise or outdoor time they needed. When to do dinner, the last movie of the day, bath time etc. It's like the whole day was really about the night.

It's not that bad anymore now that we are in a routine. In fact some of our evening rituals are really pleasant and enjoyable, sometimes. Other times I worry that our neighbors are going to call the cops and I will have to explain "I am sorry officer, I know it sounds like someone is being brutally murdered, but kicking, screaming, and violently thrashing around is how my kids choose to settle in for the evening."

All 3 kids in their PJ's before bedtime

But let's focus on the pleasant and enjoyable evenings, shall we? One VERY special bedtime was when Z recently prayed the prayer of salvation with J. You can tell he has had a genuine change in his heart. Every night he wants to read a Bible story. He loves for us to read to him from both real Bible or the Jesus Story Book Bible.

If you have never read the Jesus Story Book Bible, you have to check it out, even if you are an adult. It is so beautiful written! Sometimes Z will even request for us to share a Bible story without reading. J is great at this, but me not so much. I worry that I will end up teaching him false doctrine all because I am tired and bad with names.

Last night was also really sweet because SJ had picked out 10 apples up on top.

It's tricky with her because for this time in our life we/she usually takes her processors off during pajama time. It's a way for her to start to unwind. This means that she can't hear me read a story. So I usually sign to her. While we were reading last night she said "apple" really clear (and she wasn't repeating me because she could not hear). I was so excited. She pointed to each apple and said apple and then started counting each one. She doesn't really know the numbers, but it was totally obvious that she was trying to mimic what sounded like counting. She might have even said an approximation for the numbers one and two.

Every night after story time I turn the lights off and we pray together. Z never felt comfortable leading in prayer until his recent commitment and now that he does I would love to sneak in a recording sometime to capture the precious words he says to the Lord. Wow! His authentic heart of faith is so encouraging. After prayer we play worship music (Amy, sometimes, like last night, we play Ross King.  Such a good way to end the day! Thanks for the tunes.)

Then I lay there with them. Sometimes I fall asleep briefly. I am going to be honest, I don't always love doing this and I think the end is in sight for me laying down with Z. He can go to sleep on his own when he is forced to. I am glad that he will be more independent, for now I will cherish the moments.

In the words of Charles Dickens "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" and in the words of Messy Mom "One of the greatest joys a parent will ever experience is knowing that all of your children are happy healthy successful  asleep".

Saturday, September 21, 2013

DIY Boot Socks for Dummies

Boot socks are so hot right now. Literally. It's still the end of summer weather in most parts of the country, but it won't be long before we are in full fledged fall. Last year I started eying boot socks/cuffs on pinterest.

But I noticed that these boot socks were not cheap (and I am). Then I saw some DIY pins popping up so I was all over it until I found out the tutorials required knitting or sewing. I am not that crafty, but refusing defeat I decided there was nothing to stop me from just cutting the sleeves off a sweater.

First of all the sweater has to be big enough to to fit on your leg. I have skinny legs, but they are still bigger than my wrists (hopefully yours are too). I had this frumpy sweater that I bought second hand from a thrift store while visiting Colorado. Here is a picture of me wearing it when I was pregnant with SJ 4 years ago.

 The sweater has a lot of stretch to it and it's the perfect cable knit, so I went after it with some scissors. I told the sweater not to feel bad because it had served it's job well, but it was time to move onto other things.

There was one part of the knit that was a tight thread, probably to keep it from unraveling, but it was quite restricting so I cut it. It will probably unravel eventually, but it's good enough for now. That's my style "eh, good enough".

This is an awkward pose of me wearing my home made boot socks on a date last winter. The necklace, boots, and dress were also purchased used!

If you've got skills and you're looking to make real upcycled sweater cuffs check out this post

If you are wanting to know how to do it the podunk way like me, it's easy. Just cut the sleeve off a sweater and put it on your leg. Roll them, scrunch them, go thigh high. The styling is up to you.

I appologize that I do not have photos of me using scissors, but just picture a close up of my hands cutting in a really jagged line.

I love to buy used, reuse, upcycle, and all that other thrifty green stuff AND I love this fall look. Now I just have to wait for that weather to change!

Linked up with What I Wore Wednesday

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unfiltered Thoughts From a Special Needs Mom

So, I've hit another bump in the road of our hearing loss journey. Sometimes I daydream about what it would be like to coast the rest of the way. No more speed bumps, no more pedal to the metal, or abrupt stops, but to just cruise along. Maybe someday, but for now it seems like just about the time I feel like I  am comfortable with this way of life I reach another part of the process that I didn't anticipate. The last time I felt this way was around SJ's birthday and I described it a little something like this

Every month, every holiday, every little outfit that she's outgrown seems to trigger memories of the valleys that we walked through last year. I still feel like I am walking around in shoes that don't fit sometimes, but I guess all mothers feel that way and we just need to grow into them. 

Well, now there are some new milestones approaching and I wince and turn my head with idea that maybe I can dodge this part of processing everything. As funny as it may sound Z's birthday triggered some emotions for me. I have blogged about their birthdays being EXACTLY 2 1/2 years apart. That means that the day Z turned 6, SJ turned 3 1/2.  At this age the school district has you fill out paperwork about where your child is developmentally and then they give you test results for this 42 Month assessment. SJ is SO far behind right now. Even though it doesn't mean anything and it's just standard protocol it's sad to hear that when I know how intelligent she is, but she is trapped in a world where she has very little language. So of course she doesn't know any colors, numbers, very few animal noises or people names. We are doing absolutely everything in our power to unlock communication for her, but there is no instant download. The older she gets the more serious it is. Four is a very significant age. At four "babies" become kids. I think about what Z was like at age three and he was just a little toddler to me, but at four he was not that much different then what he is now two years later. Plenty of subtle changes, but his personality and abilities have been quite consistent. Many kids start school and children's church at this age. I know SJ won't be ready for children's church yet, which is no big deal. I also know she won't be starting a mainstream school for many years, and I am okay with that too. She will catch up, but it's hard to be patient. She wasn't too drastically different from her peers when she was diagnosed at age 2,

 and she hopefully won't be that far behind when she is talking up a storm in the next year or so, but right now is the pinnacle of the cognitive gap. 

And that is hard for me. We have to work twice as hard and twice as fast just to get to what would be normal. You might be thinking "So what? What is normal anyway, it's all relative". Well, of course I love her no matter what and she is doing great, but note the title "Unfiltered Thoughts". I am just being candid about some anxiety that creeps in from time to time.

I was told that it was going to be challenging. I was warned not to get my hopes and that the cochlear implant process will take time, and I listened, but in the back of my mind I was secretly believing it would be different for SJ. I thought maybe she would shatter the records and be some kind of cochlear prodigy. I was hoping she would be talking by now. I have her hearing birthday looming in the back of mind (it's 2 months away) and I am not ready for that milestone. The day of her activation was not the most positive experience so thinking about it is a little unpleasant.

For the record overall I am feeling blessed and energized, but these other feelings are real too and I am not the bottle it up kind. There is a support group at the school and I wasn't able to attend last year because we lived so far away, so it will be good to go to that and I've got groups that I am apart of online, plus my church family and real family. Her school is the most amazing school anyone could dream up, and there are a lot of really wonderful things happening right now so I don't want to paint a bleak picture. I am proud of her where she is and for who she is. She is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I am just ready for the uphill battle to be over, and I have a feeling we are just about to the top. At least for this hill. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Back To School Parties

I think everyone is still getting into the swing of things with school starting up. Coinsidently both of the kid's schools had big social events happening this weekend. Luckily one was on Friday and the other was Saturday so we were able to do both.

I signed up to bring all kinds of sweet things and so I baked my heart out (including practice rounds).

I made so much that I was handing out the extras in sandwich bags to the parents at the bus stop.

First up was the carnival at Z's school. I overspent (cha-ching) quite a bit to get them an unlimited game/ride pass, but at least it was for a good cause.

 Z had been counting down all week long and it was the most excited I've seen him since his birthday (granted that was last week, but trust me he was excited).

 Z and SJ had a blast,


the only problem is when the kids crash from these sugary happy highs they fall hard.

We went to get pizza afterwards and Z pushed SJ and she fell out of the booth and it made quite a scene. Z felt bad and started crying so his batman face paint was running and getting in his eyes. It was a terrible mess and in the most pathetic little voice he sputtered "I don't want to be batman anymore". He was asleep before we left the restaurant and all three of them were asleep by the time we got home.

The next day was the picnic at SJ's school which included alumni families.

It was a great opportunity to meet other parents from the school. One of the moms I met had a home birth with her daughter too, which is a important similarity for our situations because of the lack of newborn screening. It was nice to have some camaraderie there. I also met a 17 year old girl who was a graduate of OVV. She wasn't talking until she was 4 and now she talks great and is on her 3rd year of Spanish! So that was encouraging.

The weather was perfect and

the family time priceless.


I'd say this weekend was  success!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How To Be On Time

I may not be the most qualified to write a "how to" on the matter of punctuality, but I've learned a few tricks and I have needed to remind myself of them now that we are back on such a rigid schedule. Some people are just timely by nature and some of us have to work hard to be. I am one of the latter. These 5 tips have been tested and proven by me, the messy mom, to work with getting even the most "challenging" of pupils up and out and on time!

SJ on her first day of school this year.

5. Time yourself

In order to know how much time you need, you need to know how much time you take.
For example, when I had my second child I was shocked by how difficult it was to be even close to on time. So I would set a timer each morning and then stop it when we were leaving. There were actually several times I never stopped it and would come home from church and the timer was still running, but eventually I learned how much time I needed to get myself and two kids ready. 

 Last year when SJ started school I had my laptop open while I got ready and I typed out what time I did everything so that I had a realistic idea of how much time everything took. Even though no one was ever supposed to see this I am going to be vulnerable here and show you a copy 

Lastly, this year I have to admit that I have missed getting Z off the school bus TWICE already. Kindergarteners have to have a parent present or they won't let them off. I was so embarrassed. So what I started doing was taking a screen shot of my phone so that I know what time I left the apartment, then another screen shot when I get to the bus stop, then another one when the bus comes. You could just write everything down, but this way is so much faster. After some observation of these patterns I think I have the hang of it. I know when to leave without having to get there TOO early and feel like I am wasting my time. Isn't that the art of time management? 

4. Dress to the shoes

This is a fly lady thing, but it's helpful. She will tell you to get fully dressed including your lace up shoes, and even do your hair and makeup so you feel motivated and in the zone. When you are in your pjs and socks you feel comfy and lazy. This doesn't mean you have to get all dolled up. Trust me I usually look like a bad tabloid photo most days, but I do like to get myself ready first and have some solitude while the little ones are still snoozing. Then I wake the kids up at the last minute. I think of it like securing my life jacket before assisting a minor. 

3. Set everything out the night before

This is another one where I am preaching to myself. Twice I have panicked trying to find my keys at the last minute. Last year before SJ started school I posted a question on Facebook for advice on the matter of getting up early and getting to school on time and this was the most popular suggestion I received. I am going to work on it. 

2. Give yourself extra time

Something unexpected always happens. You may have to go back to the house because your child forgot their backpack. Or maybe you can't find your kids at the last minute because the lining of your purse has a hole in it and your keys slipped in there to become a part of some secret society. Or who knows you could even arrive at school to find that your child took both shoelaces out of her shoes and retied them into a the most intricate of knots that not even a high ranking boy scout could undo. These are just hypotheticals of course, but stuff like this could potentially happen. When you have done #5 and timed yourself add 10 minutes to whatever amount of time you have concluded you need.


When I asked for advice on Facebook last year the best tip I received was in all caps it said "DO NOT HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON". This has been the #1 thing for me (that's why I did 5 through 1 because I wanted to save the best for last).

Comedian  Jim Gaffigan jokes "The snooze bar is a wonderful invention. Nothing like starting the day off with a little procrastination! As my first decision of the day I will go back to sleep." His whole bit on the snooze bar is hilarious, and not to get all serious, but it did get me thinking. Do I really want to spend the first 30 minute of my day in groggy debate with myself about whether or not I have more time to sleep. Some of you you can't think of a better gift to yourself than hitting snooze and that's cool. I like to think of the snooze bar like a real bar. Some people can go to the bar and have a drink and it's a delightful little treat. Other people go to the bar to have a drink and wake up the next day with an enormous headache and a hideous pair of celtic boots they paid a gypsy $700 for (true story from my neighbor). I think I am a snoozaholic and saying no to the snooze last year may be a big part of why I was always on time. 

Alright ladies, or should I say "late-ies" he he. That's all the tips I've got for you today, but feel free to share your own. I'm still a work in progress myself. 

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Surprise of the Year

Despite my best attempts (and new years goals) I have not been able to make it to Michigan this year, but my best friend was able to find a way to get to me instead. It's been almost a year since I last saw my favorite sisters. They drove out to meet Ezie after he was born. 

This time they caught a ride with a friend of theirs who they heard was coming out this way. It was so great to see them and we had a wonderful time.

One of the first things we did was go to Jungle Jim's which is a humongous international market in Ohio.

This little exertion was followed by some girl time back at the apartment chowing down and watching project runway.

You can find the recipe for this Nutella Crunch Icecream cake HERE.

 Mels has been watching Project Runway since it started 13 years ago and I've been following since she told me there was a competitor with a cochlear implant this season. 

Saturday morning I made my latest specialty which is blueberry muffin mixed turned into waffles. This is actually a picture from another time I made it, but it's the same meal. 

After breakfast we showed them around some of our favorite places in Cincinnati

and after putting the kids to bed (thank goodness for the new early school schedule) us adults were able act like kids ourselves. We stayed up way too late watching college football (routing for Michigan of course), sharing our favorite youtube videos, playing cards, listening to old music, and acting goofy. The kind of silly you feel free to be after you've been friends for over 10 years. 

Sadly they had to leave today at lunchtime, but not before we had some more girl time which consisted of a mini spa session while watching a chick flick. I think SJ got the most pampering and she was adorable. 

Getting of all of her old nail polish

then having new paint put on. She's such a princess.

All of this was while sipping coffee and nibbling on chocolate. Does that sound like a good time or what? For me all of it was just what the Doctor ordered. I've gone from stressed to blessed. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Little Cochlear Panic Attack

I haven't done an update in a while reporting how far along SJ is with new words and hearing milestones. It's been a bit discouraging lately. I have had a hard time getting her to keep her CI's on. She does fine at church and school, but anywhere else it is an everyday battle. Then add to that the set back of her having the pain on the right side (which is gone now, praise God) and then on Sunday one of her processors looked like it was broken and then there are the times that they are lost and it's always stressful! Those little flashing magnetic "earrings"are by far those valuable things we own monetarily.

 In fact even if you added up all of our assets it still wouldn't be close to the worth of her processors.

Imagine how I felt yesterday when the kids were playing on the balcony and SJ had her headband off. Then I saw her looking through the cracks of wood down to the balcony below us.

There are some spaces between the planks and she thought it would be fun to drop her barrette, headband, and each processor individually through the cracks. AND it appeared that one of them landed in a bowl of water, which meant I had 30 minutes before that thing became worthless. To say I freaked out is probably an understatement. I don't remember exactly how I reacted because that whole moment felt like it happened in another dimension.

The first thing I needed to do was just simply ask our downstairs neighbors if I could retrieve it. So I bolted down the stairs and started knocking and then banging on the door. No answer. So I went back upstairs and tried to think like Tom Cruise's character in Mission Impossible. Could I climb down, not without dying. Would a broom reach, not even close, I tried. Think, think, think! Call the landlords's? I felt uneasy about our downstairs neighbors. I think I can safely explain without them finding out because the chances of them reading a mom blog, especially mine, are slim to none. Anyway, the downstairs neighbors have a Pit Bull, his name is Ozzie and if the dog could talk he would probably curse like Ozzie just like his owners do. None the less I had no time to loose. I scribbled out a note along with my phone number and I went back downstairs to tape it to the door. The door has a fuzzy black wreath hanging on it along with an eyeball welcome mat. 
I know that some people decorate early for Halloween, but this might be year round decor for them. I snapped a pic with my phone because after my relentless knocking I knew I wasn't bothering anybody.

Finally when I returned up to my apartment I had a stroke of genius and I remembered a giant paper clip that I could probably make a hook out of and we had some string from the recent pinata festivities so I had to basically make a fishing line. Because the processors are magnetic I was able to lower the metal hook down through the crack and it stuck right to the first one which was in the water.

Getting it back through the crack without knocking it off was the most nerve wrecking, but it worked. That was the biggest relief. Getting the second one was harder because it wasn't a straight shot, but eventually after jerking the string up and down to cause the clip to land in different spaces I got it and at that point I was on a roll so I went for the hairband too. The kids were crowded around me watching as if it were a scene from the Sandlot (remember "I've got get that ball back. You don't understand"). Except instead of a ball signed by Babe Ruth it was some cochlear Implants and instead of The Beast it was Ozzie (who luckily was not on the porch).

I told J the day that I have less than 3 major crisis/emergencies will be a good day and for the past week or so I've had some really bad days. All is well that end well.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Laugh Out Loud Conversations With Z

A year ago I posted some of the humorous lines I had heard Z say when he was 4 years old. If you didn't see it you should check it out. We all got tons of laughs from the goofy perspective of our preschooler. He kept us laughing this year as well. I wish I could remember all of the funny moments, but at least I had some of them posted on Facebook which helps.

Here are ten of the most memorable conversations with Z at 5 years old

1. I told the kids they had to watch something educational (something they hear me say a lot). Then I thought I heard Z say "how about something rectal" I knew that couldn't be right so I asked "something what?" and he repeated himself "rectal" I just stared in shock and confusion. He further explained,"Something Wreck-it-al, you know, like, Wreck It Ralph". Although I like how he cleverly combined his favorite movie and the word "educational" it just didn't work.

2. Conversation on the way to school. 

Me: Zion, do you think you would be interested in learning spanish? 
Zion: Well, I already know one language. 
Me: Yeah, what is that? 
Zion: Talking
Me: Talking is a verb it's not your language. Do you know what language you speak?
Zion: Chinese. 
Me: No. What language do Americans speak?
Zion: American? 
Me: Closer. It's English. We speak English. 
Zion: Oh. Never heard of it.

3. This one is in reference to his understanding (or lack) of his little sisters hearing loss. He says,
 "When I was two and I was deaf I didn't follow directions either".
Half of that is true. 

4. Another misconception of what it means to be deaf was when Ezie had a dirty diaper and Z said "at least it doesn't bother SJ because she can't smell since she is deaf"

5. Z had been wanting a "cap like daddy". He really wanted a blue cap specifically. So when he found this hat he knew it was the one because it is blue and says "cap" on it. 
Eventually I told him the truth about it being the letter "G" and spelling Gap. From that point on he called his hat a Gap and will say things like "I think I'll wear my Gap today".

6. A conversation about the 50 States project
    Me: "Z, did you know uncle Brandon posted your video on the internet?"
    Z: "Did he post it on our internet too?" 

7. This next conversation happened in the car and was in reference to Z's keen sense of direction. 

J: Z, in 10 years I don’t know if I’m going to be able to hold a candle to you.
Me: I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold a candle to you in a year.

Z- Well in 3 months you are both going to be lighting a candle on my cake and giving me a card because that is when my birthday is. 

8. A random conversation out of the blue

   Z- Mom, cars are expensive right? 
   Me- Yes
   Z- and important? 
   Me- Yes
   Z- I'm going to get one when I'm 20.
   Me- Sounds good.

9. Then there was this akward conversation before I just recently started letting him go to some public restrooms alone 
Z: SJ has to poop a lot
me: Why do you think that?
Z: Because she never stands up

10. Most recently while at Party City Z found a big number 6 candle. He grabbed it and thought we should get it. I said "I dont know. Don't you want to blow out six candles instead?" (Its cheaper and we already had some.) He got excited and said yeah that's a great idea! Then he went to grab 5 more of the number six candle.

Thanks for laughs little man!