15 Years Ago I Wasn’t Quite In Love

This is a really exciting year for me you guys. I am a bit of a romantic, and while most of our anniversaries are low key, the 5th and the 10th were unforgettable. Seriously. My wedding day, 5 year, and 10 year anniversary rank super high on the best days of my life list. This year will mark our 15th anniversary and so you are going to hear me talking about about this milestone A LOT. Even our Christmas card will be paying homage to our 15 year mark.

Before I get too excited about all that lovey dovey stuff, let’s time travel to see what our relationship was like at this time 15 years ago.

This photo is from ’98. J is being silly with the heart sunglasses and I am sporting my American Eagle overalls because it was the 90’s. 

I am in High School. J is in college.

Here is an excerpt from my diary from February 8, 2000. I did leave out names, but other than that it is exactly as I wrote it 15 years ago!

On Friday “J” and “Friend” were as clingy as ever. Everything is cleared up between me and them, but I have to admit I still get very annoyed by them. My mom doesn’t understand why I am bitter, but she doesn’t see the same side of J as I do, but don’t get me wrong I love the guy to death and I would do anything for him.

Here is my translation now that I am a grown woman looking back at my hormonal 17 year old angst. 

Jeremy is  friends with another girl. They flirt and I am extremely jealous. I would never admit that. Not to Jeremy, or my mom, and certainly not to myself. I have feelings for this guy that I claim are  platonic, but the truth is I don’t know how to process all these emotions, so apparently I am “bitter”. 

Here is another one from just a couple weeks later. February 15, 2000

“Yesterday was absolutely horrible. I had no valentine and was exhausted from working ALL WEEKEND. I got home from school and I just went in my room and cried. Then my mom came in and told me I had a visitor. It was “cute boy”. So I tried to pull myself together and went out there, and we talked for a long time. You know what? I know I’ve been acting weird and emotional. I’ve just felt different lately. So I am going to leave out all of the details of my lame teenage life for just a moment. I may get to talking about it all sooner or later, but for now I am just going to write.
Jeremy is sick tonight. He just has the flu, but I feel bad for him. I know I have said a lot of mean things about him, but he is the greatest guy I have ever known (or at least one of). I love him very much in a way that I cannot explain. It’s not romantic love, or brotherly love, or even friendly love, I don’t know what it is, but I care about him a lot and it kills me to see him sick.”

Translation: 

I am so mad because I have no Valentine and I had to work. What could be worse?! Oh the agony!!! Then this cute boy shows up at my doorstep. He really likes me. He said and did all the right things, including giving me sweet little gifts that were inside jokes between the two of us, but I am not mentioning any of that because I have other things on my mind. 
Out of NOWHERE I have decided I am going to stop talking about boys and teenage stuff and start to dissect some of the emotions I am feeling for J who is a long time close friend of mine. At this point I am not ready to admit that I am head over heals in love with him, but I am suddenly falling hard and fast. For now, suffice it to say that I care about him and I want to take care of him. Whatever that means. 

Even though it’s embarrassing to share the unfiltered thoughts of my teenage diary, I can barely read that February 15th journal entry without tearing up now. Because in hindsight it’s like I can see the exact moment that I fell in love. Even if I claimed it wasn’t romantic.

It’s crazy to think of how quickly things changed. 15 years ago we were very close, but not quite in love. If someone had told me at the time that we would be married by the end of the year I would have thought they were insane. I would have bet money that I would become a famous actress by the end of the year before I would have believed any kind of marriage nonsense, but I am glad that I was wrong because I’d rather be married to J than be in Hollywood. Yes we were married young and there are definitely obstacles that come along with that, but that’s for another post. I’ll leave you with my favorite line from “The Fault In Our Stars” and I think it applies to our love story quite nicely. 

And 15 years later I am more in love than I have ever been. 

By | February 4th, 2015|Marriage, My Life, Uncategorized|7 Comments

Pinewood Derby

The Pinewood Derby race is one of the biggest events of the year for Cub Scouts and this was Z’s first year to participate. With help form an adult, the scouts are expected to build their own car out of wood. Sure you start with a kit, but it’s more than just something you would find at Ikea with minimal assembly required. They actually have to carve, drill, nail, and paint the thing. 

I was so happy to see these two working as a team. J and Z have a wonderful relationship, but I know J hates how much he has to be away since being in school full time.

The pack has a tune up meeting the week of the race to weigh in and make sure your car meets all the specific qualifications. 
They expect a lot out of these little Tiger Cubs. It’s not just about assembling a car to roll down a track. They are expected to craft it in a way that will improve the performance level. So they are not only learning basic carpentry, but they are also implementing lots of scientific components like momentum and aerodynamics. You would be surprised at how much goes into these races, unless you have been a part of Pinewood Derby. In which case, none of this surprises you at all. 
The track is on a slope like this. 
They line up 6 cars at a time and all of the names of those on deck show up on a big screen. 
That’s Z’s batman car in the middle. At the end of the track is a timer that shows the speed and rank of each car. They race multiple times and at the end they average all the times to find the winner.

I was worried about Z not ranking very high. They put so much effort into all of it and I knew he would be disappointed if he lost, but I just wanted him to learn good sportsmanship. We would always pray about the upcoming derby day and I would try to really emphasize “Help Z to do his best” “Let your will be done on the race track” “We commit to having a good attitude and to be a light no matter what happens with Z’s derby car”. You might laugh at such a silly prayer, unless you have been a part of a Pinewood Derby. In which case, again, none of this surprises you. 
In the end Z actually got third place, so he did get a trophy and he was super proud. This isn’t one of those everyone gets a trophy deals. Plenty of 6-10 year old boys were in tears over defeat that day. I am sure I will be wiping those tears away for another competition. We’ve been there before, but this time he beamed. 
His grandpa and dad were by his side for whole thing and I am sure this is a moment he is going to remember for a long, long time. 

Z has never participated in any sports or competitive activities yet, so I am really glad he got to have this opportunity. This quote taken directly from pinewoodderby.org really sums it all up. “At the heart of this event’s success is the process itself- bonds are strengthened as the Cub Scout partners with a  parent or adult mentor to design, carve, paint, weigh, refine, and race the car.”

Win our loose, this was priceless bonding time for a dad and his first born son. It doesn’t get much better than that.

By | January 23rd, 2015|My Life, Schooling, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Messy Mom’s Tidy Daughter

My blog title is Messy Mom for a reason. I am messy by nature, so is my mom, and so is my best friend. I have referred to our entire family as The Messies before. That’s what I was used to, until SJ. She’s only four years old and is already very structured and orderly. But can I really label her as fastidious at such a young age? Yes. I can. Let’s back up.


When SJ was one she taught herself to go potty. She dressed herself including buttoning and zipping.

When she was two she started to prepare her own meals. Granted they were a bit eccentric, but I swore if there were ever some kind of apocalyptic situation where the world was in crisis SJ, our deaf toddler, would be one of the last survivors.

At age three she could fold clothes better than most men. I know that’s not saying a lot, but trust me, she is precise.

At four years old SJ is now able to wash her hair, brush it, and pull it back into a pony tail. She also cuts her own finger nails. I don’t like this idea, but after observing her with the baby nail clippers several times, I am convinced that she can handle it (with supervision). 

These stories give you just a glimpse of how she has always been very independent and has some serious fine motor skills, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s clean and tidy. Except for the fact that now that she is coming up on 5 years old it is really starting to manifest. SJ is very thorough and detail oriented when it comes to cleaning. She sees something out of place and she is going to fix it. Lately I have been trying to keep things clean around the apartment. This behavior is not to be expected the other 11 months of the year (it’s a new years tradition I guess). Anyway I washed the couch cover and swept/vacuumed and mopped the floors. And while most children wouldn’t notice (and my husband certainly did not) SJ came into the living room after school that day and without a second thought she exclaimed “It’s clean!!” Then she went to her room where I had vacuumed and she said “Carpet is clean!” and stroked it with her hand. It’s embarrassing for me to admit that this was something that was out of the ordinary. The point is, it mattered to her. She noticed and she got really excited. 
I won’t tell you all the stories of how she loves to put things away, wipe down counters, scrub little crusted pieces of food off of the table, or help me clean my room, but she does all of that with skill and precision. Yesterday she insisted on vacuuming and let me tell you, when she was done she wound up the cord back into it’s place and then put the vacuum (which was bigger than her) in the closet where it belongs. Why can’t I do that!? I think about unplugging the vacuum, but then what if I decide I want to use it again, then I’d have to get to start all over. That’s my thought process you guys. It’s bad. I am thrilled to have a little helper around the house though.

Unlike her brother. With Z I have to walk him through the whole process step by step. It is like pulling teeth. Of course it would be easier to do it myself, but the chores are for his sake so that he can learn. With SJ, even though she’s so tiny, she really does pack a lot of punch in the cleaning department and it has been beneficial to me. She gets the job done! I’m serious. It’s awesome.

Then there are times that I worry about how her personality will affect our relationship later in life.

 Is my laid back, do it later mentality going to drive her insane? Is her slightly obsessive attention to detail going to make me loose my cool? I hope not. My plan at this point is to take the Frozen approach to the whole thing and teach my little queen Elsa how to control her powers and use them for the good of our own personal Arendelle.

Or maybe she will change as she grows up and she won’t turn out like Monica from Friends.

I doubt it though, she’s pretty hard core right now and it’s only grown over the years. Have any of you seen this type of behavior in a child before? Or maybe you were that way as a child? Are you the neat freak type, or are you like me and let’s just say your strengths are in other areas? I think we can all learn and benefit from each others differences. The world needs both type of personalities and apparently my family does too.

By | January 22nd, 2015|My Life, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Through Mother’s Eyes

This week I have been talking about books. As I already mentioned I recently read Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan and Surprised By Motherhood by Lisa Jo Baker . The authors themselves and the main premise of each book is very different. However, they both take a deep and personal look at their mothers in hindsight after becoming a mother themselves. It is amazing what truths are unveiled to them that were there all along, but it’s different when you look back. It’s different when you are a mom.

In Baker’s memoir, Surprised By Motherhood, she looses her mother when she is 18 years old.  Nearly two decades later she is looking at her young daughter and she begins to see herself through her late mother’s eyes. So much healing takes place in that moment. It really is a moving story that I highly recommend. That particular part of the story truly resonated with me. Because in that moment she feels like she has a glimpse of what her mom felt. It is then that she knows that she was loved and she knows that she was known. She couldn’t have experienced it in a way that was so intricate or detailed until she applied it to the relationship she has with her own daughter.

I didn’t loose my mother, but I did loose a brother. Zeb was diagnosed when he was 3 years old. He had Leukemia. He died when he was about to turn 7 and I was 9. We were very close. I grieved the loss of my little brother, the baby of our family, my best friend. I had closure though. I knew he was in Heaven, and the way that I missed him evolved over time.

Then I became a mother. Sigh. Motherhood changes everything doesn’t it? And much in the way of these two authors who saw their mothers in a different light after having kids, I did as well. I understood now the price that she paid, willingly and lovingly, to raise her four children. I also felt like I had a new understanding, although I could never know completely, about what she went through with my little brother Zeb. I hesitate to say that it opens up a wound, but the good news is that God is gracious and merciful and that His presence is a balm for these feelings. He can soothe even the deepest abrasions.

You see, I lost a brother and that was tough. I cherish the memories I have of him. However, I pray that I will never know what it is like to loose a son. As a young girl I had NO idea what my parents went through. Looking back at it with my new perspective as a mom I have to grieve all over again. Every once in a while I will hear stories about that time in our life. I treasure these stories. It’s a part of my life and I want to know everything there is to know about my brother Zeb. I take it all in. Even the hard stuff. It might be stories about his treatment, the chemo, and bone marrow transplant. Or pictures of how young my mother was when she had to endure all this at the age I am now. Or just the look in her eyes when she talks about it. The wholeness and peace that comes from above, along with the empty space that never goes away. And you never want it to.

It’s been 23 years and she does cry every once in a while. Now that I am a mom I totally get that. I am sure she’s crying right now reading this (I am too). It’s weird the way life imprints dates, ages, places on your heart so that you can’t go pass them without tripping a wire. I am sure all of us have those times that serve as a memorial. For me, I think of my mom when my children (especially my oldest son) turn 3 and then 7. Z is seven now actually, and there was one night in particular, after putting him to bed and watching him drift to sleep, I just had to weep over the thought of what that would be like to lose him. I certainly don’t want all this to come across as an obsessive state of hopelessness and depression. It’s quite the contrary. On the occasion that these memories do arise I am reminded of the Savior’s sacrifice. I am reminded of the promise and the hope that we have through Christ. It’s also like rereading the living testament that my parents walk out daily as they prove the redeeming and powerful love of God in the midst of the storms. Lastly, I am honoring a precious little boy’s legacy.

As I read Lisa Jo Baker’s words and saw the healing that was evident through the pain. I also saw that at work in my own life and I am sure it can be true for you as well. We all experience different forms of loss and grief, and the way we grieve is as diverse as each one of us.

To bring this back to becoming a mom and seeing our moms in a new light I would like to share this little quote from Glitter and Glue,

“And it occurs to me that maybe the reason my mother was so exhausted all the time wasn’t because she was doing so much but because she was feeling so much.”


I don’t like to describe myself as exhausted, but if it looks like I am I can attest that this would be why. As these authors have described being a mother means feeling deeply. It’s braving the unknown only to feel your way through it. It’s not always easy, but of course it’s worth it.  

By | January 17th, 2015|Motherhood, My Life, Uncategorized|7 Comments

My Favorite Gift (SJ’s Christmas Message)

One of my all time favorite Messy Mom blog posts is The Littlest Christmas Star which I wrote this time last year . If you haven’t read it I would encourage you to check it out.  It’s about SJ’s first Christmas program at her deaf school. Her line last year was to say I love you mommy, daddy, and her brother’s names. She could barely muster out I love you mama. It wasn’t much, but it meant a great deal to me because she tried. She’s come a long way since then. I had heard her practicing saying her lines at home. “I love you mommy, daddy, Zion, Ezra” Sometimes she would even talk about whose turn it was and also recite her classmates lines.

When the day of the Christmas program arrived we headed to the school and I heard her practicing in the backseat, but I also heard her say “I want Minnie Mouse”. I could tell it was part of what she would be saying in the program and not just random chatter because children tend to sound like zombies when they recite lines (to quote Gru from Despicable me 2). I almost cried before it even started because in that moment I realized she was going to say more than just I love you to us! It might not sound like much, but this meant she was able to memorize more, speak a lot more, and most importantly it meant that she has made advancements since last year that her teachers deemed ready to take to the next level! 
Sure enough SJ approaches the microphone and it’s not intelligible to everyone, I get that. To me as her mom though, I understood every. single. word. And for the first time I got to hear her say
“Santa I want a Minnie Mouse for Christmas. I love you mommy, daddy, Zion, and Ezra.” 
She nailed it. All the mothers in the auditorium that know us and know how far SJ has come all looked back at me to see tears flowing down my cheeks. I tried not to cry, which is worse, because that just equates to an ugly contorted face, but whatevs. Some of them were crying too because it was such a beautiful moment. 
For the record she DID get a Minnie Mouse for Christmas.
 Ezie got Mickey too so they love to play together with them. He actually calls him Minnie because he hears that from his sister so often. I don’t know if Mickey’s name has ever been uttered in our household.
The mouse presents continued when we went to Texas and she got a Minnie Mouse outfit 
and a Minnie Mouse Puzzle. 
All of which she has announced to many people. She says “I have Minnie Mouse toy. I have Minnie Mouse coat… pants… puzzle. I have four Minnie Mouse.” 
So that may have been her favorite gift of the year, but mine was just hearing her be able to ask for it. It is a wonderful life. 
By | January 7th, 2015|Hearing Loss, My Life|8 Comments

Our Family Pilgrimage Part FOUR!?

This is a newsletter that I post annually on Facebook, but I thought it would be nice to share it here too. I never anticipated more than one or two updates once we got settled in after the move, yet here we are. The journey continues. 

We began our Family Pilgramage updates at the beginning of
2012 when we left our home in Texas to see what the Lord had for us in Kentucky.

Part 2 was a recap of the year we welcomed our youngest
child into our family.

 Along with the roller coaster ride that comes with
realizing our two year old daughter SJ was profoundly deaf. It was by far the
most intense life changing year all the way around!

Part 3 was about moving (again), changing schools, working
multiple jobs, and getting a lot of help along the way.

Now I sit here beginning to define our latest chapter and I am feeling like changing the name from Family Pilgrimage Part Four to Four Years of Wondering in the Dessert!
The unemployment, the uncertainty, and the demanding circumstances can be tiring. We had no idea what was ahead of us when we packed up that moving van and left the only place we, as a couple, have called home. A lot of amazing
growth and provision has taken place that is for sure. None the less part of me
wants to throw a whiny baby fit because I feel like I am
ready to live a normal stable life (whatever that means).
Looking back at 2014 I see a lot of headway. Unfortunately, it’s been like watching a pot that takes years to boil. You try to distract
yourself from what the main goal is and find something else to do because you
know what they say, “a watched pot never boils”. 
I see a few bubbles surfacing though.

Jeremy has had a phenomenal year at Cincinnati State. I am
so proud of all that he has accomplished. He’s had to work his tail off, but
he’s been able to maintain a 4.0 grade point average each semester. I made his
lunches and helped him write a couple papers so I’ll take a little credit there.

Z is in first grade. He goes to a great school and he is doing so well there. This school year is much
better than last for me as the mom. Last year he was in half day kindergarten,
SJ went all day at her special preschool, Ezie was napping twice a day, and I was trying
to juggle all of these schedules. It meant many, MANY daily trips up and down
three flights of stairs (we live in the top of our apartment building). That’s
not even including trips for groceries and laundry. I consider that my exercise
routine and try not to feel too sorry for myself.

SJ is almost 5 now and has made incredible progress this year.
Last year she could not count and she didn’t know any letters. She couldn’t ask
or answer too many questions. She didn’t know anyone’s name outside of our
immediate family. She just had a handful of words. Now all of that has changed!
This year she was able to communicate via phone (on speaker mode) for the first
time! She also can tell very simple reports about her day like “I paint
pumpkin” or “I eat pancake”, She knows colors and numbers, and many letters.
She is starting to write some. My favorite breakthrough recently was when She
told me “Implant say Beep. Beep. Beep.” Then she shrugged and said “not
working” What that means is that her cochlear implant’s battery died and when
that happens it beeps internally. No one can hear it other than the person with
the implant. I would have never known that it beeped if she wasn’t able to
articulate it. It was in that moment that I got just tiniest little glimpse
into her world. All this time she has things going on inside that she is thinking,
feeling, and wanting, but she was trapped in silence. Slowly but surely we are seeing her unlock her ability to communicate. I thank the Lord for this progress.
Ezie is 2 years old and for never knowing anything other
than our current circumstances I can only predict that he is going to be the most
flexible, laid back guy ever.

After a two year break because of all that we’ve had going
on I have been getting back into photography. I am also still trying
to make time to write. I’m even considering doing a book one of these days.

As far as this next year, I try not to get my hopes up too
much, but then again what are hopes for right? There are some really exciting,
truly wonderful, fulfilling things on the horizon! Praise the Lord! J should
be able to find a job as a software
engineer this summer. He won’t necessarily have his degree
completed, but enough to have a fully paid practicum. This means we could
hopefully move out of our apartment and into something with a washer and dryer, and a yard for the kids to play in. A place that they can act like
kids without causing the downstairs neighbors dog to have heart palpitations
(true story). What a day of rejoicing that will be!

Maybe that won’t be our
story, but that’s what my dreams look like. 
Three years ago I left Texas with dreams and I am ready to pick them back up again.

 Happy
new year. That’s all I can say. Happy New Year. 

By | January 5th, 2015|My Life, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Goals 2015

Yesterday I shared my word for the year and today I am going to list some of my goals. The funny thing is, if you go to oneword365.com the purpose is to “Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Scrap that long list of goals you won’t remember three weeks from now anyway. Choose just one word.” Well, I didn’t know about this official website or group when I chose a word. I guess you could say I want to have my cake and eat it too, but I picked one word AND I have a New Year’s Resolution list. Have I mentioned I love New Year’s? It’s true. I love it and that’s all I am writing about this week so here are my goals for 2015. The first half are more dreams than anything and the second half are very practical projects.

1. Monthly Dates
 I say this EVERY YEAR!!! It might sound so easy to other people to have a monthly, or even weekly date with their spouse. I am going to assume that those couples either have money or family nearby (or no children), but for us it seems to be this unattainable projection. We’ve been on a roll lately though, so I feel confident about this year.

2. Cruise
 I hesitate to even type that because it just doesn’t seem realistic right now, but by our 15th anniversary in November that could all change. J was the one that came up with the idea and I have grabbed it by the horns with a kung fu grip. However, if it doesn’t happen this year that doesn’t mean it will never happen and I am okay with that.

3. Move
 Hopefully we will not still be living in an apartment this time next year, but if so see the last sentence of my previous goal.

4. Declutter
I want to work on a different part of the home each month. I have an office area and filing cabinet that desperately need to be sorted out. There are also walls marked on with crayon that need to be scrubbed and other various “deep cleaning” projects that don’t come naturally to me. This is another one that I say every year, but I’m saying it again. I want to be a better house keeper.

5. Photo Archive Updates
I really need to catch up on printing photos and finishing baby books. I am usually really good at this, but last year I didn’t do a single thing!

6. Doctors
This might be a weird one to have on the list, but everyone in our family of 5 is overdue to see the dentist and I need to line up some other routine visits with specialists which I have procrastinated on so that’s why Doctor’s appointments is one of my goals for the year.

I could go on and on. I would love to learn spanish, get SJ in gymnastics, potty train Ezie, take juice off the menu for my children, get a new lens for my camera… However, for the sake of simplicity let’s just leave the list at 6 things. I visited with a  long time friend the other day and I met her husband for the first time. I said “I heard about your plans to start your own practice some day. That’s great” His response was “2019” I raised my brows in astonishment and he added “A plan without a date is just a dream”. Then we talked about S.M.A.R.T goals.

Don’t get me wrong I am unapologetically a dreamer, but every once in a while I do like to get crap done.

So those are my plans for now. Here’s to a fresh start. I hope that it is a blessed year full of breakthrough for all of you as well! Happy 2015.

By | January 2nd, 2015|My Life, Uncategorized|6 Comments

One Word

Has Lord ever given you one key verse, phrase, or word for
the year? Something to focus on as you approach the launching pad for the next
season of life?
I’ll admit that it’s been a while for me, which is why I was
thrilled to feel like even in the midst of my stubbornness and daily distractions I
felt the Lord graciously gave me some direction for 2015.
The concept is big and complicated. It involves shifting my focus. I prayed for one literal
word that would encapsulate this vision that He had given me at this time and I
felt like that word was good.
Not as in an adjective like that’s a good word. I mean the
word for our family for this year is GOOD.
From the first verses in the Bible God is already revealing
that what he does is good.
He creates and sees goodness in it .
 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there
was light. And God saw that the light was good.
-Genesis 1:3
Then he created the earth, plants, fish, animals and
EVERYTHING he made was GOOD! So just like New Year’s day is a launching pad for the year this chapter is the launching pad for the word of God.
How fitting!
I could elaborate on the word good throughout the Bible, but
I will save some revelation for the other 364 days we have left this year. Seriously though, I am truly excited
for the Lord to reveal all that is good as we navigate this next year. I am
also convicted that this will begin with a change in my heart and mind. For the 31 day
challenge I was virtually connected with another blogger, Lauren who writes over at His Grace is sufficient. She did her entire 31 day series on Philippians 4:8

Speaking of good, Lauren’s 31 posts on this verse are really
good and they are all still there to read if you want to check them out. Even
though Philippians 4:8 doesn’t technically have the word good in it, it is all about setting your mind on what is good.
That is what I want to do this year. In the beginning God saw goodness and He
spoke goodness and the same is true today because as we know God is good all
the time!
 I want to see what is good. I want to see it in my life and in
others. Cheesy as it may be even the letters for God are in the word good. I talked to J about how I was feeling led with this word and it resonated with him as well. I’ll take that as a confirmation!

I am confident that 2015 is going to be a very GOOD year for us. Will you believe that with me? 
By | January 1st, 2015|My Life, Uncategorized|12 Comments

Christmas Card 2014

Every year we do a Christmas card. Even if they seem thrown together or unprofessional don’t let that fool you! I put a ton of thought and effort into every single card. I usually have the card idea planned a year in advance, and if you were to ask me there would be a story behind why I chose that particular theme for each year. Here are the ones that I have done since this blog started in 2008.

2008- Converse Sneakers
2009- Maternity Christmas Present
2010- The Regift  
2011- The Outdoor Couch (scroll down to #4)
2012- Sunglasses
2013- Jingle Bells Batman Smells 

This year I wanted to have a nice family photo because the last time we had one was 3 years ago before Ezie had arrived. I couldn’t simply have a sweet photo printed on photo cards at Costco. It was too predictable. So I decided to go old school and actually make my own photo cards rather than design a digital one. Repurposed is probably the best way to describe them. My mom had a collection of old cards that had never been signed or mailed so I just glued the pictures and scraps of Christmas papers, tape, and stickers on top.
 
Although it was a bit tedious I didn’t mind. I found the whole project to be therapeutic. The thing I hated was signing them. Some of them were even blank on the inside so that was just a huge pain.

The worst part is I HATE my hand writing. I get it from my mom. No offense mom, but one day she wrote me a note giving permission for me to ride home with a friend from school. The school denied my request because they thought it looked like I wrote the note and forged my mom’s signature. They had no reason to doubt my honesty. I was an honor student who was never ever in trouble, but even then I guess they thought there was no way an adult could have written that note. Anyway, all that to say that my handwriting is bad. Not sloppy in a cute way that would make a fun font. Just plain ugly. So, I will never do cards this way again as far as I’m concerned, but it’s over now. Here is how they turned out!

One of my favorites is this one with the Christmas trees because it was a invitation to SJ’s Christmas program at school. I just taped the pretty blue design to a card (I think it was actually a thanksgiving card) and then I glued our photo and snowflakes on top. 

This is another favorite because SJ was helping and she cut these mittens out, but they were from a gift bag and I didn’t really want her to cut up the gift bag. In the end though it looks cute and she has great precision for a 4 year old so I ended up really liking his card. 

This red card stock was the backing for some gift tags so I ended up using it too! 

This polka dot one is funny to me. It’s actually Valentine paper, but add the words Merry Christmas and a little Elf sticker and it looks pretty Christmasy. The funny part is that I didn’t realize the preexisting message on the inside of the card said “What a glorious time to renew our faith and refresh our souls in the Savior’s love.” Which is great, but it doesn’t quite fit with the happy sledding elf I put on the front. 

That’s just a fraction of the 40 cards I made, which didn’t nearly cover my list. I think I covered most of the family and as for everyone else this digital version will have to suffice. 
Merry Christmas everybody! 

By | December 25th, 2014|My Life, Uncategorized|6 Comments

SJ Latest Vocab Explosion

This was one of my most recent updates about SJ’s progress in her cochlear implant journey, which was posted August 12, 2014.

“I feel like we have been at a stand still over the summer. I always keep a log of new words and phrases that I notice SJ saying and the last time I did an entry was the two months ago. Maybe some of it’s because I have been too busy to notice, or maybe it’s because she was on vacation and out of school so she is just plateauing. Or perhaps this would be a slower time anyway. These burst of vocabulary breakthroughs do tend to happen in waves.”

I tried to stay positive, but when I know SJ has so much catching up to do it is hard to see so little progress. Fortunately we did have another wave of new words come last month. She was suddenly communicating so much I could barely keep up.

One day in September I dropped Z off at Sunday School, but since there are no classes for my youngest children I just take them to have donuts with my mom (their Me’me’). I told my mom that was one time I was a little grateful that SJ couldn’t talk too much because if she told her brother he was missing donut time he’d be upset.

 It wasn’t but a week later that we were going to do our donut tradition and SJ piped up “Donuts with Me’Me’?” I couldn’t believe my ears. She wasn’t copying something I said, she just had the language to say it herself and I was blown away. Although it was also a little comical since I had been trying to keep our donut outing a secret!

Another time shortly after that I was trying to convince her to wear a headband.

She used to wear headbands all the time to keep her Cochlear Implants on until one day she decided she didn’t like them anymore. So now we keep the CI’s on her ears with special tape. It’s technically used for wigs and toupees. Anyway, I prefer the headbands for various reasons so I thought I would see if she would switch back, but she clearly told me

“I don’t like headband. I like tape.”

This is a big breakthrough for her to be able to express her desires so clearly. It certainly alleviates a lot of frustration for both of us.

I have just a few more stories for you, and for me actually because I want to look back this time next year and remember what her sentences were like.

One night SJ brought me a package of Oreos and with a sheepish grin she lifts up a finger and says “One?” Then she says “Not two. Not five.” As she shakes her head. How can I resist? I tell her okay then she immediately asks “One for baby Ezie?” Again I was just amazed at how much she was able to communicate and it certainly is hard to turn down requests when she does!

  These last two milestones were SO exciting for me and I will never forget them. You know how you can’t really see your children grow, but sometimes you see growth? Well, maybe that doesn’t make sense, but that is what these were like.

J is in school a lot so SJ always asks “where daddy?” and I tell her “Daddy is at school” One day she didn’t even ask where daddy was because she knew the routine by now, she simply said “Daddy with teacher?” I turned around wondering if I heard her right. Did you say “Daddy with teacher?” and she said yeah. Again I was stunned, because she had put the pieces together. I never said daddy was with a teacher, but she knew what school was and that there were teachers and that daddy was probably at school.

A similar breakthrough happened when J was calling my name from the other room and I heard SJ say “Mommy?” and he said “Yes, I need mommy. Can you get her for me?” She said “Okay”(which usually sounds like oh-hey) and I heard her little feet pitter patter down the hall. I was excited to see what she would do because this wasn’t the norm at all. I knew for sure she wasn’t going to say Mommy, daddy wants you. but as she approached the doorway she declared with confidence. “Mommy, daddy talking.” I said, Okay! Thank you! and squeezed her so tight she was probably wondering what in the world the big deal was.

There have been lots of little connections happening. Phrases like “I need help pajamas” and “That mommy’s coffee” and “I will hold it”. Her teachers and therapist are much better at explaining exactly what all of the milestones are and the new goals of syntax, phenomes and receptive learning. All I know is that things are clicking in a new and exciting way. She has gone from just learning vocabulary, labeling, and reciting to actually understanding and communicating her thoughts and needs. We still have a long way to go and there are many times we just flat out can’t understand her, but I am happy with the recent progress and it just makes me more excited to see what comes next!

By | November 19th, 2014|Hearing Loss, My Life|4 Comments