Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good times...

On Friday, Christian and Hannah went to a Daddy/Daughter dance at Hannah's school. Although Hannah usually doesn't like me to play with her hair, we did her hair in a fancy updo with curls, twists, and fake flowers and I let her wear a little sparkly eyeshadow. She loved feeling fancy and pretty. When they came home, Hannah was excited to show me their dance moves--apparently Christian was the cool Dad out on the dance floor being silly, rather than a wallflower. Are we surprised?
After they left, Rachel begged me to do her hair in curls. Then we had a fun time snacking on brownies and watching old episodes of Looney Toons.And, just because its cute, here's a picture of Aaron wearing Rachel's glasses.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not bad....

I got 2 of my 3 Idol predictions right! Plus, Anoop came in 4th to Matt or Mike or whatever his name is by only 20,000 votes, so not bad!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Picks...

I confess...I watch American Idol. Last night, I had to put together my YW's project for Thursday and I did so while watching Idol. And apparently this is something I feel passionately about, because here are my favorites from last night:
Best Girl- Alexis GraceBest Guy-Danny GokeyThird Pick-Anoop DesaiOther than these 3, I mostly just felt bad for them.
Of course, I never actually vote.

So--shall we see if I'm right? What do I get if I win?

Monday, February 16, 2009

It must be magic...and the "4 Phases of Chocolate" (by Christian)

I'm loved. I've had ear problems for a couple of weeks - pressure in my left ear. At night it sometimes seems painful; during the day I can't hear much out of that ear. A special person in my life (he or she would like to remain anonymous) was thoughtful enough to purchase a bottle of Murine earigate ear cleansing system to clean my ear and help me feel better. Unfortunately, although the 100 mL bottle cost over $10, it seemed pretty weak. I checked the bottle for the ingredients and discovered that the "100% hypoallergenic and natural" solution had but one ingredient: isotonic, desalinated, 100% natural-source sea water.

Who knew - bottle it with a fancy cap, call it magic, and you to0 can sell a half a cup of water for $10.

On an unrelated note, here's a preview of "4 Phases of Chocolate" (Only available as a complete set...)

We made chocolate mousse for Valentine's Day and, as is plainly evident, Aaron was firmly among the 4 of our children who loved it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Groundhog, shmoundhog

6 more weeks of winter? With the warm weather we've had lately, its hard to believe. However, this is Michigan, so the weather could turn on us at any time....but for now, I love the sun!
Check out the kids playing outside without their coats!

And here's our pathetic little snowman (usually the snow around here is too dry to make snowmen, so this is on the second one we've made this season, and yes, he's kind of tiny).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The last big snow day

Here are some pictures of last week's romp in the snow. Probably should have posted these before all the snow melted...
I thought it was funny that Aaron didn't actually want to go in the snow--he stayed on the narrow strip of grass next to the house.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My addiction

I am absolutely addicted to all things Jane Austen. I re-read the books (at least, my favorite parts) at least once a year, and this year I've discovered that nearly all the movies are on Netflix. I think my family wishes I hadn't discovered this, because I spend far too much time watching them. Last year the BBC put out new versions of several of the stories--I like their version of Sense and Sensibility much better than the 1995 one (mostly because, as much as I like Emma Thompson, she was just too old). I've mentioned before that I loved their Northanger Abbey, as well. And I'm torn over which version of Pride and Predjudice I like more, so I usually watch bits of both.
Lately, I've also revisted my older obsession--Anne of Green Gables and every other story written by L.M. Montgomery (who wasn't actually that great of a writer, but she made great stories). I found some of the books online, and I'm trying to track down the movies of Emily of New Moon and Jane of Lantern Hill. That's just what I need--more ways to spend my time other than cleaning house!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Another Update on the Deaf Kid

Yesterday was...nuts. I'm not used to waking up at 5:30 (and as it is, I had to hit snooze before I could actually get up). We were out the door before 7:00 (1/2 hour late, of course) and on the road for another hour and a half. Rachel's doctors are in Ann Abor, at the University of Michigan. A few times a year she needs to get her implant checked--to see what she can hear, what she understands, and to adjust the implant levels if possible. Rachel always likes these appointments because she gets a lot of attention and the audiologists spend a lot of the time playing with her. Since these appointments usually last nearly two hours, its good that she enjoys them.
For anyone new to this blog, check our 2007 entries to get an idea of Rachel's history.
So here's the verdict: despite the odds, despite doctors' warnings and medical probability, Rachel can likely hear as well as any other cochlear implant kid. The problem is that since only 1/2 of her implant is activated (her cochlea is small), the sound she gets may be garbled and unclear. So we still have work to do. We are planning on increasing her speech therapy and adding another therapist in Ann Arbor (mean a super-fun drive once a month) to help her out. Rachel will always be deaf, will always need interpreters, but we think we can teach her to talk reasonably well and we think she might be able to hear/read lips well enough to help her out socially. I think that's our best case scenario.
At the risk of going too long with the entry (and no pictures! Sorry...), let me try to give you an idea of how having one deaf child affects the family.
~Music: Christian grew up in a very musical family, but its a little difficult to pass something like that on to our family when Rachel has such a difficult time participating. We are finding ways; she loves to dance and enjoys hearing music, but will probably never hear well enough for it to make a lot of sense.
~Reading: Ever try reading outloud, signing a book, and trying to show pictures at the same time? Its difficult. Usually, we either read to Rachel or read to the other kids. Its difficult to do both at the same time. And interpretting the scriptures? I'm not nearly good enough at ASL to do that. It makes scriptures study a real challenge.
~TV/Movies: Rachel enjoys watching t.v. (for a little while), but doesn't really understand much of what goes on. So--movie nights as a family don't really work. We have to be careful to not plan family activities that exclude her.
That's just a few things. We really love her. Having a deaf child is a challenge I never expected, and I constantly wonder if I'm doing everything I can for her, but anyone who knows her knows how happy she is, and can see her growing and learning. I know that Heavenly Father is watching out for her, and helping to make up for my inadequacies.
I liken having a deaf daughter to giving birth to a foreign language-speaking baby-with a language you don't know. I didn't know any ASL before having Rachel, and there are so many opinions and options for deaf children that it is difficult to decide what is best. Rather than having to learn French or Spanish, parents of deaf kids choose between ASL, signs in English word order, Cued Speech, implants or aids, speech therapy or not, lip-reading/auditory only...etc.. In our case, we've asked for some of each. Most schools won't accommodate this type of plan, but the school Rachel is in now does a lot.
Anyway, consider this my deaf-diatribe.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

One down, thirty-something to go

Hannah was so excited to loose her first tooth, all I could get was this silly picture. She promptly lost the tooth between all her stuffed animals, but the toothfairy-man visited her anyway.

The confession of an addict

I have to admit it...I'm addicted to something that takes up far too much of my time. I need a daily fix, but its never enough. I am hooked on...classic romance novels. Every year I go through my collection of Austen novels and the movies, and sometime I add Anne of Green Gables and Jane Eyre (which was my favorite in high school). And now that many of the movies can be found on YouTube, what once was educational has become a major time-waster. I can watch and rewatch my favorite scenes from Northanger Abbey, etc. anytime I want. And since these are classics, there are several movies and more movies made all the time. I'm still torn between which version of Pride and Predjudice I like better (so I'll watch them both), and I still haven't seen a movie of Persuasion that I really like, but I keep watching the parts I like in the old ones. I liked Elizabeth and the music in the old P&P better, but like Mr. Darcy and the cinematography in the new one. I also found clips online from the Wonderworks movie Jane of Lantern Hill, which I remember seeing once as a child, and I found out that there is a movie of Emily of New Moon that I'd like to see....but I can't find it on Netflix or YouTube!

Oh, yeah, and I'm addicted to chocolate, too. But I'm trying to quit.