Thursday, December 21, 2006

Roasting marshmallows...creatively!

I had forgotten that I took this picture two weekends ago -- we had our first fire of the season and David begged to roast marshmallows. We had to get a little creative, but we found a meat fork and mini marshmallows -- and we had a blast! David had his CT scan (CI prep) this morning and was a champ -- did great and with no sedation. We are looking forward to our Christmas houseful arriving tomorrow (my parents, Matthew, Caleb, and their dog and two cats!). David told everyone he saw today, "Only ONE MORE big sleep!"

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas weather?!

We are having an unusually warm bout of weather down here -- I think this is the first time in my life that I have had my Christmas decorations up and my windows open for the fresh air at the same time! My outdoor thermometer currently reads 80 degrees...

We have a surgery date

David's tonsillectomy will be Thursday, Dec. 28th. I finally have some strength back today and have managed to reclaim the main living areas of the house -- phew. It is much better for me mentally when I'm not surrounded by clutter! David was a pretty good helper -- he even vacuumed for me -- I appreciated the effort very much, even if Bruce will need to re-vacuum tonight after David is asleep! Bruce will scold me for doing too much in one day...but I will spend the rest of the day on the couch, so maybe that will help! :-) Now if I can just convince Abigail that she needs a nap so that I can get one...

Monday, December 18, 2006

The fun just keeps coming...!

We had David’s CI consult and both kids’ hearing checks today. Good news -- neither kid had a major loss over the last 1 ½ weeks. David had a small amount of loss in his left (“good”) ear that will require a HA adjustment, but nothing across the board. He even had one ten decibel improvement in his “bad” ear (these ‘improvements’ never last long, but it’s much better than a loss!). As soon as David has his CT scan on Thursday, we are ready to start insurance approval – the very last step of preparation for his CI. Otherwise, we are ready to go. The tentative date is late Jan.-early Feb., as we expected. Interesting news -- David’s tonsils have continued to worsen, and on the surgeon’s scale of 1-4 (good-terrible), David’s are at a 4. The complication comes because people with a CI can not have electro-cauterization (which is the standard for an adenoidectomy/tonsillectomy, greatly reducing the danger of bleeding), because that procedure would “fry” the implant. All that to say that they need to take David’s tonsils out BEFORE the CI…and he needs one month of recovery between the two. The doctor doesn’t want anything to delay the CI surgery, so…next week David will be getting a tonsillectomy! Can you even believe it?! Have we ever mentioned that it’s never boring around the McKee household?! Please be praying that David will stay healthy between now and then so that his surgery is not delayed…

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's never boring around here...

I just lost the whole post that I was getting ready to publish, and I am tired and ready to lie back down, so this will now be a very short and to-the-point post. I went to the ER yesterday morning at 4 with a severe gall bladder attack. They admitted me and I just got home midday today. They are talking surgery to remove the gall bladder at some point, but not right now. I am home, still in pain and queasy, but at manageable levels now, and utterly exhausted. I am planning on a couple of days of taking it easy...and hopefully no more attacks for a long time! Much thanks to everyone for giving and offering would have been a real mess without you! No pictures to post with would not enjoy them, even if I had them. :-)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas picture 2006 out-takes!

David 'shooting' me b/c he wanted to be done!

Aren't you done YET?!

Christmas cuties

...The best presents we've ever gotten!
Out-takes from this photo shoot in our photo gallery!

Friday, December 08, 2006

A tradition passes on to the next generation

A picture of Bruce and David watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" -- this is the first time we've let David stay up to watch it. We remember getting to stay up for it as kids and it's amazing that we're doing the same with our son now!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Recap of this week's appointments

We are finally at the end of a grueling week of appointments...we are all wiped out but glad to have tomorrow to (Lord willing!) stay home, relax a bit, and (for me) catch up on this week's housework! Forgive the less-than-pretty style of the updates (below), but I am too tired for anything else...! David -- *Speech evaluation (CI prep) went very well, tested out at an age-appropriate level, albeit on the low end of normal. HUGE improvement since his first eval early this year. *Hearing check - had some more loss, not a huge one, but did have an across-the-board drop in his left (better) ear, which we were hoping to not see until his CI is in (the right ear) and he is rehabbed. It is a small loss relatively speaking, so we are hoping that it was just one of those things and not another 'beginning-of-the-end' thing! Great news - his FM system came in and we got it up and running today. He is really excited about it and he hasn't even yet had the chance to see what it will really do for him! Abigail -- *PT (last session of the year) -- her PT was blown away by her improvement since last month. One of the last goals they had for her was to start introducing her to jumping, but Abigail has already learned how and was even jumping independently on the trampoline at PT. Her PT told me that they hope for 6 months of progress in one year's time for their CP patients, but that Abigail has had one year's progress in only six months! Great news. Official PT eval will be in late January. *Hearing check - more loss. After the HA adjustment today, I am already seeing improvement in her hearing and speaking ability. Our next hearing check, as well as David's first official hearing eval for the CI, will be a week from today (the 14th). Thanks for your continued prayers for us!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sibling fun

This is blackmail material, Caleb...and I have more...! :-) ILY!

Uncle visits

This is one of my favorites...
...though this one ranks right up there, too...
...oh, forget it. I just love pictures of my little brothers with my kids!

Happy birthday, Uncle Caleb! ...a day late

Happy birthday wishes to my youngest brother, Caleb, who turned twenty yesterday. All four of us get to be in the same decade for exactly five months...before big sister gets to sound 'old' again. :-) Anyway, I meant to get this up yesterday but just didn't get to it. Happy birthday, Caleb! Thanks for being a great brother and such a fun uncle to my kids! ...for some more "Uncle Caleb" pictures, check out our photo gallery site (link is in the left-hand column).

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Superdog and his body guards

Just thought you would all like to see Superdog and the two "bad guy soldiers who are nice" (David's description). Everybody is really happy to have Bruce home (from his two-day conference in D.C.) and we're enjoying a relaxing Saturday morning.
(Just for the record, the boxes are from all of my Christmas stuff that I am putting out -- please excuse them!)

Friday, December 01, 2006

A few moments of reflection...

"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?" Psalm 8:3,4
I just wanted to share this moment with you all, though the pictures don't ever do nature justice and it is hard to convey all of the thought and emotion with words, but I will try anyway!
The weather is incredible this morning...when I went outside with the dog, it was one of those moments that instantly made me think of the verses above. It is 65 and balmy, but a major cold front is rolling in, and the clouds are just flying across the sky -- big, huge clouds -- and the breeze is getting chillier and stronger by the minute. The sound of the trees moving in the wind is so loud that it drowns everything else out -- I literally could hardly hear myself calling the dog. The sky is a beautiful pearly gray with the tiniest hint of blue, and the sun is rising and just starting to touch the tips of the upper level of clouds with a golden rosey-lavender.
On a morning when I was already racing far into the day mentally, my Creator displayed His immeasurable power and recalled me to the here and now. It was a wonderful moment of humbling myself before Him and I am grateful for the focus-shift before I start the day...and then I had the joy of taking David outside and seeing his awe and wonder, and being able to talk with him about how strong our God is to be able to blow those huge clouds across the sky so quickly.
What more can I say? I am so grateful that God reveals His power to us in this tangible way. How incredible that God thinks of us and cares for us.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Congratulations to the new retirees!

Congratulations, Dad!
Today my dad is officially retired from National Grid (formerly Niagara Mohawk)! Congratulations to Mom, too, because all of us wives understand that it is an accomplishment for us, too, to survive the years of running the ship at home while our husbands work elsewhere!

My parents are preparing to move to their home in Florida -- a dream they have had for as long as I can remember. On to sunshine, palm trees, pools, and the only snow you experience being on Christmas cards and the Weather Channel!

We love you guys very much and are grateful that the Lord has brought you to this exciting time in your lives. Congratulations!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My finished painting project

I just realized that I never reported "mission accomplished" on my painting job. I finished it the weekend before last (before Thanksgiving...before the Christmas tree went up!). We are SO pleased with the color -- it is very soothing and restful. As I always say when I finally paint another room, "Why did I wait so long?!"

Please overlook the eclectic mix of decorations...I am in the middle of putting away my fall stuff and getting out the Christmas stuff!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hearing checks and new headbands...

The kids had their hearing checks yesterday and both had some more loss...well, it was nice to have last week off, anyway. :-) We've made our first appointment to start the intensive hearing/speech evaluations necessary in preparation for the's nice to feel like we are making progress on the "ready to implant" checklist. Today's picture is of Abigail with her first 'real' headband...isn't she pretty? (We even found some that are elasticized fabric, so they don't get in the way of her hearing aids like the hard ones do!) Her hair is getting so long and it's nice to find new ways to arrange it. I was messing around with it this weekend, thinking ahead to her Uncle Jared and Aunt Krystle's wedding in May (she is the flower girl), and it's so much fun to be able to think about up-dos and curls and all of those girlie things!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Planting a fence?

Bruce spent most of yesterday and today laying the wire for an invisible fence (all the way around the property!). David has been "helping" him most of the time. Today, apparently reflecting on the vegetable garden which he helped to plant the seeds for, he asked his daddy, "Will it grow up in a lot of years?" He has been hoping for a "big" fence and thought this was the way to do it! How cute is that?! PS -- It was 80 degrees at one point today...I was shedding layers faster than I could get the lights strung and I ended up with bare feet, sleeves pushed up, jeans cuffed into felt funny to be hanging Christmas lights in 'summer'...!

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like...Christmas?! sure doesn't feel like put-up-the-Christmas-tree weather today, but since we've been telling David for weeks that we would put it up the day after Thanksgiving, there was no delaying it! So we trooped off to get our tree and our annual Vanilla Cremes at Starbucks, happily singing Christmas music all the way...while running the A/C! This part of southern living still feels strange to me...but it is nice to hang outside lights without getting my fingers numb. :-)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving pictures

David watching Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving and part of the parade...Bruce and David carving the turkey...sitting down to our Thanksgiving feast...David enjoying a huge drumstick!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all -- we have so much to be thankful for and it's nice to have a day set aside to focus on giving thanks. In 1863, President Lincoln noted that "we are ever prone to forget the source of such bounty," so on this special day, let's remember today as "...a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father." (also Lincoln, 1863) Throughout the day, I will try to post pictures of our two most precious blessings -- so check back later! Love to all...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Moose sighting in Canton, GA

...the moose antlers were for the dog, but Abigail has claimed them...need I say more?!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Playing in the fall leaves

Fun moments in the midst of the busyness!

We had a nice weekend in spite of 'stuff' to do -- we even found some time for the kids to play with Daddy in the leaf pile (which is now a guy-sized leaf pile, by the way -- no more small but respectable Mommy-sized raked pile -- now it is a massive pile made by Daddy and the blower!). Abigail has learned how to open doors by herself now and today she figured out how to climb into the toy closet and hide so that we can play peek-a-boo (over and over and over...!). I got another reminder today of how miraculous it is to be able to hear -- we were getting groceries and David just was NOT hearing most of what I was saying to him, and I could tell it was 'couldn't' (as opposed to 'wouldn't'!). I began to get that familiar tightness in my gut that accompanies the dawning suspicion of another loss, compounded because Miss RaDora is on vacation this week (if you read this, RaDora, have a great week and give your mom a hug from us!). Anyway, suddenly I thought to check his battery and it was dead! Usually he hears the low-battery beep and tells me, so we avert disaster, but he didn't notice it this time. So out came a spare battery from my purse (we don't go anywhere without them!) and when I put it back in and asked him if that was better, he got the same slow-spreading, beaming smile that he did the first time we turned on his HAs. There we were in the middle of the jam-packed grocery store, but for a moment or two, the world shrank to just the two of us and that special connection...not to mention that he listened to me much better for the rest of the shopping trip! ...if you're interested, there are more leaf pile pictures on our photo gallery site (see the link on the sidebar at the left side of the page).

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday update

Ahh, the end to another week and a Saturday to enjoy spending time with Bruce. As for the painting project, it's coming along nicely. The first wall is done and that furniture is back where it belongs. It looks great, even if I do say so myself! The color is perfect. The second coat of edging is done all the way around, and now I am ready for Bruce to pull the desk etc out from the wall so that I can tackle the rest. While we were riding in the car today (I thought we finally had an at-home day, but David lost a piece to his HAs and we couldn't find it anywhere, and the HA won't work without it, so we went down to pick one up...and of course, then he found the original one this afternoon!!! ...but the new one fits tighter, so it's okay...sigh...!), David was apparently examining his body in the bright sunlight coming in the window, because he excitedly yelled, "Mommy! There's hair growing on my legs! ...And on my hands!" We recently had a discussion about Daddy's hairy legs and hands and how David will look like that when he's a man...apparently he is anxiously awaiting the day! (...Just for the record, Daddy and Mommy hope the time goes by slowly!) Today David said "sleep" with all of the correct sounds -- that's a big one to conquer (say it slowly and notice how much you have to use your tongue and lip muscles, in several different positions) and it was very exciting to hear it. Consider that he pronounced it "beep" several months ago and you see how far we've come. He has all of the consonant+'l' blends down (pl, bl, cl, etc) almost 100%, without cues from us. Gaining the s, sh, ch, and l sounds have made it SO much easier for other people to understand him. His 'th' is spotty (he substitutes 's' for 'th' now) but it's coming along well and I don't think it will be long before that's on the 'conquered' list, too. I literally can't help but smile when I listen to him talking. It's just incredible to see how much he has progressed! Abigail is sick with another cold/sore throat bug -- she has a nasty cough this time and I am hoping that it doesn't interfere with everyone's sleep tonight! She sure is cute, though, even with a runny nose and drool on her chin. :-) Oh, she said her first 'independent' plural today, adding the "s" on the end of the word all by herself. Her language has skyrocketed in the last week. Daddy is no longer "Daddn" (she pronounced all of her "ee" sounds as "nn" before she got her HAs, and "Daddn" has stuck while the rest of them got corrected). It was very exciting...and very sad, all at the same time! She sounds so grown up when she says "Daddy" now! Well, I should wrap it up before I make this post WAY too long...hope you all have a good weekend and enjoy time with your families.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


The kids had their hearing check today and we got GREAT news -- David has had no further loss in the last week, and Abigail has regained most of what she had lost at last week's check!!! (Yes, that can be typical with LVAS -- sometimes kids just lose it, like David has, and sometimes kids lose and gain back.) Praise the Lord! Just wanted to share the good news!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Living room project Day Two

Progress is being made -- finished the second coat of edging all the way around, and got the first coat rolled on the first wall. The color isn't quite true in the picture but it gives you an idea. It looks great so far! Below is David's progress (he actually did a pretty good job!) and Abigail playing in the midst of the mess (everything is displaced in the living room, and the kids think it's great fun)...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The project has begun!

I have long wanted to paint our living room (it is currently the flat ivory paint put on by the builders -- yuck! -- see the 'before' picture to the left), but I've just never gotten around to it. Well, there's no turning back now -- I've started cutting in all the way around, so I have to finish it! I am a terrible procrastinator, so I work much better under a deadline -- and I need to have this done before we put our Christmas tree up...which is the day after Thanksgiving. Actually, I plan to have it done much sooner than that, because I can't stand the mess that the living room is right now! Here is my plug for Sherwin Williams paint -- this is the first time that I've used it and I am very impressed. It goes on beautifully and with hardly any mess (which is saying a lot with me painting!). The only problem is that they did not include a warning on the label saying that if, while painting, you stand on the entertainment center and then lose your balance and fall off backwards, it could really hurt. Guess how I figured that out!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006


Just thought I would share this lovely little gem from our garden. The picture just doesn't do justice to the deep, brilliant orange color. (For you gardening aficionados out there, it's not stunted -- this variety is meant to be this long at maturity!) I pulled it tonight after I covered the broccoli and Brussels sprouts (the growing fruit yellows if it gets direct exposure to heavy frost), then I brought it in to share with the kids (and Baker, who always begs for a piece). I find it rather amusing that Deb Griffin (a friend in the far north of Wisconsin) posted tonight about their first big snow...while my post is about fresh vegetables from the garden!!! Don't get me wrong, the snow is absolutely beautiful...but the longer I live down here, the more I find I can fully enjoy the snow via pictures! (...and this from a girl who always said she would NEVER live down south because she would miss the snow too much!). :-)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bits and pieces

Nothing terribly exciting to report from the last couple of days, but just some bits and pieces...Wednesday we spent a large portion of the day down at the hospital. We got Abigail's AFO (leg brace) adjusted so that it fits better -- it's amazing how much her legs have grown since she started walking! -- and we got the kids' HAs adjusted, as well. It's a bit sad to hear how loud the feedback is in Abigail's HAs now...(the feedback volume gets louder as the power gets higher -- David's volume literally hurts my ears now and Abigail's has gone from very soft to quite audible now) but we are so glad that they have good HAs that make life so much easier for them! Abigail takes a couple of days to adjust when she has a big HA tweak like this one -- she is more easily overstimulated and requires a little extra sleep because it really tires her out to process all of the 'extra' noise, but it's great to see her so responsive and able to hear the fine distinctions between letters. I hadn't realized how delayed her responses were until I see her quick responses now. I think we have been so focused on David's loss lately that we didn't expect Abigail to have any issues right now! Both kids have their next check on Thursday the 16th. On a good note, the kids have both made big leaps in speech lately. David has the 's' sound down with essentially no prompting anymore, and his 'l' sound has started spontaneous appearances, as well! Yesterday I overheard him correcting himself when he had said an 'l' word with a 'w' sound instead of the 'l' sound. This is pretty exciting because it is 'normal' for this sound not to appear correctly until this age or a little older, so we are actually on par for this one -- hurray! Abigail has started adding her ending 's' sounds whenever we prompt her, and has actually started to add some on her own, too -- she says 'horsssse' and 'housssse' all on her own and it is a beautiful sound! She flashes a huge, beaming grin every time she nails a new 's' word -- she knows she's done something great! Also, her left hand has continued to make great progress. The last few days, she has been using her left hand to do things even when her right hand is free. Yesterday she reached up to try to turn a doorknob with her left hand, and last night she was strumming a guitar (that was laid down flat on the floor in front of her) with both of her hands, with both hands open flat, without tucking her left thumb under, and both hands were moving at the same speed and rhythm. This may not sound very amazing, but when we have seen her struggle and work and see where she came from to where she is now, it is amazing beyond words! It is amazing to watch any child learn, but it is especially incredible when your child conquers something that is particularly difficult for them, when the challenges seem so insurmountable. We are grateful for the Lord's work in their young lives and can't even begin to imagine what wonderful way He is going to use these challenges they face to bring growth to them and to us, and to bring glory to Himself. Our prayer is that they will, at a young age, submit to His plan for their lives and that they always accept the challenges they face with the confidence that they are part of that perfect plan. Thanks for letting me share my excitement over these accomplishments!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Today's hearing update

Another impromptu visit to the audiologist -- and another loss for both kids. David's we suspected, which was why we went, but the amount of Abigail's loss left us a little shell-shocked. It was a pretty major amount of loss in both ears. The 'joy' of this disorder...there is no rhyme or reason to the loss -- and hence, no ability to predict when, how much, etc. As did David at this age, Abigail compensates very well and it is harder to tell when her loss has progressed. Our illustrious Miss RaDora squeezed us into her already-crammed schedule for the hearing check and will see the kids again tomorrow to adjust their HAs (today we saw her in the alternate office, which does not have all of the specialized equipment like the main office does). What would we do without her?! After this last Thursday's hearing check and blog post, Bruce and I were discussing the difficult journey of a CI that is ahead and how grateful we are that our kids have an audiologist they adore, and one who truly cares about them...then we started to reflect on the amazing way that the Lord started directing our steps toward having our kids in RaDora's care, long before we knew or suspected that the kids had any hearing issues. Maybe someday I will put it all down in a post to share with you all -- it really is incredible! It is also comforting, as we continue this unpredictable roller coaster of hearing loss, to know that our heavenly Father is in control and will care for us each step of the way, even though we can't see the way ahead. Well anyway, enough profound thoughts for today. I should get busy catching up on the stuff that I wasn't here to get done this morning and won't be here to do tomorrow morning, either!
Since I have no pictures to correspond with today's adventures, I thought I would include one of my favorite pictures this year, of Abigail ready for her very first Sunday school class. It was taken in early June.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fall fun

...and another reason to live down South --

a garden in November!

(carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, salad greens, sugar snap peas, and catnip!)