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!)

Autumn days

We love autumn! We have been waiting for enough leaves to fall to make a good leaf pile, and today was the day. We had so much fun playing outside!

We played in the leaf pile and then went "exploring" in the wooded area out back. David wanted to find snakes but I suggested that we leave the snakes alone and play in our own space!

Even Baker got caught up in the excitement and ran around like a maniac!

For more photos, click on the following link:

Fun with vegetables

Yesterday I stayed home from church with Abigail (she is still getting over a cold), so I had time to make a big dinner, which we all enjoyed very much! Abigail ate corn on the cob for the very first time (we have always had to cut it off of the cob for her before) and she looked like a pro. It's also great therapy for her because she has to use two hands to eat it this way! Just for the record, this was corn from our garden. It was ready to harvest while I was in NY in July, so Bruce picked it, blanched it, and froze it...isn't he amazing?! It's wonderful to pull a bag out of the freezer and have tasty corn...the frozen stuff from the grocery store just doesn't cut it for me anymore! Also included is a picture of David, who insisted that we take one of him, too. He loves "combine corn" (that's what he calls it) and checks all of our cobs when we're done to see if there's any left for him to scavenge! How it is that we have two kids who love vegetables, I don't know...Bruce and I were both terrible eaters when we were kids, particularly about vegetables. We've gotten off easy with our two!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

David's first real violin

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, David has long been fascinated with violins. We have been planning to get one for him soon, but in light of his recent rapid hearing loss, we decided that sooner was better than later! So when Bruce got home last night, we opened the package... soon as David saw the case, he knew what was inside...

...and after being VERY patient waiting for Daddy and Mommy to figure out how to get the thing working, he got to play it, and the smiles were absolutely precious!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Another hearing check...

...another visit to Miss RaDora! That is the good part about visiting the audiologist...David has loved her right from our first visit, so it's always a treat for him to go see her! David had another check yesterday and had another loss in both ears. It's only been a week since our last check, so this is three weeks in a row that he has had measurable loss in only a week's time. We have an appointment scheduled for two weeks from yesterday and are hoping we can make it until then without an 'emergency' appointment...that would be nice! We were not able to get his FM system yesterday as it is on backorder from the company, so we are anxiously awaiting its arrival. To the right is a picture of Abigail "playing the violin". David has loved violins from early on and has been using two hangers to "play the violin" since he was little. His sister has now learned the skill, as well, and is very serious about it. If David interrupts her by touching her "violin" or singing loudly to mess up the song she is "playing", she has a conniption! He, of course, loves the reaction he gets...and you can picture the scene that follows!