Friday, July 18, 2008

Welcome Home Annie

Ok, so this post is a little past due. Jeremy fell in love with this stray dog at the humane society. I was not quite ready for the responsibility of a new dog, but with all three of my "kids" dropping hints about this dog for almost a week, I lost the battle. Jeremy wanted me to do a post on her, but I was still not ready for that. However, I am officially in love this little rascal, so I am ready to quit pouting and show you our new dog. She is a "Petite Basset Griffon Vandeen." She is seriously the sweetest dog ever. She follows us everywhere, if any of the kids start to cry, she finds them immediately and puts her head in their laps. You can't really tell from the picture what she really looks like. I will describe her to you, if you have ever seen the movie, "The Never Ending Story," she looks exactly like Falcor the flying, dog, dragon, thing. Her body is really long and kind of funny looking. So I want to say Thank you to my husband for knowing what I needed in my life before I even knew I needed her. She is a great new addition to our family. Hopefully we will be saying those words in a different way in the next year or so!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Skyler's 8!

So Skyler turned 8 last month and was baptised. He is such a good boy, I am so proud of the young man he is turning out to be. He has such a strong testimony and a desire to serve his Heavenly Father. I am so lucky that he is my boy, he has grown up way to fast. I want him to know how much I love him, I know I complain sometimes at night when he wants me to tell him just one more story or snuggle just a little longer, but I know the days of him wanting me to lay in his bed and snuggle will be gone before I know it. I am sad that my scanner is not hooked up otherwise I could put a picture of him from each year of his life in this post, he was seriously the cutest baby ever. I love you Skyler, CTR!

Years AT Desert Voices

More Pictures From Our Years at Desert Voices

Our Final Days At Desert Voices :(

So I have been wanting to do this post for over a week, but couldn't bring myself to do it. I guess it just makes it all so final. I am so happy to be moving on with our lives, but these last several years have been such an incredible adventure and journey. My little deaf daughter was taught how to speak and listen (although she chooses not to listen to me half of the time :) I thought I would recap our journey a bit. Kenzie was born and failed her newborn hearing test, but I was assured that it was perfectly normal for that to happen with coming through the birth canal and all that. So she was retested 12 days later and they said she was absolutely fine. So I never thought about her hearing again. Kenz was delayed in all areas, she couldn't sit up by herself, crawl, or walk. I was very concerned and each time I went to the pediatrician he would say, she is fine, don't compare her to your son. If I wasn't holding her, I was on the ground with her helping manipulate her arms and legs trying to teach her to crawl. She was a very visually expressive child and watched me all the time, I never in a million years dreamed she was deaf. As the months went by, I was more and more uneasy about how behind she seemed to be. I finally found out she was deaf when she was 16 months old after banging pots and pans above her head with no response, that was so hard, but relieving at the same time. At this point I was worried she might have autism or something because she didn't seem to understand what I was saying and she was so loud and shrieky all the time. I struggled for a long time and still to this day struggle with the guilt and disbelief that my child was deaf and I had had no idea. I mean, this was a child who was attached to my hip 24/7, she was still nursing and so dependant on me. I had sung to her hours and each day and told her a billion times how much I loved her and she had never heard any of it. I was devastated. We got her hearing aids right away and she could hear quite a bit with them, but it was like she was a newborn baby with sound, she had to learn what sound was and identify sounds different objects and people made, I could never have done it alone. I spent many nights on my knees praying for help on how to teach her. One evening after I had just prayed, I got on the computer and searched "deaf child" and I found these free videos called "Dreams Made Real", and "Dreams SPoken Here," I ordered them and got them two days later. I cried the whole time I watched as I saw these deaf children talking. I didn't really know that was possible, at least not to that extent. I saw that Phoenix had an oral deaf education school and I jumped right on that. I started making the 6 hour round trip drive once a week for her hour of speech therapy. Carla Zimmerman was her speech therapist and she worked with Kenz and myself. She taught me how to talk and interact with MaKenzie and I started doing what she did during our sessions at home with Kenz during the week. Carla was such an amazing SLP, if you could see her work, you would be in awe. Kenz took off, her word list grew and grew and I knew we would need to move so she could get the maximum benefit from Desert Voices. Jeremy quit his job, we sold our house, and took a leap of faith and moved up to the Phoenix area, Buckeye to be exact, I still had to drive a total 94 miles a day to get her to and from school, but it was so worth it. With her hearing loss being the severe-profound range, she couldn't hear high frequency sounds, so she recieved a cochlear implant on St. Patricks day in 2005, she had just turned 2. It was amazing how her implant helped her move along so much faster and her speech became so much more intelligable. Unfortunantely her implant failed right before she turned five and they opened her back up and put a brand new implant in. It was devastating, but she caught back up fairly fast. Anyways, when she turned three and started going to school all day everyday, I was offered a teaching position in the Birth-to-Three program. It was such a blessing, I learned so much from being a teacher there. It was such an amazing job. I can honestly say I LOVED my job, every second of it, even on days when we were potty training 5 kids and days when toddlers got the flu and puked all over me, it was just the most amazing thing to be a part of, helping a child learn to speak when most of the world says it isn't possible. Anyways, Kenzie's teachers while at Desert voices were:
Birth-to-Three= Miss Tracie and Miss Dana
Speech Therapists=Carla, Tracie, Maggie, Eleni
Preschool year 1=Carrie
Preschool year 2=Cammie
Preschool year 3=Emily
Discovery Room Teachers= Miss Beth, Miss Lisa, and Miss Michelle
These ladies have no idea how wonderful they are and how indebted I will always be to them for helping Makenzie learn how to talk. Most of you know she graduated from Desert Voices and just finished summer school. Leaving there that final day was so bitter sweet for both of us. She was so sad to leave her best friend Tyler. They have been together in school since they were 18 months old. She always tells me that when she grows up she wants to marry Tyler. OK well now that I have gotten all emotional again, I will close this long post. I put some pictures from our time at D.V. From when she first began with speech therapy as a baby to her last day of school. THANK YOU DESERT VOICES!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ok, so on Friday we had our nine year Pink Ladies Reunion. For those of you who don't know, I went to Eastern AZ College for a couple years while Jeremy was on his mission. Seven of us girls rented a house that just so happened to be pink. Everyone at school began just calling our house the Pink Ladies house and it stuck, then our great roomate Miken and her mom made us all jackets that we wore to the games, talent shows, and various places. It sounds goofy now, but it was so much fun being a Pink Lady in college. We had so many fun times. You have to be creative when you go to a school where more than 95% of the kids don't drink, smoke, party, or do any of those things that all the other college kids do. Anyways back to the reunion, We all met at Shabu Fondeu in Chandler and had an awsome 4 hours of visiting. It was my first fondeu experience and I loved the atmosphere and company. I wasn't that impressed with the food, but the company was amazing. I almost didn't go since I had been up all night the night before getting ready for our move to Yuma. Then I had gone to work at 6am that morning and worked and then came home and scrubbed floors and helped load up the Uhaul a little. My awsome hubby Jeremy had both kids all day and loaded the truck by himself other than a little help he had in the morning and in the late evening. I wanted to stay and help cause I was so tired and felt so guilty, but he made me go and wanted me to relax and have a fun time, so I did and am so happy about it. It was so nice catching up with my girls, they are such a strength to me in my life. I was sad that Sara and Leia were not able to come, but we had such a great time reminising and hearing where life has taken everyone. You girls are the best, I love you all!!!!!!! (Thanks Kristal for the pictures you took). Oh and some of you may wonder why there is one of me with a nasty face, that was the face I made when they brought out the meat because it was raw and I didn't realize we had to cook it at the table. Ok well I can't wait for our next reunion girls!