Friday, July 9, 2010

LIttle bit of everything rolled into one post!

I had to open the post with this pic.  This is the result of one exhausted mommy after spending 6 hours at the University hospitals in appointments.  I was brain dead and gave Landri a marker and paper in her carseat....a couple minutes later I take a peek back and she had ripped out the felt part out of the marker and was applying it like is the result after I took the felt piece away for fear she would choke.
It has been forever since my last post!  I'll try to get semi caught up!  I can't belive we are already halfway into the summer!  I am loving the summer with the girls!  Halle has been busy with softball and cheer.....and had her 6th dance recital!  I need to get pics of recital up.  She did so great!  Dance comes easy for her so I rarely see her get nervous, but she was so cute and nervous this year!  She did Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap, Poms, and Father Daughter.....she did the worm in her Hip Hop dance.  Majorly cute if I do say myself.  However....this was the first year that Halle did all of her own outfit changes during recital and totally did it the whole day on her own.  I can't believe how fast she is growing up...sniff. We also went to the Justin Bieber concert....totally fun!  Halle rocked out and waited in line before and after the concer to try to get a glimpse of him.  Sooooo fun! She was totally in her element. She came home and made a list of the next 5 concerts that she wants to go to. 
Landri has been doing so good with speech!  She says quite a few words now.  I had this vision that I would be so good at documenting each word she says and when like some of my blog idols, but so far I have flunked at that.  She says mama, Halle, woof woof, cold, hi, bye, up, more, pop, bottle, baby, ball...there are quite a few more!  Her favorite word by far is Halle.....her BFF.  She understands more than I even know I'm sure of it!  OH!...and she "sings" Ring Around the Rosey.  Sooo cute! I keep meaning to get it on video.  She loves music!  She is such a little entertainer and so much fun!  I love getting to learn more about her and watch her personality grow.  I can't believe how far we have come......I finally feel like I'm getting to a point where I can "chill" a bit and take a deep deep breath and remember to enjoy every moment of her growing up without being obsessed with dr appts and major decisions.  However, as all my other CI mommy idols know you are ALWAYS working to help your child be the best little listener they can just starts to get a bit more "natural"....a way of life.  We did have a bump in the road with Landri's last mapping session. Landri started looking like she was in frozen in place with her eyes shut...when we put her right CI on even on volume 1 and sensitivity 0.  It freaked me out!  I now realize why we had some of the bumps in the CI journey early on that we practice my advocacy skills. I felt like I wasn't being taken very seriously with my concerns by our center at first, but finally feel like we were heard and they got her back in for another mapping session and now things seem to be back on track. yeah!  We also got another audiogram on Landri and she tested between 20-25 dbs which I think is fab.  She did so good in the booth this time!  We also got our rechargeable batteries from Cochlear!  They are awesome!  We have already tried them out at the indoor waterpark and they worked great!  I feel so lucky that Landri can hear while she plays in water!  We clipped the battery packs to the top of her shoulders since Landri uses the Lite Wear option.  She ran thru lots of spraying water and also waded in water right up to her shoulders and got them soaking wet actually.  They still work as good as new!  I can't really think of a water activity that she couldn't do with her CIs on at this age since she never puts her whole head under.  She splashes and dips her face in the water and gets her head soaked, but that all seems to be fine!  Woooo hoooo!  Here are some pics of the girls....enjoying the blessings of sisterhood.  Love my girls. :-)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Landri's Right Ear Activation and Summer Fun!

Landri's Cochlear Implant in her right ear was activated last week and she now has bilateral hearing!  It was a long day of appointments (scheduled for 6 hours) but we made it thru it!  Landri had little reaction to the sound in her right ear.  Just like the left side they start out with a very soft program to let her brain adjust to the new sound gradually.  Also just like we did with her left side the sound that Landri received will be random noise at first until her  brain starts to interpret what it is hearing so gradually turning up the program will allow the right ear time to catch up without completely distorting the sound she is hearing from the left side.  Clear as mud? :-)  When Landri first got her equipment for the right side she was pulling it off every second.....I was so freaking that we were going to have to go thru the same process we did on the left side of putting the processor back on every second that she took it off. BUT...thankfully that only lasted about 3 hours and she now loves her new processor and is leaving it on alllll the time!  I am thrilled!  Her Audiologist sent us home with 8 programs to work thru (each one gradually louder) and we are on the 4th one.  We go back in 2 weeks to get another set of 8 to work thru.  We also have really gotten into a fabulous groove with her speech services.  Landri's TOD has really helped advocate for Landri and always comes with fun new games.  And we found a fabulous AVT about an hour and a half away that is the best fit for our family ever! Couldn't be more thrilled with the team (family) that we are building around Landri.  Of course, I always leave every speech session feeling like we are not doing enough. Since we chose an AVT communication method for Landri the whole program is parent focused......teaching and educating us to carry out the methods and lessons daily in our home.  Having weekly speech visits is similar to having a personal trainer to workout.....they keep you focused and honest. :-)  Landri is understanding many more words...she has learned "hands", is localizing sound much better, and has added the word "up" to her vocabulary.  Her babbling has increased so much.....she talks to herself, reads herself stories....and my all time fave.....tells the dogs "mo, mo, mo"! :-)  Lovin it!  She also understands some simple commands like.....take the ball to Mommy.....where are your shoes?.....etc.  It is IFSP goal time for Landri. We will have those set next week when we meet with her team to hammer them out. I will post them once we have them finalized and then track her progress towards the goals on the blog.

And.....a little update on what else we have been up to!  We put a pool in the backyard so now our yard is trampoline and pool.  Already we have gotten so much use out of it.  Halle has a "No more school.....see ya at Halle's pool" party planned for the last day of school.......which gets me a bit teary eyed....4th grade already????? No way!  We also went to South Dakota over Memorial weekend to celebrate Greg's parent's 40th wedding anniversary and had a great time!  Here's pics of the kids enjoying the 6 hour car ride! 

Halle has been busy with softball (first game tonight!), dance (recital in 2 weeks), and cheer (3 days a week).  She is ready for summer to start, but already starting to miss her 3rd grade teacher.  We love her.  Greg also stained our deck!  Here's a pic of Landri eating chips and dip while watching Daddy work hard thru the window. 

What a good assistant she is!  And.....some more pictures....enjoy!


Friday, May 14, 2010

The power of CI teens making a difference!!!

Be prepared to be amazed, humbled, and entertained.  Sometimes I get so focused on ALL we have to learn daily about audiograms, MAPings, speech, listening, auditory verbal therapy, ling sounds, trouble shooting CIs etc that it can be easy to forget that how Landri hears is a "lifetime commitment".  I get so focused on helping her meet our daily and monthly goals that it can be easy to think...once she is listening and speaking then...that's it!  I sort of forget that Landri will have a lifetime to educate people on how she is different/special :-) and that someday she will advocate for herself on issues that are important to her......likely hearing related and not!  Thank goodness for fabulous role models like the teens in this video.  Seriously!  It is amazing that just years ago CIs were thought to just help people hear a car coming to know to get out of the street or to hear a smoke alarm.  Now kids are singing, enjoying music, and changing perceptions.  Please take 5 minutes to watch the amazing work of these kids and spread the word!  Landri's future is bright!

Here's the video link!!
Amazing video of CI teens making a difference

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A hearing pocket!?

Landri's right ear will be "activated" one week from today!  This is where the audiologists program and hook up the external pieces that Landri will wear on her right ear.....same set up as on the left.   I am so excited to see if Landri has a reaction.  She didn't do much when she heard sound in her left ear for the first time, but now that sound has meaning to her I am anxious to see how she receives her new surround sound.  I am for sure that Landri is wondering what her right ear is for.  She has decided to use it as a pocket. :-)  Ya know how most kids Landri's age put everything in their mouths......Landri tries to put everything in her right ear.....never her left.  When she walks around outside she is always trying to put rocks in her right ear....she sat on the deck for about 20 minutes today trying out different rocks that Halle had found in her ear.  We have had to pull the car over because she got a cheerio wedged in there and thankfully we were able to get it out.  She tries to put straws in her ears, wood chips, food.......all her most favorite treasures.  I think she wonders what that thing is for.  I can't wait for her to realize that we will now use that ear to hear!  A hearing pocket......what a good use! 

Friday, May 7, 2010

We've been busy!!!

I've been wanting to get a post up getting caught up on all of Halle's activities!  She has been busy with school, soccer, softball, dance, and cheer!  She joined a singing group at her school and they had a performace a few months ago.  I was thrilled to get her in a little dress so here are some of my fave pics from the night!  I was super proud of her because their practices were before school and she never complained once about getting up early.  She has a FAB music teacher that does a great job with the kids! 

She is just starting softball so I will get more pics up of that once the season gets going.  She has dress rehearsal for dance this week!  Halle is in 5 dances at recital so it is a miracle if we make it to recital in June with all outfits intact!  She loves dance this year....loves it!  She moved up a couple of levels this year and is challenged more. She loves it!  She is one of the youngest ones in her classes....if not the youngest...but I think that has been good for her.  She does all of her classes on Tuesday nights and we get a 45 minute break in the middle where we get dinner with other moms and dots. I look forward to Tuesdays and spending time with her. She is growing up before my eyes.  She recently had cheer tryouts and placements. 

 Halle was thrilled to find out she moved up into the Junior division. She is so excited!  She gets to travel to more competitions this year......I nearly went into cardiac arrest reading the financial requirements, but we will get thru it!  I am really proud of her. She works really hard going to extra tumbling classes and open gyms to work on her skills.  She really loves it and I love to see her hard work pay off.  Cheer is a hardcore sport these days!  Those girls have to work so hard and be so athletic. We also took a trip to Mall of America and American Girl Doll Store. We had such a great time! 

It was so nice to get away. We met Greg's fam there and his Aunt and Uncle and cousin.  It was so nice!  We also had several people come up to us sharing their Cochlear Implant stories/connections....or asking us about what Landri's CI was. It was the first time since she has had her CI that we have traveled to a larger city and I couldn't believe how many great families we met thru starting conversations about Landris' CI.  I can't believe Halle is almost done with 3rd grade.....seriously?  It has been such a great year for her I wish I could freeze time.  She is growing too fast.  :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Children with Cochlear Implants Achieve Similar Educational and Employment Levels as Their Peers!

PS - until I can figure out how to flip my pics again....please tilt your head. ;-)  love this sister pic

Of course, I never doubt for a second that Landri won't be able to achieve any goal that she sets for herself...but it is always comforting to read studies like this to confirm it.  Also, reassuring to see that the communication method that we have chosen for her got rocking results.  A little sense of comfort on this faith filled journey!  follow the link!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Landri - 4 months of hearing!

Landri has been chatting up a storm!  I feel like we are finally starting to get in a groove with speech as we finally have a fab team in place!  Landri has 3 speech sessions a week between what she is offered thru the state and private speech services that we obtained via teletherapy (webcam sessions) and driving to the Quad Cities.  She says "hi" all the time now with purpose...very clearly!  She says "mom"'s is rarely a "mama' just a clear, short "mom".  She has a lot of intonation in her voice which makes me happy!!  She makes several sounds for animals and vehicles. Receptively she is understanding more each day!  We are pumping language into her as much as we can and have committed to doing more singing and music play. is so wonderful to have her progressing, but seriously it is HARD work!  It is a HUGE commitment and overwhelming at times.  Of course, you never feel like you are doing enough therapy hours or tracking her progress well enough.  Every CI parent reading....take a second and give yourself a bit pat on the back!  I read on another blog recently that during the next 4 or 5 critical language years you have to let go of the fact that your house may be messier, you may not be at every social gathering with friends, your family may gain a few pounds from eating out so much.....but your deaf child will listen and speak!!!  We have started to condition Landri for her next soundbooth test. She holds a ring up to her ear and then when she hears the sound we have her put it on the peg.  It is seriously super cute to watch her hold that little ring next to her ear smiling and waiting for sound.  We also play music and dance then turn it off and "Listen...I don't hear anything...where did the sound go?".  :-)  Of course it is to Justin Bieber because Halle has Bieber Fever (tears in her eyes when we finally got thru to Ticketmaster for concert tix),  but that just makes our therapy unique to our fam. :-)  Landri hears just about everything I am sure of it! We met with her surgeon last week about completing her right ear....long story...stay tuned. Tentative surgery date to complete that ear is April 23rd. What a journey!  Here are some long over due pics!  As those of you that know me you won't be surprised...I was having a problem getting my pics to rotate so I was limited to those already right side up!  :-)  Will figure it out and get more pictures posted soon!