Saturday, October 26, 2013

Isaac updates

Isaac is staying busy. He is in the 8th grade, has football practice daily until 6:00 and then games on Wednesdays. He is involved in our church youth group, and is reading books for this year's Battle of the Books.  Josh and I went to his parent conference this past week and were blown away by the feedback we recieved. His English teacher just kept bragging about how he is super smart, has great classroom participation, is respectful, a good friend, and just an all around great kid. One of the things that touched me the most was when she said that he was very humble- he is self confident but not arrogant ... she said a lot of AIG kids are smart and know it, and come off arrogant or condescending to other students. His math teacher echoed that Isaac always had the answers and she loved that he participated in class. She said that she moved him to a different location so he could encourage others to participate more in class. His grades were great and we are so proud of our big boy! I don't even have to ask (even though I do.. it's a habit I guess) if he has homework because he always takes responsibility and gets it done.

One of Isaac's teachers said, "How many kids to you have?" We said, "Three". She said, "Good, have some more". She said the world needs more kids like Isaac. I think it's a weird and sweet compliment but I've got my hands full with the three dearies that I already have. Plus, I have a feeling that my wild man Eli is going to give his teachers a run for their money. Isaac has always been the 'ideal' student and every year we hear things like "Oh, I wish I had a whole classroom of kids like Isaac." Eli is extremely smart (this is the one that could identify every letter in the alphabet before he turned two from watching a movie in the car) but he is sooo wide open! I'm hoping that he calms down a bit before kindergarten. Now, if I can keep Olivia from being too spoiled by being the baby and the only girl then I will be in good shape!

Happy Anniversary

Josh and I celebrated our Anniversary on Saturday. Though I would have rather been somewhere warm with my sand in the toes we had a great day anyway. We had originally planned on having a stay-cation at home and having a night alone without the kiddos but of course plans usually don't go as planned. Both Eli and Olivia weren't feeling great and we ended up offering our house for the Junior high boys to stay for our church's Youth Fall retreat. That was 15 Junior high boys, 2 Youth leaders, 4 members of Josh's brother's family and then of course us! So 25 people in my house from Friday to Sunday doesn't make for a quiet anniversary weekend. We were able to head up to the mountains for several hours on Saturday ALONE.. which was nice. We hiked down in Linville Gorge to a camping spot and waterfall that we've not visited in years, took a drive on the Parkway, had dinner in Blowing Rock at the Best Cellar and then shopped a bit on the Shoppes on the Parkway. During our entire 1 1/2 hour hike we saw no one, enjoyed the leaves, the beautiful weather, and each other's company. Most days it seems like every time we start a conversation someone needs our attention and it was especially nice going out to dinner without having to entertain, feed, and keep the littles still. Happy Anniversary Josh, thanks for being a great husband and father! The kiddies and I love you!
An engagement pic from several years ago!

Hiking through the Gorge. We did bring clothes to change into for dinner.

We couldn't have ask for a more beautiful day

Kiss selfie :)

Driving the parkway- the leaves were brilliant!

Such beauty

Driving across the Viaduct

Filet at the Best Cellar

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chef Eli

Here's a clip of Eli cooking for me. He makes me smile daily.


Sampson found a new water bowl... his other ones are our unfinished pool and of course his own personal bowl that he doesn't drink out of.

He's 8 months old now and a big pup

I made the Pioneer Woman's choc cookies you should definitely try this recipe.

Eli after he got into said cookies

My fall arrangement I made during Mom's night out

Taking Sampson to the vet.. he wanted to ride between the car seats

Trying on Josh's new toys from the Gun Show

We had a Fall-licious morning.. Pumpkin butter on toast and pumpkin muffins from Trader Joes's

Olivia had her first pigtails!

Pigtails! I've been waiting on this moment :)

My sweet munchkins

Monday, October 7, 2013

Love these three!

Eli and Olivia are crazy about their Pawpaw (Josh's dad). He is one of Olivia's favorite people.

Helping Mommy get ready for church

Big brother Isaac and Olivia

Olivia having her nails painted for the first time by Allie! She loved it and wanted me to paint her toenails the next morning. 

Eli helping Daddy mow the grass

He is such a ham!

Pool progress

We've been working on this pool for 2 solid months and still have so much more to do! We are going to keep the spa open year around and may heat the pool for  a little bit just so we can swim before it snows! Who knows... we may not be finished until spring! We poured concrete last week so that is one big step out of the way. Now we have back filling, tiling, plumbing, electrical work, the sealant coating, and more I'm not thinking of right now. That's not including the coping, deck, fence, and landscaping that are still left to do. This project has been way more time consuming and expensive than Josh or I either one realized.

Putting down the insulated floor before we pour concrete

The spa with the main drains plumbed in

Ready for concrete

We added the forms to the steps so they would be bull-nosed.

Pouring concrete

We had a crew here.. Josh is in red by the cement truck.

Nice and smooth

Eli and Sampson on the rock piles!

Playing on the dried concrete

We had to add a layer of plaster on top of the concrete to make it smooth since they had to dry stack the deep end to get the concrete to stick.

After our big rain storm. Hey.. at least it holds water. We still have to paint the sealant and EVM coating on top of this layer.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's October!

I put up my fall wreaths, mums and a pumpkin! I've still got to find the rest of my inside decor

Pumpkin Spiced Cake with homemade cream cheese icing

I found these pumpkin spiced pudding mixes in the grocery store and decided to try my hand at Mixing and Matching from one of my favorite blogs Mix and Match Mama!
Here is her recipe. I changed it up a bit by using spice cake but I do want to try her original recipe.
I used Spice cake, 2 pumpkin spice pudding, 1 1/4 cup water,  1/2 cup veggie oil, 4 eggs. 

Hearing testing, FM, and breakfast

Thursday we journeyed 3 hours back to Chapel Hill for new hearing testing and to pick up Olivia's FM system. She did great during testing in the booth and our audiologist was able to get a complete audiogram. Her hearing is staying stable and I am so thankful to God. I always breathe a sigh of relief when we compare the last two audiograms and they look the same!

We also got to pick up Olivia's new FM system! The downside is that it added a little bulk and weight to her hearing aids, but it's well worth it in my opinion and Olivia hasn't seemed to mind . We knew as an infant that sometime after her 1st birthday this would be an option. Because of the wonderful resources for children with hearing loss in our state we were able to get help offsetting the cost which is $5000.00!

 For those of you who don't know what a FM system is, basically it transmits sound directly from the microphone (which I wear) to the receivers (which are connected on the bottom of Olivia's hearing aids). She's already loving it and use more words. Yesterday, she was in the kitchen playing in her cup cabinet and I was in the living room.. I was able to say, "Oh, you are playing with the cups" and she heard it directly into her hearing aids, bypassing all the environmental noise.. aka.. Eli. She responded "cup" with a perfect /k/ sound!

The FM will be great to use in a noisy restaurant where typically she would have trouble hearing me even with her hearing aids in.  I'm sure we will be using it at the park as well... when she walks away from me I can call her name and she will hear it loud and clear. The car is another great place to use her FM. Car rides have been challenging because the road noise it makes it difficult for Olivia to hear me or hear her DVD. So on the way home, we turned on her FM and plugged the auxiliary cable from her DVD into the box and ta da... She loved hearing Sophia the First amplified right into her little ears. Another big perk is when she goes to pre-school or elementary school, her teacher can wear the microphone and Olivia won't miss any instruction!

Friday morning I was asked to invite family and friends and share my story at a breakfast hosted by BEGINNINGS.  BEGINNINGS is a non-profit organization provided to help parents of children with hearing impairment, by providing recourses and information. The breakfast was at 7:00 am in Asheville (which is a 45 minute drive) so it was tough finding anyone crazy enough who wanted to drive to Asheville that early. Thankfully we had some sweet friends and family that volunteered! Josh fussed at me on the way up and said for me not to volunteer for anymore 7:00 breakfasts! I had no idea what I was going to say until I got up there (like usual!) but Josh said he was proud of me so it must of gone okay.

I've also been asked to be a support parent for hearing loss, so I attended a training on Sunday afternoon. I feel that God has blessed me tremendously by giving me knowledge about hearing loss and language development and I want to be a blessing to others. Early identification, amplification and intervention is the key. The two other parents at our meeting shared their story about how their pediatrician brushed their concerns away, an audiologist didn't do correct testing, referrals were not made and how this has negatively impacted their children. Because a professional dropped the ball and parents didn't have accurate information, their children weren't amplified until age 2 and the time for critical language development was missed. I want to help other parents going through a similar situation to make sure their child doesn't fall through the cracks and can benefit from being amplified at an early age.
At the mall before our appointment

Playing in the grass

Oliva's hearing aids with the FM receivers on the bottom. You can see where they made her aids longer.