I didn't always know it, but I love my sweet Tahlia.
We started out walking a tough road and in the beginning of our time together, I often doubted my love for her. However, now I know without a doubt that I have nothing but love for this girl in my heart.
When she was so needy in the very beginning and I couldn't put her down for even a second, I often resented her and thought that she was being selfish (silly, I know; she was just a baby). Now I know that she is one of the most selfless people I know. For as little as she is, this girl thinks about others and other people's feelings before her own.
During those tough early times, I couldn't help but think how she was disrupting our lives. Now I know she is the first one to try and make peace whenever there is a disruption.
During the first year of us being together, I had a hard time trying to understand who this girl was. Now I know she is smart, loving, giving, sweet and full of imagination.
When I first saw her referral picture, I had a lot of negative emotions. There was no love there right away. It is painful to admit that I thought she was ugly. It is hard typing that word. I have erased it and re-typed it several times. But it is how I felt. Now I know that she is nothing but beautiful with the sweetest smile, most amazing eyes and the softest cheeks :-)
I didn't know it then, but this girl is one of my most wonderful blessings...
Here is a picture of Jazzie before heading out to the dental surgeon. He ended up pulling 6 teeth (four in the front and two that were up in the gums, impeding her permanent teeth). As usual Jazzie was a trooper. It was a little tough after we first came home, because the drugs were starting to wear off and Jazzie was a bit shocked that her teeth were gone. However, now she is doing just fine and I think she'll go back to school tomorrow (just in time to pick up Coconut - the class hamster that will be visiting us over Thanksgiving).
I hope the tooth fairy has enough money on her rounds tonight ;-)
Here is my poor girl after (as you can see she hasn't lost her humor after all this):
I didn't think about it before, but I sure wish I had taken the girls' Christmas picture before this. Oh well... For some reason I have the song "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" in my head.
Saturday Jazzie and I spent about an hour and half making turkeys to decorate our house for Thanksgiving. Tahlia was done helping after about five minutes. Her attention span is not that long ;-)
However, Jazzie and I had a great time:
We now have turkeys adorning door knobs, windows and bannisters :-)
This morning, Jazzie is having some dental surgery. She has an extra set of 4 baby teeth on the top, which are all going to need to come out. I have never heard of anyone having extra teeth, but apparently it is not uncommon in the Asian community. Now that Jazzie is starting to loose her teeth, her other teeth are coming in way far behind her other teeth. It looks really weird. So we are having this taken care of today. Send some good vibes her way please. After everything she has had to go through with her ears and her eyes, we now have to deal with her teeth :-(
A while back I took Jazzie for a mother-daughter day and one of the things we did was to get our nails done at a nail salon called DK Nails. Jazzie loved it and has been talking about it ever since. Tahlia in turn has been wanting to go ever since I took Jazzie. However, since I am trying to save money, I was in no hurry to take the girls for professional manicures and pedicures any time soon. So, I decided to create a DK Nails right here at home:
We had everything we needed. Lots of colors to chose from (for a person who does not wear nail polish, I sure do have a lot of it):
A bowl of nice warm, soapy water to soak our hands and feet:
And some glasses of "champagne":
When everything was ready, I called the girls over. They were very excited to check out our own DK Nails ;-)
First, a toast:
Then we soak:
Then we pick colors:
Jazzie chose not one, but five colors:
Not to be outdone, Tahlia chose seven ;-)
And now we are ready to start painting:
It's hard to paint little toes, but in the end their toes turned out gorgeous :-) Here are Jazzie's nails (she decided to be creative and use multiple colors on one nail):
This was taken yesterday before school when the girls were eating their breakfast (pumpkin bread of course!).
Now, as to the answer to what I use the men's grooming tape for. Some of you guessed correctly in that I use it to keep Jazzie's processors in place. I just cut a really thin strip and put it on the processors. This works much better for Jazzie than ear molds. She used to walk around with her magnet stuck to her head, but her processor dangling all over the place. This stretches the wire and can cause it to break (talking from experience here). And at $300 a pop, it is painful to replace. Therefor toupee tape became my best friend :-)
I called a friend this morning and when I asked her how she was doing, she broke down in tears. It turned out that she is having a bit of a rough time with everything. She is the busy mom of three kids, one of them being only 4 months old. The baby is not sleeping and therefor she is not sleeping. My heart went out to her, because I remember being so sleep deprived and being so desperate to try to find a way to have Tahlia (and me) sleep. Hearing her sobs brought me right back to my own PAD desperation. I told her I would come and get her two other kids so that she could have a little break.
Before going over I bought some flowers to cheer her up and wrapped up a piece of pumpkin bread that Tahlia and I baked yesterday. When I walked into her house, I saw the laundry piled up in the laundry room, toys everywhere, dishes piled in the sink and my friend's eyes red and swollen from crying. I felt so bad for her, because I've been there. All I knew to do was give my friend a big hug and tell her what an incredible mom I think she is.
So, if you know a mom who is feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, do something to help her out or cheer her up. Being a mom is not always easy. As a matter of fact, it can often be extremely difficult. As someone who has been so desperate to the point that I was afraid for myself and my child, I know that a helping hand or a kind gesture will be so appreciated. Us moms need to stick together, support each other and help each other out. I only hope that I was able to make life a little easier for my friend today, if only for a little while.
Every day I have one of these for breakfast or for a snack (or both):
Seriously, have you tried these lovely things? They are the best! It's like eating a candy bar :-)
I love using this stuff. I don't just use it on wood, but every since I read on the can that you can use it on granite and stainless steel as well, I've been using it to clean my counters and appliances in the kitchen. It works better than anything else I've tried.
Just be careful not to get any of the spray on the floor since it will be very slippery; I just about broke my leg the other day. It would have made for a great funniest home video.
I made this collage for a friend of mine and I am very pleased with how it turned out:
And here is something I could not live without; I use it every single day:
When a friend of mine saw this sitting on my counter the other day she asked: "Why in the world do you have toupee tape?!?!" Well, there is a perfectly good reason for it. Care to guess??
Can I just say how terribly frustrating I find it to spend the entire day doing this for and with the girls, then spend a good while putting them to bed, only to be called back up again for stupid stuff? Seriously, that annoys me to no end.
This Saturday was the annual silent auction at Jazzie's old school. I was on the committee once again this year and the event was a success. It felt so good to be able to do something for Jazzie's school again. Just because she doesn't attend there anymore, doesn't mean that I do not want to be involved anymore. Matt and I picked up 500 buffalo wings before the event started and my van still smells like hot sauce today!
We had the first snow of the season (not much at all, but still).
I miss my mom. When I talked to her this morning she mentioned how she went shopping by herself this past Saturday and I had an overwhelming desire to be there and go shopping with her.
A local radio station started playing Christmas music ALL weekend. It is too early as far as I'm concerned, although I must admit that I loved hearing the songs (except for that darn "Christmas Shoes" song).
After talking about missing her old teacher, I made arrangements for Jazzie to go and visit her today. Jazzie was so excited to see her and it was cute to hear her talk to her teacher about her new school and all the new things she is learning.
Jazzie and her "best, favorite and prettiest teacher ever":
Eight years ago today, our family lost Laura. I will never forget how Matt fell to his knees when we heard the news (it's interesting how that image is still so fresh in my mind) and I will never forget the pain and agonizing of that day. However, I will also never forget the outpouring of love we received from friends and family and from people that we didn't even know. In some ways it seems like it happened just yesterday; in other ways it seems like so long ago.
Like I have done every year on this particular day on my blog, I would like to rememberLaura's beautifulsmile, how much she loved to dance, how she loved to help in the kitchen, how she loved any kind of fruit, how her favorite color was purple, how much she loved her friends, how much she loved her family and how much we love her.
It is hard to imagine that Laura would have been 19 years old today. I wonder what she would have been doing now; what she would have been like. One thing I do know is that she would have been a great big sister. Tahlia and Jazzie understand they have a sister who lives in heaven and they ask about her often. I know Laura would have loved Jazzie and Tahlia and they would have adored her.
Laura Renee - forever in our hearts...
"A friend of a friend, a friend 'till the end; that's the kind of girl she was. Taken away so young; taken away, without warning... When you think of Laura, laugh, don't cry; I know she'd want it that way..."
So I had every intention on doing a post on what a typical day looks like for us; with pictures and all. By the time I thought about it in the morning, it was already time to go to school and I hadn't taken any pictures of the happenings here at the house before then. We usually run around trying to get out the door by 7:55, so there is very little time for taking pictures. However, here is what I did get:
Lately, Jazzie and Matt play a game of Skip Bo before school:
7:55 AM - the girls are getting in the car to go and take Jazzie to school:
By the time we get to school it is almost 8 AM (yes, we live very close to the school):
And we line up:
After walking Jazzie into the class room and talking to her teacher for a minute or two, we get back home around 8:30.
When we come back I usually start or fold laundry, empty the dishwasher, make phone calls or answer e-mails, clean, etc. while Tahlia plays in her playroom. At some point in the morning, she is allowed to watch about 45 minutes of tv. She has figured out that she likes to wear head phones while watching tv, so that I am not interrupting her with whatever I'm doing ;-)
You might ask what my girl likes to watch?
Well, Dora of course!
The rest of the day is filled with running erands and playing with Tahlia. I was trying to get some pictures of the two of us reading books on the couch, but it's hard to hold a heavy camera and take your own picture! It wasn't until after I downloaded the pictures that I thought about the fact that I could have used my tripod. Oh well, next time - I still think the pictures turned out fun :-)
First of all, I need to thank K1 from over at 2kayaks for giving me the "I love your blog" award. Thanks again K1, I hope you know how much I "heart" your blog as well. I am supposed to nominate 7 other blogs, but I am going to cop out and just say that if I am a regular commenter on your blog, I love your blog and you can consider yourself nominated.
However, I am going to give one special nomination to Anja. I am not sure how I found her blog, but I am glad that I did. Her blog is written in Dutch, but I love reading it because it brings back memories of the Dutch way of life. She also writes beautifully, honestly and eloquently about her life and the wait for their daughter from China. Add to that that she is starting to become a mean photographer and her blog keeps bringing me back for more ;-) Anja, I love your blog - I think it is "geweldig"!
I am also terribly behind on following up on some tags I received from my friends Tammie and Gretchen. I will try to get to them, but don't hate me if I don't ;-)
Lastly, what are you all getting your kids for Christmas?? I am at a total loss this year. I would love some ideas, my only rule is that it has to be "unplugged". I am not buying anything that needs to be plugged into a computer or a tv.
Just the other day I was asked once again if the girls are "real sisters". Usually I say yes, but then add that they are not biologically related. However, this time I just said YES and left it at that.
Last night after dinner, the girls went downstairs in the basement to play school. Matt and I could hear them talking to each other and giggling together. I am SO happy to have these two girls and I am so happy that they have each other. I honestly could not imagine one without the other.
Do they fight? Sure. Do they love each other? Absolutely. Are they real sisters? You better believe it.
I was going through some old pictures the other day and I came across the following picture, taken 3 years ago when Jazzie was only 3. She was sleeping (or so I thought), but when I went upstairs to check on her, she had walked into our bathroom and entertained herself with this:
I have no idea how long she had been in our bathroom, but I thought it was too funny.
So as I was driving home the other day, the song "It won't be like this for long" by Darius Rucker came on the radio. My first reaction was: "OMG, how sappy" and I was about to switch to a different radio station. But then the words started to ring true with me and I kept listening. Before I knew it I had tears streaming down my face. I had tears because I had just been thinking how sick I was of doing the same thing every day. Sick of reading the same books to Tahlia over and over and over. Sick of cleaning up toys. Sick of hearing "MOM!!" a millions times a day. Sick of answering Tahlia's never ending questions. Sick of dealing with Jazzie's outbursts. But then I heard that song. Jazzie and Tahlia are growing up so quickly. Too quickly. Being home with the girls may not always be easy, but I am SO glad that I am here with them to experience it all, because like the song says: It won't be like this for long, one day Jazzie and Tahlia will be all grown up and gone...
OK, so I am the one being sappy now, but this song really spoke to me :-)
I took Jazzie to school this morning and quickly after walking into the classroom, I could tell that her FM system wasn't working. The teacher and I tried for about 10 minutes to get it to work, but we did not have any luck. Jazzie's teacher told me she was going to call the person responsible for the FM system. I left feeling so bad for Jazzie knowing that we are once again having problems. We did come up with a special signal by the way for Jazzie to alert her teacher that the FM is not on. As every time before, the school district resolved the problem quickly because around 10:30 I got a phone call to let me know that the FM was working again. I felt better again.
Every Thursday I have lunch with Jazzie at school and things have always been fine. However, today as I was getting ready to leave, Jazzie had a major meltdown in the hallway because she did not want me to leave. She has never done this before. I can't help but wonder how much of all the trouble with the FM system and her having to get used to her second cochlear implant have to do with it. I keep expecting her to deal with it all, forgetting that she is barely six years old. I left the school in tears because I am not sure how to help my girl. I wish I could take all her fear and frustrations away. I would give anything for it to be me, just so she can be like any other kid at school. I wish she could have a conversation in the lunchroom with one of her friends, but the truth is that she cannot hear anything in there; it is just so loud. I wish she could just walk into the classroom without being asked all the time whether or not "'she is on". I wish she didn't have to be pulled aside only for someone to mess with her ears for 20 minutes. I wish she would be more vocal so that we can know what is going on, but the truth is she has a hard time expressing her emotions and does not like the attention (she gets that from her mom, I suppose). I wish she could have her quiet moments and not constantly be bothered by beeps in her head.
Truthfully, Jazzie is doing very well and she is dealing with all of this like a champ, but there are days when I feel so bad for her and when I wish she didn't have to deal with all this...
The kids did not have school today since the school is one of our local voting places. My friend Katie and I had the day all planned out. Anticipating long lines at the polls, we agreed that Matt and I would go vote in the morning while she watched Tahlia and Jazzie. Then she would go and vote while I watched her three kids. I was prepared for hours of waiting, but Matt and I walked in, voted and got back out within 10 minutes!
But look what I got to hold and cuddle with while Katie was out voting:
This is Mr. Casey and he is the sweetest little mister man!
I hope everyone was able to vote as quickly as we did. I hope everyone voted, period.
This picture of Jazzie sums up how she has been acting since her surgery. She has been very quiet, pensive and extremely emotional.
I blogged about it a while ago. It sure hasn't been an easy few weeks with Jazzie. I hated having to deal with her outbursts (and I didn't always do it in the most positive and loving way), I felt bad for Tahlia for having to witness them and I felt bad for Jazzie as well, because deep down I knew why she was acting the way she was. This girl has been through a lot.
However, I think we have turned a corner. Slowly but surely, the true Jazzie is coming back. Her outbursts are getting fewer and her smiles are more often again. Her need for being quiet and alone has also decreased dramatically. I knew it was only a matter of time before the old Jazzie would be back.
We knew Jazzie was doing well in school. Any concerns we had went out the window when Jazzie brought home an amazing report card on Friday:
VG=Very Good and O=Outstanding
To say that I am proud is an understatement.
I volunteer in Jazzie's class on Monday afternoons and it is great to see Jazzie in action. However, every time that I have been in the classroom, there has been a problem with Jazzie's FM system. The FM system is an assistive listening device that Jazzie's teacher wears to amplify her voice which then transmits directly into Jazzie's ear. This really helps Jazzie hear better, especially in noisy environments. I noticed today that Jazzie was doing fine when the class was quiet, but when the kids started moving around the class, Jazzie seemed lost as to what to do; she had not heard the teacher. So, I walked up to Jazzie and asked if her FM system was working. She looked at me and matter of factly responded: "No, it's not". This is the one thing that concerns me about Jazzie in the classroom. For some reason, she is afraid to say something to her teacher. I have talked to Jazzie about this many times, but she still does not speak up when there is a problem with the FM system. The teacher has been able to fix the problem every time, but I have to wonder how often Jazzie is missing information because she is not hearing it. I am going to talk to her teacher about it again and see if we can't come up with a strategy that will help Jazzie be more vocal about her implant and FM system. I know she doesn't like the attention that it brings, but she needs to be her own advocate. I can't always be there to notice that there is a problem.
Jazzie's incision has finally healed enough for her to wear both her processors. She is now wearing them without too many complaints, but she still hates it when I put the new processor on by itself. She complains that it beeps and that it hurts. I would love to ask my readers who have cochlear implants to explain to me what it sounds like to her. Maybe it will help me understand her better and enable me to help her more.
I don't like the fact that I have to force Jazzie to keep her processor on, even when she cries and tells me that it hurts. The thing is that the beeps go away after only a few minutes and then Jazzie is fine. She just needs to push through that initial discomfort. My girl will get there; I know she will.
For now I will leave you with a picture of a smiling Jazzie. Her class learned about voting today and had their own mini election, hence her "I voted" sticker.
Don't forget to go out and vote yourself tomorrow:-)
Halloween was fun, with perfect weather! I have more pictures of Tahlia in her costume, because she got to go to school in her costume. Jazzie changed right before Trick-or-Treat and didn't have time to pose for pictures ;-) I convinced Tahlia to go Trick-or-Treating with me and even though she was nervous at first, she really got into it later and exclaimed many times: "I like Trick-or-Treating now mom!" She was so cute when she got to each house, because she examined each bowl of candy very carefully before choosing a piece ;-) Some pictures:
And here is a picture of Matt's pumpkin all lit up, as requested by Stacy. Matt carved this from a pattern by the way; not free hand. Still, I think it turned out awesome.
And now I am off to get ready for our neighbor's annual (adult only) Halloween bash!