Jazzie has been talking a lot about the fact that she wishes she wasn't deaf. As she was snuggling with me in bed this morning, she mentioned it again. Here are some of the things she said:
"Being deaf is the worst thing in my life".
"Being deaf is boring".
"Being deaf is such bad luck".
And the one that got me the most:
"I wish I could die and then be born again without being deaf".
I am struggling with finding the right words to respond to these kind of statements. I want her to know that I understand how she feels and that it is okay for her to feel that way. But I also want her to know that I love her exactly the way she is and that I think we are lucky and FAR from boring ;-)
How can I as her mother help her through this? I am struggling...
Please watch it if you have not seen it. As the mother of a deaf child, this scene touched me deeply and brought me to tears. It spoke to me because I love the song. It spoke to me because I think sign language is a beautiful language. It spoke to me because in this episode you can see that people don't have to be able to hear music; music is in people's heart.
It spoke to me because of Jazzie. My beautiful Jazzie who can hear with her cochlear implants, but who cannot without them. My girl who has been signing since she was 10 months old, but who also has a voice.
I think sign language is beautiful. I think my daughter's voice is beautiful. She has been blessed with both.
The turkey is in the oven, other preparations are on the way, the girls made their turkey craft and are ready for their cousins to come and hang out with them. We will have a house full of family today and I would not have it any other way.
When she mentions that she loves to teach me handwriting, she is talking about when I help her with her homework. Each week, part of Jazzie's homework is putting her spelling words in alphabetical order. She does not enjoy doing that at all and the only way I can actually have her do it, is by doing it with her and letting her show me how to use perfect handwriting, Hey, it works ;-)
We are dog sitting this week. Cera and John are on vacation in sunny Aruba, so we have the pleasure of having Kirk around. Since he is still a pup, it is very much like having a baby around the house. We have baby gates up, we can't leave things on the floor or Kirk will get them, and he is not 100% potty trained yet (he has left several surprises for me already). He has gotten better though as the days have gone by. I must admit that it makes me appreciate our own dog Lily (who is so well behaved and who listens so very well) that much more.
The girls love having Kirk around. Lily on the other hand is not so sure. Lily is very non-aggressive and Kirk has a tendency to walk all over her. However, in the last day Lily has finally started to let her dominance known. Not in a bad way, but in a way that lets Kirk know that he is on her turf and that she is the older and more dominant dog.
Kirk is a snuggle bug and likes to hop on your lap for a nap. This is new to me since Lily is too big for my lap (although she doesn't think so). I must say that I actually enjoy having a little dog cuddled up on my lap. Lily on the other hand does not like it all, especially if Matt is holding him. She is fine however with the girls holding him:
Last night, Jazzie went on a sleep-over at her friend's Sophie's house. Sophie and Jazzie are truly best friends. They went to Ohio Valley Voices together and were paired up throughout their four years there. They are very much alike. They like the same things, they have very similar personalities and simply love each other. Here is a picture of the two of them on graduation night at OVV:
Since we live a little over an hour away from each other, Sophie and Jazzie don't see eachother that often anymore. Jazzie still talks about Sophie all the time. She talks about how much fun they used to have, how much they used to giggle and how much she misses her. I hear from Sophie's mom that Sophie feels the same way about Jazzie. We were finally able to pick a date for Jazzie to go and see Sophie. Yesterday was the big day so Jazzie and I drove about halfway to Sophie's house where Sophie and her mom met us. As soon as they saw eachother, it was as if they had not been apart at all. They started giggling and chatting away, just like they always have.
After chatting with Sophie's mom for a few minutes, I headed home and wondered how Jazzie was going to do on her very first sleep-over at a friend's house. She has been on sleep-overs at Cera's house before, but never anywhere else. Of course she did great and enjoyed every minute of her time with Sophie. Sophie's mom kept me updated during the rest of the day and night by sending me pictures on my phone. Here are few (they are taken with a camera phone, so excuse the poor quality):
It made my heart sing to see the smiles on these faces! They were just so happy to be together again.
I picked Jazzie up at 3 o'clock this afternoon. Here are the two of them right before we headed home again:
All the way home Jazzie chatted about her time with Sophie. They did crafts, watched a movie, set up a tent in Sophie's room and slept in it. Apparently Jazzie and Sophie have decided that they are going to live together when they get older ;-)
Finally, here are some notes that Jazzie brought home, written by Sophie:
Tahlia has not been feeling well for several weeks now and even missed several days of school last week. She has had a terrible cough which is keeping both her and me awake at night, she is extremely congested and her energy is low. Sometimes her cough is so bad that it causes her to vomit. We were at the pediatrician's office last week for a well visit (even though the girls weren't so well) and I was told that whatever Tahlia had was viral. However, the past few days I've been thinking that something else was going on with her. So rather than telling myself "it's just viral; we'll wait it out" like I had been doing, I decided to take her back to the doctor yesterday. And sure enough, what was a virus last week has turned into a sinus infection and double ear infection. She is on a good antibiotic now, so I am hoping she will feel a lot better this weekend.
Look at this face. So sweet and cute. But don't let the cuteness and sweetness fool you. This girl is the worst patient! When she wakes up in the middle of the night from coughing and being congested and I go into her room to help her blow her nose and give her a drink of water, I am welcomed with a great big "NO!". When she gets coughing so hard that she is about to vomit and I hand her a bowl, she gives it back to me with a determined "NO". She will not let me do much to comfort her or help her and it can be quite frustrating!
But then I look at this face and smile. She is sweet, bad patient attitude and all.
Last week Jazzie's teacher told me that they had talked about the Helen Keller story and that Jazzie was absolutely fascinated by it. So I went to the library today and got her three different books about Helen Keller. When Jazzie came home from school she saw the books on the counter. She dropped her backpack and immediately sat down to read all three books. She sat for almost an hour reading the pages and looking at all the pictures.
Being deaf herself, she obviously feels a connection to the story. It was so sweet how she would stop reading every now and then to share a fact with me. For instance, Jazzie was amazed to learn that Helen Keller learned how to swim and how to ride a bike. She asked lots of questions about how it was possible that Helen Keller learned all that she did without being able to see. I thought it was sweet that she didn't even consider the fact that Helen Keller was deaf to be something that would prevent anyone from learning or achieving anything. It was the fact that Helen Keller couldn't see that really amazed her.
I can't blame her. I find Helen Keller's story amazing myself...
These are the words spoken by Jazzie when the girls were playing in the basement yesterday. As I was making my way towards the basement steps, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. There are a lot of toys in the basement and the girls' craft area is there as well. It is their area to play, to use their imagination and to be creative. I have come down to the basement many times to find Barbie's all over the floor, to find a city made up of blocks, books, toys and everything else they could find down there, to find papers all over the floor because the girls are playing school, to find the play food strewn all over because they are playing store, to find sleeping bags and suitcases because they are pretending to camp, etc. I am a very organized and neat person and I do not handle a mess very well. That is part of the reason we finished our basement; so our girls could have a place to go where they have free range and where the mess doesn't really matter because I don't have to look it. I'd much rather they play and use their imagination than sit in front of the TV or computer or play video games all the time.
So, when I was told to come down to the basement because there was a surprise, I was expecting something along the lines of this surprise from a while back ("come look at what a great school I made"):
However, when I came downstairs I found this:
All the craft supplies were put away and I could actually see my beautiful bamboo floor because it wasn't covered by a million pieces of paper!
All the toys were put back on the shelves...
Jazzie was so proud of herself and started "flying" around the table because there was nothing on the floor:
I try not to stress about it when the basement is a bit of a mess. I try to always remember what a wonderful and creative outlet the girls have in this basement. I can close the door at the end of the day and nobody knows the mess is there. My girls aren't watching mindless TV or playing mindless computer games. I'm thankful for our basement and I am even more thankful when the girls surprise me when it's a tidy one ;-)
I am in one of those moods again where I am debating whether to keep this blog going or not. Even though I still enjoy this blog, the feelings are not as strong as they used to be. It's hard to believe that I've written about my life here for 3 1/2 years now. Blogging helped me tremendously when I was in the midst of my post adoption depression. Writing down my thoughts helped me sort through my own emotions as well as connect me to others with PAD along the way. Blogging enabled me to educate people about hearing loss and cochlear implants. Blogging inspired me to be a better photographer. Blogging has led me to some wonderful friends. Blogging has given me a wonderful overview of our life for the past 3 /12 years. All the major milestones are recorded here. All the wonderful trips we have taken are here. All the funny things the girls have said or done are written down here. All the good and happy events and moments are recorded here as well as the bad and sad ones. That's life. That's my blog.
So, while I continue figuring out what I want to do about this blog, here are some pictures that I've shared here on this day for the past 3 years.
November 17, 2008:
We had the first (very minor) snowfall of the year and Jazzie was trying to catch a snowflake on her tongue.
November 17, 2007:
We got to spend the day with some of the friends I made through this blog. Look how small Maddy and Sophie were!!!
November 17, 2006:
Jazzie and Tahlia were still so little (4 and 2), but doing what they still like to do today:
I had to chuckle when I saw this picture and noticed all the stickers on Jazzie's socks. She has always been a sticker girl. This is what I do love about blogging; writing down and going back to read the every day things that make up our life.
If it wasn't for this blog, I probably would not have taken a picture of a note that one of the girls in Jazzie's class wrote for me. I volunteer in the classroom every Thursday and when I was about to leave last week, I saw this tucked in my purse:
I love how she wrote that I "brighten her days up". :-)
And even though I hope that this blog brightens up some of your days, going back and reading it myself, brightens up mine. And that is what really matters.
Nine years ago today, our family lost Laura. I have mentioned this anniversary here on my blog for the last three years and every year I basically copy what I wrote the year before. I've tried to come up with something new to say, but there is nothing new to say. The feelings are the same and letting this day go by without mentioning it would not be right. I want to keep the memory of Laura alive for Jazzie and Tahlia. She is the sister they never knew, but I am determined to make sure they know here memory.
I will never forget how Matt fell to his knees when we heard the news and I will never forget the pain and agonizing of that day. However, I will also neverforget the outpouring of love we received from friends and family and from people that we didn't even know.
Like I have done every year on this particular day, 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.
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...
Hey Laura, where are you now? Are you far away from here? I don't think so; I think you're here, taking our tears away. When you think of Laura, laugh, don't cry; I know she'd want it that way..."
The Silent Auction at Jazzie's old school was last night and just like last year, it was a great time. I am not sure yet how much money we raised, but I hope it's a lot. Matt did a great job selling raffle tickets. When he gets into the groove, he is on fire. Like someone told me last night: "That guy can sell ice to an eskimo". I want to once again my friends who donated items to the auction (you know who you are). Ohio Valley Voices is very important to me and your support means a lot.
Last week was a rough week with both girls sick. Jazzie is pretty much back to her old self, and even though Tahlia is better than she was, she is still not back to normal. She has a terrible cough and her energy is not where it should be. I'm keeping my eye on that sassy girl...
Jazzie has been into Spirograph lately. Whenever I see her with it, it's like a flashback to my own childhood. It used to be one of my favorite toys...
My broken toe still hurts SO much. That can't be normal, right? It's been several weeks. Of course, being on my feet all day yesterday didn't help.
I am looking forward to a quiet week with not too much going on.
Alex came over today and (along with Matt) spent some time helping Jazzie perfect her poker game :-)
Here is the latest afghan I finished. This one went out to a dear friend for her special cub :-)
Last but not least, what is wrong with this picture taken this afternoon?
It's the fact that the kids are wearing short sleeves and shorts in the middle of November in Ohio!
We had another rough night last night and another sick day at home today. Tahlia seems to have a little less energy than she did yesterday. This morning she is curled up on the couch watching Disney Channel while Jazzie is still sleeping in our bed.
Yesterday Tahlia was checking herself out in the mirror by the stairs and was willing to pose for me. I love this series of pictures:
And here I thought we were doing well on the not getting sick front!
Tahlia has been coughing for a few days, but started running a fever yesterday. When I met Jazzie at her girl scout meeting yesterday after school I noticed she didn't look like herself. She looked very pale and kept putting her head down on the table. She was definitely not feeling good and after we got home, it just got worse. I kept both girls home today. Jazzie seems really miserable even though she is not running much of a fever at all. Tahlia on the other hand is running a pretty high fever, but is full of energy and has a great appetite, just like she always does. Go figure...
I knew Jazzie really wasn't feeling well when she asked me to take her upstairs to Matt's office so he could hold her:
In this picture Matt and Jazzie are re-enacting a scene from our trip to China:
Look how much she's grown!
Like I said, even though Tahlia is running a pretty good temperature, she is acting fine. Does this look like a girl with a 103 fever?
When Polar Bear was here on Saturday, I showed her Tahlia's travel video which she had never seen before. It struck me that several pictures still evoke so many emotions in me. I have shared this picture many times:
I think the emotions of that powerful moment are written all over my face. I still cannot look at it without tearing up again.
The same with this one:
The instant love Matt has for his baby girl is so obvious to me.
But then there is the picture of when Matt and I came home from China and got to see Jazzie again. My parents had flown in from Holland to stay at our house with her. When we pulled into our street, Jazzie was outside waiting for us. I think I handed Tahlia to Cera and Matt and I scooped Jazzie up into our arms.
I love this picture. We had missed our baby girl so much and she obviously missed us. Jazzie had a wonderful time with my parents and I do not regret for one second leaving Jazzie home while we traveled to China. It was the absolute right thing to do and I am so glad that Jazzie and my parents got to have two weeks of absolute quality time together. But when I look at this picture, I can see the relief on Jazzie's face that we are back and the pure joy of us being reunited.
Since Matt was out all day playing paint ball with the guys in the family, it was just the girls and I yesterday. To make a fun girl day even more fun, my good friend Polar Bear came over. We had a great time chatting and of course the day would not be complete without some shopping. Later in the day Pipo and Miss C made it over to our house and it was great to see them. Miss C has gotten so big and she was sporting the coolest shoes ;-)
We all had dinner before everyone had to go their own separate ways again. It was a wonderful day with wonderful friends. I am totally swiping this picture from Pipo's blog!
You probably know by now that I love to bake with the girls, so when I saw these cute little aprons I simply had to get them!
We did not make cupcakes but ended up with two pumpkin breads and one pumpkin pie.
After spending some quality in the kitchen with the girls last night, I felt like I had redeemed myself a bit since the night before was not a good night. It was far from the kind of bed time routine I like to have and I hated that I wasn't a better mother that night. However, last night was great and I have let go of what happened the night before. And so have the girls...
...that I was a little sad I when I realized when the girls and I were at the Children's Museum today (they were off school because of Election Day) that they were too old for certain area's. However, I SO enjoyed the fact that they were so interested in area's they've been too young for up until now. We got to explore some area's of the museum that have been unfamiliar to the girls until today.
We spent a LOT of time in the area where the kids can learn about the way the city was in the 1940's. They loved seeing all the old fashioned cars, clothes, appliances, etc. We also spent a lot of time looking at how babies grow in utero and learning about the different stages of labor (it's all very tastefully done and at a level the kids can understand). Jazzie was sweet when she said: "I don't remember coming out of my Chinese mommy's belly, but I remember you holding me for the first time".
We had a great time at the museum today and after my post from yesterday I can honestly say that besides feeling a little sadness that the girls are growing up so fast, I am excited about this new "older and more mature" stage my girls have entered.
Wow, is it really November already? October came and went before I even knew it! I love the month of October. Absolutely LOVE everything about it. The weather changes, apples and pumpkins are everywhere and Halloween is here. I have really enjoyed last month. All our Halloween parties were so much fun, but they also made me a little sentimental. I was thinking about how I will never again go to a Kindergarten Halloween party since Tahlia will be in first grade next year. How Tahlia will never be at one of Jazzie's parties again, because she will be in school full-time herself. These are moments that I'll never have again. The girls are growing up so fast and the days are going by even faster. I am finding myself wanting to hold on to these kind of moments and wanting to remember every part about them. All the while trying to remember to enjoy all the moments that are still to come. From the big ones to the small, every day ones like watching my babies eat their breakfast before school:
And watching my baby Lily look up at me with her brown puppy eyes:
"Use your precious moments to live life fully every single second of every single day." --Marcia Wieder
Our Halloween festivities started in the afternoon with a party for the kids on the street. We painted Halloween shirts in our garage:
We did a pumpkin waddle race:
Jazzie got some help from a neighbor:
We played the donut-on-string game (I am telling you; it is always a BIG hit!)
Jazzie once again did not want to play. She was afraid she wasn't able to do it with all her missing teeth ;-)
Here are the kids getting ready for the "candy rain":
Here it comes!
The party was a great success and the kids had tons of fun! We suggested that since they already got all that candy from the candy rain, that we could skip Trick-or-Treat, but they didn't go for it ;-)
All ready for Trick-or-Treat:
Yes, we had two Cinderella's this year. When Jazzie saw Tahlia's costume, she decided she wanted the exact same one. I wasn't sure how Tahlia would feel about her sister being the exact same thing for Halloween, but she was excited. She exclaimed: "We can be two Chinese Cinderella's!".... And so they were...