After the Aquarium the girls and I had lunch outside on the patio of one of the restaurants by the aquarium. It was such a gorgeous day, so we decided to cross the Purple People Bridge into Cincinnati.
At the end of the bridge is a great park. We strolled alongside the Ohio river to a wonderful playground where we played for several hours.
Then it was time to make our way back over the bridge:
We ended our outing with some ice cream, which we ate overlooking the river and the city.
It really was an amazing day with my girls and I was glad I was able to end the week on a good note. I felt much better...
So here is me as I appear sitting behind my laptop at this very moment:
Still figuring out what to do with this blog. One thing I do know is that I want to continue blogging. I just am not sure yet which direction to go into next. I feel that lately my blog has become one of those that I despise: one where everything and everyone is always happy, one where there are pictures upon pictures of kids looking cute and adorable, but one where this not much substance. That is what I feel my blog has turned into. So, here is a little dose of reality for you. A little bit of how I really feel...
I am ready for the kids to go back to school. They are bored, they are constantly fighting and pushing each other's buttons. I am annoyed and irritated and it is making me crazy.
I am a person who has always needed time alone. Right now I get ZERO. Even when the kids are not in the house, Matt is upstairs working. For the most part it is great having him home all the time, but I am never truly alone and it is eating away at me. Getting out of the house to go shopping or have coffee helps to an extent, but even then I am not alone. There are still people around me and I am craving solitude. I don't think anyone really understands; not even my husband.
I am not feeling great about myself. After going on vacation I totally got off track when it comes to healthy eating and exercising and I am not better for it. I feel disgusted with myself. When the girls go back to school I am hauling my butt back to a Weight Watchers meeting and I will have to find a way to deal with the disappointment that I know is coming when I see that damn number on the scale.
We usually have at least one or two of the neighborhood kids at our house during the day. Don't get me wrong, for the most part I do not mind it. I would much rather be the house where kids know they are welcome and where they can play to their heart's content, than be the boring house where nothing is ever allowed. I would also much rather know where my kids are and what they are doing, instead of having them roam around the neighborhood. However, at times I feel a bit envious of the parents/caregiver's who's kids are here at my house, who are enjoying HOURS of time to themselves, while I am here being surrounded by noise and mess, breaking up arguments, settling disagreements, answering 101 questions and handing out drinks and food.
Tahlia just came in to ask for something yet again and I yelled at her. I yelled at my sweet little girl who is just having fun in the water table with her friends and I yelled. Now I am filled with guilt. The times that I am feeling bad about my mothering skills outweigh the times that I feel good about them. Excuse me while I go and hug my girl and apologize to her...
Just checking in to say hi and that I am still thinking about what to do with the blog. One thing I have decided is that I missed blogging (and it was only a week!). So, I will definitely be back; I am just not sure if it will be here or if I will start another blog. I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, here are a couple of picture of the girls.
Tahlia got her hair cut into a short and sassy do:
And I took this picture of Jazzie as she was playing outside as the sun was setting a few days ago. The light on her face was so gorgeous....
We still have two more weeks of summer break left. I WILL be back ;-)
I will be on hiatus for the next few weeks. I am still struggling with what to to with this blog. I have been blogging for the last four years and I think it may have run it's course. I am not even sure if anyone is reading it anymore!
Anyway, the girls have three more weeks of vacation left. I am going to try and make the most of it and focus my time on them and not on the computer. I will still check in with all of my favorite blogs, I just may not comment as much.
So, while I decide what to do here (close up shop, take it into a completely different direction or keep it the same), I hope you will enjoy the rest of what is left of summer!
I love this shot of Cera and Tahlia smiling at S.:
Matt and Lily, who is a COMPLETE daddy's girl:
Auntie Tahlia looking down on baby J.:
She got a bit alarmed when J. started to cry :-)
As Cera was nursing J, Jazzie had a lot of questions. My Jazzie is a very deep thinker and she is always full of questions. Cera has always been so good with the girls in answering all their questions honestly and this time was no different. I am so grateful that the girls have an older sister to look up to and learn from.
I have noticed before that when I (or Matt for that matter) hold a baby, Tahlia seems to get a bit withdrawn and uncertain. It's almost like she doubts my love for her when she sees me holding and cuddling someone other than her. The same thing has been happening now that Cera has had her baby. Tahlia wanted to be held like a baby, too :-)
28 - the number of days left before the girls go back to school. Because of construction on the high school, our entire district got out early and goes back late. Of course we will pay for this next year when we'll get out late and go back early.
42 - the number of days until the new season of Glee starts. I miss that show. I am a Gleek.
42 - also the number until fall starts. My absolute favorite season!!!!
4 - the number of boys in the latest generation in our family:
4 - the number of cups of coffee consumed by me so far today.
97 - the temperature for the day. Ugh - is it fall yet?
25 - the number of people here at our house on Sunday to celebrate the girls' and my mother-in-law's birthdays. I love this picture of Cera, Tahlia and my mother-in-law smiling at my nephew Skyler.
73 (best guess) - number of times I have heard the word "MOM!" today.
5 - The number of neighborhood girls playing at our house on an almost daily basis:
60 - the number of minutes the girls kept busy with these lacing kits they had forgotten about:
2 - number of hours the girls and I spent at Ikea today.
11 - the amount of dollars I spent there. I know - it's shocking that I didn't spend more, but I only needed a table top for the girls' desk and lunch for the kids is free on Tuesdays. Who knew???
800 - the number of days since I last saw my parents. I miss them.
0 - amount of motivation I currently have to exercise. This MUST change.
3 - daily average amount of times Jazzie and I play Monopoly Deal. You might think the same thing I thought when I saw this game for the first time (how good can Monopoly really be as a card game?), but trust me - it's good!
6 - number of times I have procrastinated emptying out the girls' closets this week.
45 - number of minutes before Tahlia comes back from the pool with the neighbors, so maybe I'll start on those closets. Then again, maybe not.
Every now and then the girls will do something that absolutely melts my heart. The other morning after I got up, I went to check on them and realized that Tahlia had crawled into bed with Jazzie. I am not sure how long they had been laying there together, but my heart doubled when I saw them like this:
Over the years of having this blog, I have gotten a lot of e-mails from people who have been inspired by Jazzie and her cochlear implants. I know that my blog will often come up when people are researching hearing impairment and cochlear implants. I also know that not everyone agrees with our decision to give Jazzie bi-lateral cochlear implants. I am not going to get into a debate on whether or not cochlear implants are right or not. I think you all know how our family feels about this.
As you know, Jazzie went to Ohio Valley Voices, which is an oral deaf school. What that means is that the students (who are ALL hearing impaired) are taught to speak and to listen. There is absolutely NO sign language. There is an argument that if you teach children with a cochlear implant to sign, that they won't speak (or maybe not as well or as quickly). Sign language is a lot easier than speaking, so some experts say that using sign language will hinder a child's progress in acquiring speech. We were encouraged not to sign with Jazzie when she first started on her cochlear implant journey. And for as much as I love Ohio Valley Voices and other oral deaf schools like it, I disagree with that philosophy. We have been signing with Jazzie since the day we first met her in China and we still do. Upon learning that Jazzie was deaf, I immediately signed up for American Sign Language classes at our local university. Before Jazzie was two years old, she had a sign vocabulary of about 400 words. And even though we don't sign as much as we used to, we still do. It is unrealistic to expect me to never sign with my daughter who is still a deaf child. I mean, there are times when we simply have to, because there is no other way of communication. When her processors are off when she is swimming, in the bath tub, in the shower or at bed time, she cannot hear anything so we use ASL.
I think that any professional/expert who listens to Jazzie's speech and takes a look at her overall progress with her CI's can see that us using ASL from the time that she was a baby has not hindered her in the least. I guess I wanted to publicly say on this blog what I don't think I have ever said before. We went against what professionals told us to do at the time.
If you are reading this blog because you are trying to get information on cochlear implants and an oral deaf education for your child, I am here to say that you can still use American Sign Language AND be a successful speaker and listener. My Jazzie certainly is. Here is a clip of her reading Green Eggs And Ham by Dr. Suess. Her reading level is way beyond this, but I wanted to showcase her speech as best as possible. Towards the end she uses some funny intonations and facial expressions. She makes me laugh, that girl :-)
Jazzie has decided she wants to grow out her bangs. So, about a week ago she started clipping her bangs to the side. I think it really changes her look and I had to get used to it at first. Jazzie has had bangs ever since we've had her, so this is totally different. I must say that the new look is growing on me. Unfortunately, headbands don't work for Jazzie because of the cochlear implant coils on her head, so we will see how diligent she'll remain about using hair clips.
As Tahlia and the other kids were playing on the slip 'n slide yesterday, Jazzie was just standing there; just watching them. I asked her why she wouldn't go ahead and put her bathing suit on so that she could play as well. I knew she was apprehensive because of the fact that she would have to take her cochlear implant processors off, but I wanted to see what Jazzie would say. She stood there for a moment, started to cry and said that she wouldn't be able to hear what the kids were talking about. "I just hate being deaf!" she shouted and ran inside. It hurts me me to see my girl like this; it really does :-(
I did some quick thinking and decided to stick her processor in a ziplock bag and stick it to her head with a bandage. Her processors are somewhat water resistant, but it still makes me nervous to get them wet so we do not take any chances. I just wanted my girl to not feel like an outsider.
Look at that smile! She was so happy about it :-)
We did have to switch to a bigger bandage, but otherwise our problem was solved and I loved seeing the happy smile on Jazzie's face :-)
The girls and I started our weekend by driving up to Robin's house to see some old friends and meet some new ones. I was able to see Maryellen again along with Polar Bear and her baby boy!!! I was so glad to finally meet the little guy. If that was not exciting enough, I FINALLY got to meet Tracy and Eme, Colleen and Hannah, Pug Mama and Low Low and Alison and Mali. I was so glad that I got to meet these ladies. We all had a great time!
On Saturday we attended the annual alumni picnic at Jazzie's old school. It was nice to see some old friends and meet some of the current students and their families.
On Sunday we got busy canning our abundance of tomatoes from the garden. It was a family affair:
We enjoyed a visit from our grand baby in the afternoon: