Thursday, December 19, 2013

Riley's Update

Well I have to say that this road to oral and spoken language has been a crazy road for the past 5 months. I knew going into this that it would be a lot of work, however I did not plan for all bumps in the road. Who plans for bumps in the road? Nobody. At least not this girl.

Riley has had an infection in the left CI since a week after her surgery. We have been driving down to the hospital every other week to try to get this taken care of; unfortunately the time came where we had to take it out. Taking out a cochlear implant is not a common procedure, infact if they have to take out everything, including the electrodes then there isn't hope of putting it back in.

That's where mom started to freak out! I really wanted the device to come out before the infection took over everything, including the electrodes. Fortunately he was able to take out the top part and but it off deep enough to keep the electrodes in. That is all we could hope for. 6 months down the road she will get her left CI back in.

For right now we are jumping into therapy head on. Speech therapy once a week, developmental therapy once a week, and online therapy twice a month. This little girl is taking it like a champ; she is listening better that 2 and 3 year old I know. You see, there is a difference between hearing and listening. Some parents will assume there child is listening because they can hear. Hearing and listening go one on one but are two different things. She is actually LISTENING to the sounds, voices, movements and anything else she can. She looks to ever sound. I don't have to say her name twice, or three time, or even yell....she listening. This is something we are going to keep teaching her. Everytime she listens, we point to our ear and let her know....Yay good listening.

She bangs on pots and pans and laughs, she points to her nose when I say "nose", she opens books and starts jabbering like she is reading the book because she gets read to every single night. She said "uh oh" for the first time two days ago. This girl is really taken off, and with one ear.

We had a booth test done when we were at Riley to see where she was on the "speech banana" and how many decibles she is really hearing at.

The blue line is where Riley is hearing these days. She is at 25 decibels with her tones and 10 with speech. SHE KICKED SOME MAJOR BUTT at the testing!! This is a girl that was hooked up to IV and didn't each since midnight. Everyone was in awwww over this girl and her jump from last test. Her last test she was hearing at 32 speech and 52 decibel.

Testing a toddler is hard because they are on your lap playing with toys. Now what child wants to turn their head to each "beep" or "ba ba ba" that they hear when they have a cool toy in front of them. So testing at this age is not always 100% accurate but I am definitely going with this!

This little bump in the road i think has made our family stronger and more determined to work with Riley in every aspect of her development. I am learning so much about speech, motor and even gross motor skills than I ever thought I would, and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Riley is doing awesome! Thank you for all your calls, texts and more importantly, prayers. You are all loved!

Merry Christmas!

To elf or not to elf......

That is the question! Being it's Christmas and the holidays are next week I thought this was a great way to introduce this post. However my rant goes deeper than just Elf on the Shelf.

Being a parent is hard. You have to constantly make decisions that effect your child and your family. Everything you do or say: breastfeeding or not, daycare or stay at home, cloth diapers or pampers or even which if they watch tv or not. It doesn't stop there, oh no. With all those decisions on your mind, you have to constantly worry about being judged as a parent. Are you a good parent? What are other parents doing? Parents (especially moms) should all be in this together. There should be no judgement on how I am raising my kids vs. how you are raising your kids. You just never know what the family or child may be going through. I realized this we had our last stay at Riley Hospital; Every kid in there is sick and all of us parents are doing the best we can.

Christmas is a such a magical time for me and my family and we hope to pass that on to our kids. I have been reading so many negative thoughts, comments about how other people are raising their children that it makes me really sad. Don't worry about what someone else is doing. If a parent wants to use elf on the shelf to bribe their kids to behave, or do crazy different places where their children find him, then that's okay. That's their choice. Riley isn't old enough to understand the concept but when she does we will do it all season. I don't have time to do anything crazy, like take apart my xmas tree and make it seem like the elf did it, but if it makes her smile every morning to see her "elf" in a different spot and know that he is talking to santa then that makes me happy. It makes me happy that she believes.

That's what the spirit of christmas is to me and my family....believing in something so big that it fills up your heart. I don't think it's santa's job to make sure your kids are naughty or nice but if that is something you have to do to stay sane during this season then that's okay. I don't know what your day to day life is like and you may need that to teach your children. I won't judge you if you don't judge me.

I don't think you can "ruin" you kids or make them into brats because you get them gobs of gobs of presents. That comes from someplace deeper then the holiday season. One day isn't going to make your kid into a spoiled brat. We will teach our kids that giving isn't just enough, you have to give to someone or something that can't give back to you. The magic of Christmas is not about presents but about faith, about life, about love. I want them to know about the birth of Jesus and this day is because of him. Everything is because of him. If you don't, that's okay to me- I won't judge you if you don't judge me.

If you choose to not do santa in your house, or want you kids to make believe, that's okay. I want my kids to believe way past santa claus. Know that there is more to the spirit of christmas then santa claus, but if they believe then all things are possible. It's a magical time of year. I want it all: santa, elf on the shelf, trees, decorations, carols, traditions and family. If you dont that is OKAY with me- I won't judge you if you don't judge me.

Remember...we are all doing the best we can with what we have.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, October 31, 2013

One Year Ago....

Riley Mae,

I'm writing you this on the night before Halloween to be ready for tomorrow. Halloween is one of those holidays that I love. The kids, the candy, the dressing up and treats, all make me so excited. Halloween has a different feeling for me this year. One year ago today you were diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears. Today was the day your dad and I found out you are deaf. Today is just another holiday for most people, not me.

I remember being in so much pain. So much grieving and so much hatred that i didn't even recognize myself. I remember sitting on the floor of the kitchen with you for 3 hours the day after and crying the entire time. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't get over that my idea of what our family would be, the perfect child with the perfect family was gone. I didn't know how to even come up for air during this grieving time. I didn't know if I could even be the mom I wanted to be. I felt so alone. I couldn't talk to anyone. I was numb.

I wrote this post The Beauty of Holland about how you feel when someone tells you there is something wrong with your child. You worry and stress your whole pregnancy about something being wrong and not one time did I ever think about you being born deaf. Never.

Now, one year later, I couldn't imagine you being any other way. I thank God for this gift he has given me to really understand something bigger than me.  To slow down. To be the best mother I can be. I wouldn't take back a single day with you, a single sound I hear you make for granted. How many moms get excited with their child gets scared by the dog? I can't wait until the day you get in trouble in school because you are talking to much; I will be grateful for your speech. Appreciate your language. Remember that day on Halloween 2012 when I couldn't see past that couple of hours.

I thought about today many times throughout this year and how I would feel. If I would be happy, sad, or even remember what it was like. This morning when I was getting you ready for your Halloween parade I cried and cried. I don't know if it was happy tears or remembering; I think maybe a little of both?

It's amazing how much time a year really is. Some people say times flies by, but does it really? Maybe we are just too busy to realize that time is slipping by us. You have shown me that time matters.  You have been through so much this past year and now we are back here again. Back to the day it all began and I couldn't be more proud of you than I am today. I couldn't have the most perfect little girl in the universe of little girls. I love you more than you know....more than pumpkin spice coffee, more than Christmas and more than pizza cutter pizza!


Your Mama

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

To My Daughter

On her first birthday...

Riley Mae,

I can't believe that you are one year old, 365 days you have been with us. One year ago today we heard your cry for the first time. One year ago today we finally got to meet your beautiful face. One year ago today I became a mom, because of you.

Because of you I now know what it is to love something more than you can ever love yourself. Because of you I take less things for granite. Because of you I strive to be the best I can possible be. I now understand what the "love nobody can describe" feels like. You have touched so many people and been an inspiration to our whole family. Ever since you were conceived you were a fighter, you don't give up. I look in your eyes and see so much strength and determination. I look in your eyes and see a sweet girl that loves to love, that is crazy funny, that has a huge drive. I look in your eyes and I see your daddy and me.

You have changed so much in one year. It's like everyday you are changing, growing, getting more beautiful by the minute. One year ago you were barely 5Ilbs and wore premie clothes home from the hospital. Now your 20Ilbs, in size 12 months and love to move around everything. You wave hi and bye all the time with a great big smile, like you accomplished so much. It's amazing. You can have a whole conversation with your eyes. You are a very visual baby and love to watch people to see what their next move is going to be.

I have so much I want to tell you. So much I want you to know from your father and my
mistakes; If we didn't make those mistakes we wouldn't be who we are. We wouldn't be where we are. Your going to make mistakes. your going to fail, and your going to pick yourself up and try again. I hope you get the chance to do everything YOU want to do. I hope you get to see and hear the world. I hope you use your gift to do good in this world; to be an inspiration to others. To be YOU.

I want you to know that you have already taught me so much. I hope we can learn from each other. I will always be here for you. Our door is always open. Always. No matter what. We have some big things going on this year! You will always be my baby. My first. My sweet Ms. Mae.

Happy First Birthday Baby!

 Love Mama

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Things I want my daughter to know

Everyday while driving to work I think about things that I want to tell Riley Mae, things I want you to know about life. Things I've learned and want her to learn, the easy way. Here is my list of 50 things I want her to look back on one day and realize what life is all about:

  1. Choose your attitude; there is so much negativity in the world. Don't let yourself be negative. It's a choice.
  2. Always buckle your seat belt
  3. Say please and thank you. Please shows respect, thank you shows appreciation. Do both. 
  4. You can always come home. Whenever. No matter how old you are.
  5. Diamonds are not a girls best friend. they are materialistic, best friends are your best friends. They are like sisters you choose; They make life so much better. 
  6. Read. Stay educated on things going on in your community, your environment and lifestyle. 
  7. You and I will fight. You will probably hate me at some point, but we will make up and it will all be fine again. 
  8. I will continue to push you. Speech therapy every night during the week. You will thank me when you are in college and top of your class. 
  9. I will only do things that are best for you. Even when you think they're not. 
  10. Always believe in Santa Claus
  11. You will always be in search for the perfect mascara, it never ends. Just keep searching. 
  12. Don't worry about things you can't control. You implants and hearing is something you or I can't control, but how you approach it and work at it is. Worry about that. 
  13. Different is beautiful. God gave you a gift. 
  14. Girls can sometimes be mean. You don't need those girls in your life. 
  15. High school is not the end all be all. It may seem like it determines your life, but that is so far from the truth. 
  16. Keep your faith.
  17. You can always borrow from my wardrobe; what's mine is yours
  18.  Invest in really good shampoo and conditioner; your hair is so important. 
  19. Be an advocate for yourself. Speak up when you feel out of place or something doesn't feel right. Mama won't always be there to help you out. 
  20. Family is forever. 
  21. Be the first to apologize. It will show your inner beauty and strength.
  22. Be a friend people go to for guidance, to keep a secret. Not the opposite. 
  23. Don't start highlighting or dyeing your hair until you absolutely have to. And go to a salon for that. 
  24. Go to the beach. The real beach. 
  25. Being smart is cool. 
  26. Whenever you can, Dance. You always feel so much better. 
  27. Some people need a drink to make everything feel better; Buying a brand new pair of shoes feels soooo much better. Go shopping!
  28. There will always be people that judge in this world, don't be one of them. 
  29. No matter how bad your day is, there is always someone having a worse day. 
  30. Be a big sister. A friend. A protector.
  31. A good workout could mean the difference between a good day and a bad day. You always feel so much better. 
  32. Beat the boys at their own game.
  33. Give back
  34. A leader is knowing when to follow.
  35. growing old doesn't mean growing up. 
  36. Less is more when it comes to wearing makeup. 
  37. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something because of your hearing loss. You can do anything. 
  38. Pizza Cutter pizza in Avon Lake is the best pizza ever.
  39. Take naps. It's okay to need some alone time to recharge. 
  40. Find a guy that loves you the same way you love him. 
  41. Your father will always be a softy for you. 
  42. Practice makes perfect. You can apply that to anything in life. 
  43. I hope you never have to know who Miley Cyrus is. 
  44. Learn from your failures; they're the reason you will be successful
  45. Your never farther away then a phone call or facetime
  46. It's fun to be one of the boys, but know when to act like a lady
  47. Lay in our backyard and watch the stars occasional. They are amazing.
  48. It's not your job to keep everyone happy. 
  49. If you ever get a tatoo...stop and think what you're putting on your body. If you can't show your father, you better not. 
  50. You will always be my baby. My first born.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

11 Month Update

Ms. Mae

Please explain yourself! How are you 11 months old? That's one month from being 1 year old. A toddler. No longer my bitty baby. How did this happen? You are such a big girl. You have developed so much in the past month, along with your listening skills. You can now hear more sounds and look to sounds. You're only 3 months hearing, but I feel like you have came leaps and bounds.

You still love to eat. You are now on all table food, and whole milk. No MORE BOTTLE! Well except for at daycare when you see the other babies with bottles, then you want yours too. But other than that you are strictly sippy cup. So BIG! You are such a visual little girl. You will win a staring contest with anyone and everyone. You are always exploring with your eyes. You love watching cartoons in the morning, playing with daddy, and of course your binky. You still love your bathtime and pooltime. You get so excited with your bath toys that you won't ever put them down. They come out of the bath with you, and end up all over the house!

The planning in in full effect for your 1st birthday party. It is going to be a celebration for everyone. You have had quite the year. I know you won't remember your first year, your CI journey or even your party; that's why I want to document everything for you.

Your smile lights up the room. When I walk in and that big smile comes across your face, it makes my day perfect. You amaze me everyday with how well you are doing and how far you have come. I love you more than you realize, and until you have babies, you probably will never truly realize.

 Love, Mama

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Poor Girl???

Last week at the YMCA daycare, the daycare student smiled at Riley Mae and said "poor girl", with a smile and open arms. Poor girl?

Now let me give you alittle background....

Riley was born with EVA which is an enlarged vestibular that makes her have little to no hearing in both ears. This condition usually gets worse over time, and it has for Riley. She was born with some hearing in her left ear, and over was getting worse.

We, Josh and I, decided to get her cochlear implants in both ears at 9 months old. Research shows that the younger the child gets implanted and starts getting stimulation of sound, the better chances are of them developing speech and being at the same level of their peers.

Now let me skip 9 months and now she has had the surgery, gotten activated in BOTH ears and is happy as can be. She babbles, looks to sounds, claps and is now waving to everyone! Would you call that a poor girl?

I actually feel for moms that don't take every single word and movement their child makes for granted. Last night I was talking to Riley and I said HI RILEY.....she looked at me and waved. She listened to me. She didn't just hear me, she was listening. I cried! How many moms can say that. It is just natural for them. Every time Riley listens, I notice. Every time Riley makes a reaction to sound, I notice. It has made me a better mom. 

Two weeks ago I was playing with Riley and I started laughing (which is a loud annoying sound) and Riley dropped everything a looked at me and just had such a big smile. She heard that. Those are the moments I would miss if Riley had normal hearing. Every little sound I point out when we are outside...the wind, the trees, the birds, cars, everything. Would I do that if Riley had normal hearing?

So many times we are so busy that we don't notice how are children develop. How much they learn through their environment. I can hostly say that I am NOT guilty of that. I work full time, teach 3 spinning classes a week, have speech therapy for Riley once a week but I still notice every single move she makes. We she hears her toys, I notice. She has broughten me that gift. The gift of motherhood that most moms don't have. The gift to be happy when my child is talking to much, or waking up the baby, or being loud in a restuarant.

So many times I see complaining on Facebook about such small miniscle things that make me think....that poor girl. She doesn't realize that even though their child is waking up the baby, or running around like a maniac screaming, she has a gift that she takes for granted. That will be something that I never take for granted...something that makes me smile everyday. Riley will have more than most kids I know.

Now do you think this is a poor girl???


Friday, August 9, 2013

10 Month Pistol

Ms. Mae,

 Well little girl, I would have to say that we've had quite the road with you. After your surgery, you have been back in the hospital for 4 days, then home for 2 weeks, and back for 2 days. Your on two different medicines and this time for 4 weeks! This infection will just not let up. I have a feeling we are going to be back again.

You are one strong little girl. You don't ever give up. You go at your own pace. And when you want something...we all know about it. You laugh. Oh boy do you laugh. Your dad's really the only one that can make you belly laugh for a long time. You just find him so's hilarious.

You are hearing so much with your CI (right side) that it is amazing. You look to sound now, look to toys that make sounds and most dance! You heard mama laugh for the first time the other night. You stopped, looked and smiled right to me. It was the bet moment. You keep shining and learning more everyday. You lost your voice because of all the talking you do. IT'S GREAT.

We're still working on crawling, which you dispize, but you are all about standing. I think you say "only babies crawl", I'm gonna walk! That's so your personality. We still try and one day we will be chasing after you. Don't grow up too soon, go your own pace.

You love food. Any and all kinds. We fed you chicken for the first time last night and you LOVED it. You eat everything that you can get your hands on to. If you don't like it, you push it away...far away.

You love bath time, sleeping, all your toys, putting things in your mouth, going outside, swinging on your swing set, Rome, swimming and believe it or not, taking your medicine. There really isn't anything you don't like...well maybe cottage cheese, but we will work on that.

You're in size 12 month clothes-12 MONTH! That's like a toddler...gosh you are getting so big. Size 3 diapers and growing by the second. The last check up went great. You are now 18 lbs, and 23 inches tall. This was your first time on the growth chart, only 7% but you're still on it!

There isn't anything we wouldn't do for you. You have so many people in your corner, more prayers then god can possibly keep up with. You are only lucky little girl, not to mention fashionable. I look forward to everything life has in store for us, the good and the bad. You are truly my sunshine in everyday. I love you to the moon and back, more than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!


Your Mama

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

9 Month Baby

Since Riley's 10 month is tomorrow I naturally thought it was time to update the world on her nine month. ahem. Well TECHNICALLY if you look at gestational age she is going to be nice months, so I'm on track. Right?

My Sweet Riley, I can't believe your only 9 months when I feel like you've been in my life forever. You have such a personality and such a little person that you feel like a 9 year old, not 9 month old. You are such a charmer and everyone just loves to be around you. You are a one happy happy baby.

 Love your sleep; you will sleep 10 hours a night and be ready to play when you get up. You laugh out loud and play with whatever you can get your hands on. Everything goes right to the mouth. Every. Single. Time.

You love love love to eat. Sweet potatoes, apples, advocato, peas, bean, banana, name it. You get so excited when you see that bib coming on that you can barely stand it. Your legs get straight and you arms start going crazy. You're too cute.

This month was a big month with your surgery going on. You had such a support group there; we took up the whole 3rd floor. 6 hours of waiting, hoping, praying. Everything turned out great and Dr. Yates was amazing. I thank him everyday for his talent. He has taken great care of you (more to come).

We had our first family vacation and you had a blast. You didn't love the lake water but still had a great time hanging out with everyone. Your first of many times to sleeping bear dunes. I hope to make many more memories of vacationing with family, friends and you seeing the world.

Your are the sweetest little girl and I couldn't have even dreamed this up. I look into your eyes and see so much going on in there. Alittle bit of me, some of your dad, but mostly your strength, your courage and your ability to make everything better for everyone. You're my best friend. I love you to the moon and back. I love you more than you will ever know, more than the sunset on a summer night, more than chocolate.

 Love, Your mama

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why God Chooses A Mom

I know I have been a bad blogger and there is so much for me to document on this amazing/scary journey we have been on the past couple weeks. I will update everything in due time.

I just wanted to share this post that a good friend sent to me. She is going through the same thing I am...and thought of me when reading this. may need tissues.

God Chooses A Mom For A Disabled Child"

By Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures, and a couple by habit. This year, Nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen? Somehow I visualize God hovering over the Earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
"Armstong, Beth; son; patron saint, Matthew.

"Forrest, Marjorie; daughter; patron saint, Cecelia.

"Rudlege, Carrie; twins; patron saint…give her Gerald. He’s used to profanity."

Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."

The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She’s so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel"

"But has she patience?" Ask the angel.

"I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence. She’ll have to teach the child to live in her world and that’s not going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you."

God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness"

The Angel gasps. "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, there is a woman I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a ‘spoken word.’ She will never consider a ‘step’ ordinary. When her child says ‘Momma’ for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see as few people ever see my creations.

"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see --- ignorance, cruelty, prejudice --- and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.."

"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid air.

God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

Have a great day.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Night Before

Riley Mae,

Here we are. The night before. Tomorrow is surgery day. Tomorrow your life will change forever. Even though you will not be activated or turned on until July 11th, tomorrow is the big day. There's no turning back. Tomorrow is when your cochlear implants and electrodes will be installed in your little 8 month ears.

I want you to know that your father and I love you very much and would go to the moon and back for you. We made this decision for you to get the implants with little or no discussion about it. We want you to have all the opportunities in the world. Not that you wouldn't if you couldn't hear, but they would be limited. We want you to be in our world. The world with spoken language and listening.

There is so much going through my head as I type this and think about tomorrow. I hope and I pray. I hope that this gives you the gift of hearing. I hope that you know who much we love you. I pray that you get through the surgery and recover in no time. I pray that everything is going to be great because we have God on our side.

One day you will have many questions about this procedure, your implants and why you have to have them. Some days I ask those same questions. Just know that you are very special to a lot of people. God only gives you and our family gifts that we need in our life. This process will make you so much stronger then you could have ever been. I know it has me. It has changed who I am as a person, a wife, a most importantly a mother.

Tomorrow you will be in good hands. Tomorrow you have so many people coming to support you. Tomorrow will hopefully change you life forever.

Love Mama

Monday, June 10, 2013

8 Month Baby

Dear Riley Mae,

On one hand I can't believe you are already 8 months...but on the other hand I love love love it. This is such a fun age with  you. Your personality is blooming and you are becoming so aware of your surroundings and yourself. It is amazing to see you grow every day.

You have the biggest smile I have ever seen and once you see someone you recongnize, it shines. You are going through a little stranger period where if you don't know them, you are shy. It's so cute. Once you warm up (about and hour), you are a talking and screaming away. You are a social butterfly, a charmer. You have so many different faces and you are not shy when it comes to grabbing things. Everything is game these days. Mommys necklaces are your favorite. You will find those under anything.

You love to eat. Your favorite is apples and sweet potatoes. Not a huge fan of green beans and asparagus. Which I don't blame you. I tasted it. You wont be eating that anymore. You started on a sippy cup and are still trying to figure it out but so proud of that thing. You show off when your drinking from it. Your independant.

You still love your sleep. You sleep from about 7:30 until 6am. You are a parents dream. You can now sit up by yourself but fall down pretty easy because you love it. It makes you laugh. I try to have you stand up and we are working at it. That may take more time.
In one week from today you will be prepping for CI surgery at Riley Hospital. I can't believe it is finally here. As much as I am so excited to get this going, I am scared and nervous at the same time.


Riley you are the apple of our eye. We love you more and more everyday. We love you more than chocolate milk, more than rainbows, more than summertime. Can't wait for the next couple months with you.

Love Mamma, 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Build a Bear

I just have to rave about Build a Bear for a minute.

As we started to plan Riley's surgery, I was really thinking of the perfect  present I wanted to her. Something special that she could have forever. Something that she would know I gave her the day of the CI surgery.

Build a Bear was the first thing I thought of. This way I can record my voice in the bear and when she can hear, she will know the significance of the bear. I want to sing "you are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." I sing that to her about everyday. It's our thing. She doesn't realize it now but she will very soon.

So looking at the the bears, I thought " they should have a bear with cochlear implants. Why don't they? So that got me all fired up. Being the advocate I am, I had to email or call customer services and ask why this was. My email was very short and sweet.

My daughter is getting cochlear implants. She can not current hear. You really should look into getting accessories for deaf children. Two or three out of every 1000 children are born deaf and cochlear implants are becoming the norm.

Really it was not a complaint, more like a suggestion. The point is I wanted to get her something that was like her. 

That same day I got a response.

Dear Shannon,
Thank you beary much for contacting us and sharing your feedback! We actually do have a hearing aid for our furry friends! You can find it online at the link below:

Thank you again. If you have any further questions or suggestions please feel free to contact us!

Have a PAWsome day!

Beary truly yours,

Wow they really do think of everything. Just an example of great customer service! You don't always get that these days.

12 more days until surgery.

Summa Summa Summatime!

Fall is my absolutely favorite season but you can't help but love summer too. Last summer was the worst because it was very HOT and I was very pregnant. Not a good combination.

This summer is a whole new ball game. I know it will go fast because we have so many amazing things happening in the next couple month. I couldn't help but think of a summer bucket list. We have a couple BIG things going on that are taking most of my time but with Rileys first summer I want to remember the small things.

Catch lightning bugs
Play jumprope
Go on a bike ride
watch the sunset
go to the zoo
plan a picnic
buy a baby swing for our swing set
Learn how to sew cute dresses
play flashlight tag
drink coffee on the porch
grow my garden (not just plant it)
slip n slide
Play hopscotch
Read outside

These are the time that I can't get back with our little family. It makes me happy that we have so much time together to do these little things. Riley will then be able to pass these things on oneday to her children. Summertime is always a special time...a time for memories.

This list for the summer is besides the obvious. Rileys surgery is 12 days away. She will be about to hear on July 11th for the first time EVER. It is so amazing. We have such a great support system coming to the hospital. It makes us feel very blessed.

Vacation can not come soon enough. Sleeping Bear Dunes here we come. Dad went there last year and it was votes Good Morning America's "Most Beautiful Place in America" and he totally agreed. So we are packing up, going with about 16 other family members and going to the great state of Michigan.

The summer will go by very fast with so much going on including baby shower(s). YES two of my best friends are having little ones and a boy and one is a girl. This means that I will get to have the mustache party I always wanted. Pinterest better look out, Katie is going to be a boy mom!

Check out more about SBD...

What are your plans this summer?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Love You Anthem...

Some Mondays are just Blah. Who really likes Mondays anyway? Only a crazy person will wake up saying..."YES, it's Monday! Hip hip horray." Well I was that crazy person this week. If you know me well I'm sure you are not that surprised that I refer to myself as crazy (sarcasm voice).

My theory is that you have to have Monday to have a Friday, right? This weekend can't come soon enough because we are going to Cleveland. Yes yes yes! We haven't been since Christmas and can't wait to see all my family and friends. Riley is like a little person now, and we get to go show her off!

Okay..getting to the point. Yesterday was the best Monday ever in the history of Mondays because we got OFFICIAL (meaning in writing) preauthorization that Anthem is going to cover Riley's Cochlear Implant surgery and devices. Let me repeat that...Anthem said yes. They are awesome. I promise I will never say a bad thing about insurance, premiums or anything else that relates to Anthem.

We received a letter two weeks ago that said they couldn't promise to pay for both ears. They didn't have enough testing to verify Riley's hearing loss (which we had around 5 hours of testing. I think that's enough for a 7 month old). So naturally I started panicing. BIGTIME.

But no fear, Carol is here! Carol is our surgeons nurse and she handles everything. She is such a sweet southern lady with the coolest southern accent. She reminds me of Paula Dean which makes me think of cupcakes and sweet things. I love her. She reassured me that she will figure it out and make sure everything is okay. And she did!

The surgery requires preauthorization for everything because it is very expensive (like 60,000 an EAR, one ear) expensive. I don't think that covers the devices or hospital stay either. Theres also the whole FDA regulation thing. You have to go through the FDA and insurance companies because right now they recommend that children be 12 months old before the surgery. 12 months? Can you go a year without hearing?

Anthem I love you.

Remember when I wrote the post "The beauty of Holland" and had the hopes of going to Italy. Well guess what...we are packing our bags. It's not over yet. We still have a long road to teach her to listen and have spoken language but part of me feels like the rough part is over. I'm probably kidding myself but once you get through insurance and we got the green light....It's a huge relief of my mind.

Italy here we come!

Monday, May 13, 2013

7 Months Young!

Riley Mae,

I still can't believe that you are 7 months old. That's almost to one year. You are almost a toddler. I remember when I was pregant and I couldn't imagine the day you were Ive been blessed with 7 months. Time is moving way to fast. 

I feel that this month was the biggest month. You have changed so much in the past month that I am amazed each day how you are growing. You found your feet and love to play with them and stick them in your mouth. You sit up (with some support) and love to sit in your bouncer and high chair. You started laughing out loud and I just can't get enough of it. I tickle you and you laugh. I make funny faces...and you crack up. You amaze me everyday. You haven't heard anyone laugh...and yet you laugh. You are always happy. 

You absolutely love to eat. We started making your baby food and you can't get enough. You love sweet potatoes and pears. You cry when it's all gone. You don't like green beans at all. But you can stand carrots, they aren't your favorite, but you'll eat them. We started giving you a sippy cup. Yea, your not too sure about it yet but you sure do try. You'll learn really always do. 

WE celebrated our first Mother's Day yesterday and it was the best day EVER. You made my day with your happy smiles, laughing and cuddling with mama all day. I seriously feel like everydays Mother's Day because you are the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. 

You're growing like crazy. I can't keep up with your clothes because you grown too fast. Mama loves to dress you and your are always a little fashionista. You are now in 9 month clothes, with some 12 month here and there. 12 MONTH! I can't believe it. Spring time is here and you love to go outside. It relaxes you. You fall right to sleep when you come in. Speaking of are a perfect sleeper. You sleep from 8pm to about 6:30 am every single night. We have no problems and you love your sleep (you get that from me).


You are at such a fun age where you love to play and explore your world. I love just taking all my time and playing with you. These moments are going to go fast and I can't imagine missing any of it. One more month and you will be in surgery for your implants. All the hard work has paid off and you are so much closer to hearing my voice for the first time. That will be Mothers Day for me.

Riley, you are such a gift in my life and I cant remember my life without you. I love you more than you will ever know. When you have your first child, you will understand. Until then, I will just try to show you in everyway possible. I love you more than fall weather, more than a new pair of shoes, more than chocolate milk.

Love Mama,

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fill in the Blank

Time for a link up! This is a great way to add alittle spice to my blog and maybe get some new readers!


Unlike my sibling(s) (that I love very much)... I am not obsessed with batman, or any comic books for that matter.

My best friend says... theres nothing a big glass of wine won't cure.

People call me... Fly Girl. Long story and you have to be from Avon Lake to understand.

The best part of my day... the morning coffee. If I don't have my coffee...don't mess with me.

I really don't understand... how my iphone can be smarter than me. I can upload videos to youtube while posting pictures to my blog while shopping on ebay. I think we live in the jetsons era.

I get really annoyed... when people post their workouts on facebook. Yes I work out but I don't see the excitement in knowing that you ran 8 miles in 30 minutes while carrying your baby. Some of us are lazy.

There's nothing like a... new stylish bag to carry around.

Lately, I can't get enough... Riley Mae. She is such a cutie and I love her so.

One thing I am NOT is... clean. I was looking in my closet this morning and thought...Oh My goodness. Good thing there's a door!

I spent too much money on... Groopdealz. I have a problem.

I want to learn.... how to cook and how to sew. There are so many cute fabrics out there and I want to make Riley's clothes.

If I ever met Goldie Hawn  in real life , I would ask her to sing the song for First Wives Club.
I can't stop... looking at Pinterest.

Never have I ever... golfed. Unless you count putt putt. Then I totally have!

Reese Witherspoon... is awesome. Hasn't everyone been drunk before and said "do you know who I am". I glad that she let loose and got rid of the sweet home alabama get up for one night. Go girl! I love legally blonde.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How it REALLY turned out....

Sometimes I sit back and think about my pregnancy. When I was pregnant I had all these expectations...I had list and do and don'ts. I didn't know what to expect but I knew myself and what everyone told me. I have quite a few friends that are having kids or had kids recently and I have the best advice someone can give you.....

Throw your expectations out the door!

There it is. All you need to know about being a mother. For me my whole pregnancy I was a nervous wreck and did not enjoy it because of that. I had her whole life planned up until her college, yup thats me, the control planner.

Remember this post...yea the one where I went over my whole birth plan. I don't think one of those things on the list actually happened.

Epidural PLEASE (this is more for the people around me then me)
•I would like epidural only when I ask for it, not when I first get ther
•Arrive at hospital before labor is too intense
•Music and massage to calm me down (we will provide)
•Do not break my water if not already broken
•Avoid C Section if all possible
•Delayed cord cutting
•Immediate latching/nursing
•one hour alone with baby and Josh after delivery

Okay, my water broke 5 weeks early so I would say that one is a no go. Yea, avoid C Section...ha! That didn't happen. Delay cord cutting...I wasn't even on this planet to realize they cut the cord. No latching for milk. You see mothers...planning might be a good thing because you will get a good laugh later.   I had a plan for motherhood also. I was going to breastfeed for one year. No pacifier. I wouldn't let her fuss too long. I would hold her until she fell asleep. LOL. I am literally laughing out loud right now.   We all know how the breastfeeding thing turned out and I don't want to relive that. She gets her paci when she is tired and that is usually it. I actually think it makes her more independant.   She barely cries so I really don't have to worry about that that but if she fusses, I let her figure it out. Now I will get her if she starts crying (again rarely ever) but she fusses and she figures out what to do.   I am a lot calmer than I thought I would be. I don't get nervous about sids and her sleeping in her crib. I don't worry about her at daycare or when other people have her.    Life is a lot different when I threw all my expectations away and actually learned from the mistakes. Who cares about research, statistics, what babies SHOULD be doing and what NOT to do. Do what is best for your child and don't have expectations.   Life is great! It is better than I would have hoped. I have a 7 month old and she is the sweetest, most prim and proper girl I have ever met. I guess I am doing ok?

Monday, May 6, 2013

From Newlyweds to Newly...Parents

Josh and I have not really been married that long, well this year will be 3 years for us. I know couples that are not even engaged and have known each other longer than Josh and I have. Our lives are in like fast forward. Ever since we met each other it has been fast and furious.

We met. Fell in love. Got engaged in one year. Got married within that year. Moved. Became parents. Yup, thats how fast our lives are. Now that Riley is here, do we want to slow everything down? Not a chance. We want another baby, we want to redo the house, I want a new job, a new car, a new everything.

You see, Josh and I are very different, but very much alike. He is very sweet, a people person, a social butterly. Me, sometimes you have to get to know me to love me. I try to feel people out first. He just loves everyone. I am the fly at your seat kind of girl. He likes to calm down and take things one day at a time. He is the clean one. I'm...well I'm not organized (I have a problem).

Before we were parents we could do whatever we wanted. We stayed in bed, slept in if we wanted. Went out with friends to all hours of the night. Had lazy movie days and watch movies ALL DAY LONG in the basement. People tell you that your life is about to change. You may think it is about the love you have for your child, but it is also about your marriage. Your family. Everything.

From husband and mommy and daddy

Now Riley fills our life with joy and happiness every day. Our lives are forever changed and there is no more josh and I. Everything we do or think includes Riley Mae. Parenting is hard sometimes, especially when you don't know what your doing. There is a lot of "what do you think? "what should we do", "should we do this"?. Some nit picking, some argueing, some space.

Now that Riley is 7 months, we kind of have our routine together. Josh gets her up, I get her dressed (of course), Josh makes her food for the day, and I take her to daycare. At we have the same routine except Josh gives her a bath every's his thing. Now that we have a groove, it's time to focus back on us. I realize that he does a lot during the week with work and Riley, so I do more on the weekends so he can get caught up or just relax. It is all a give and take.

We both realize that parenting takes 110% percent of your time but you need to make time for one another. I want Riley to see her mama and dad together, in love and spending as much time together as possible. We realize this and also realize we have been extremely bad at it. Some of the steps we are taking to better our marriage:

1. We started a "i love you because" chalkboard frame. We write why we love each other on a daily or weekly basis. Mine this week is " because you do the yardwork:)"

2. We need a datenight. Even if it is a date night in when Riley goes to sleep. Just because she goes to sleep doesn't mean we have to. One night he will plan, and one night I will plan.

3. Date night OUT. Yes! This is important. Ask the MIL to watch Riley while we go on a date night.
Even if we have to get a sitter. We are going on one this Friday and I can't wait.

4. Stay up and just chat. We usually spend the last hour of our day in bed talking or watching some show like Duck Dynasty or Big Bang Theory on TV. It sort of what we do. We hang out in bed and talk about our day. Our plans.

This is just the start of us becoming husband and wife again. We are going to have sunday dinners together as a family and continue to grow. A strong connection is what is going to keep our family thriving and growing (wink, wink).

Monday, April 29, 2013

My love for weekends

Okay Im caught...In my lifetime I have always loved my job, well almost always. But anyway I never wanted to be that girl that" lived for the weekends" or just couldn't wait for the weekend. Well guess what...yup, I'm that girl. I love spending time with my little family and doing such great things together. Now that the weather is nice, we are trying to get all the yard work done and do a bunch of things. In our small town they have so much to do for kids.

This weekend was a busy one but we enjoyed every. single.second of it.

Saturday I taught my spinning class at the local YMCA and had to bring this cute little baby with me. As you can see from the below pictures, she looks thrilled to go to the YMCA and get babysat by the high school girls working the daycare. She still is just so cute...

Now she's a happy girl! AFter Spinning we went to get a pedicure with grandma Bolinger. Yup...Riley's first (of many) pedicure experiences. She was a delight and just gabbed gabbed gabbed the whole time! The last 5 minutes she completely pass out...she just couldn't handle all that excitement in one day. 

Then on to house work. I actually had my own honey do list this weekend. We have so many projects going on in the house, it's hard to keep up. The weekends are turning into work weekends, but with Riley!


I painted my door this light teal color. I was hoping for a little darker color but it will do for now. I actually like the gold handle with it. I heard recently "gold is back in"...really, I never thought it was out. I love gold and always have. I guess thats my 80's coming out. I also painted this side table for Riley's playroom, which I so need to finish soon. I got this table from my boss and knew exactly what color I wanted it. I am all about painting furniture so if anyone out there has any old tables, chairs, etc they don't want....Give it to ME! Not that I need anymore projects going on.

I had a work event saturday night at this is what I was behind. It took my 40 minutes to get to somewhere that takes me 10. That is one of the perks of living in the country. In cleveland I had construction and too many people traffice, now I have John Deere traffic. That is something I never thought I would be writing.

While momma was away, Riley had a mommy and daddy date night. She took her first trip in her BOB stroller. This thing is's like a mountain bike on steriods. She loved it of course! Can't wait for our trip to the Zoo to really get some action in this thing.

And Sunday...oh how we love Sundays! This sums up a long and busy weekend. This is why I now LIVE FOR THE WEEKENDS! Next weekend will be ever better!