Sunday, December 21, 2014

All I Want for Christmas...

Lol!  Hope this made you smile!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

What?? What??

That's what we hear from Abby all day long because the girl can't hear a thing!  We were hoping that this hearing loss was a result of a malfunctioning tube, but Dr. T. checked out her ears during her jaw surgery and everything was a-ok...except that her left ear now has a substantial hole in it that will need to be fixed when she is older.

So since the hearing loss wasn't fluid related, we were anxious to hear what the audiology report was.  Abby had a hearing test yesterday and cooperated very well.  The audiologist was very good and worked hard to get all of the information she needed.  I feel confident that it was a valid report.

Abby's right ear has always been worse, but this time her left ear showed moderate to severe hearing loss and her right ear showed moderate.  Her left ear has never been anything but normal (her last test was in July), so Dr. T. thinks this hole is causing more problems than he thought.  Because of her age and the growth she still needs to do, the hole really can't be properly repaired for another 4-6 years.

So....hearing aids it is!  She will be getting them for both ears.  And so will her doll, Joy.  The American Girl Store puts them in and Abby is very excited!  She's also thrilled to be twins with her "sister" Emily.

The molds won't be done until February because that's the earliest we could get in.  (I look at it as a sign that we go to an awesome hospital!)  We are really hoping that this will not only have positive effects on her hearing, but also her speech.  It's hard to speak clearly when you can't really hear the sounds correctly.  Looking ahead, we are also expecting this to really help her in school.  She's a good kid, so a teacher really might not notice if she's missing some information because she can't hear.  The hearing aids also set things up perfectly for an FM system to be hooked up if needed down the road.

At one point in my life, I'm pretty sure this announcement would have thrown me and I would have been pretty upset.  But ya know what?  They're just hearing aids!!  It's really not that big of a deal. I look at it as on the same level as glasses--just correcting a different sense.  And if it is going to help her to hear better, then I'm all for it.  My one fear is that she will get made fun of, but that's something that has always been a concern for me when it comes to Abby.  We will just have to give her the tools to deal with it and pray for a good group of friends to stick up for her!

Let the countdown to not having to repeat myself 20 times begin!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Caregiver's Notebook

A few months ago, I was given an opportunity to review a notebook designed to organize information for the caregiver of a special needs child or chronically ill person.  I loved the idea and wanted to see what the end product looked like, so I agreed.

I received The Caregiver's Notebook while Abby was in the hospital (timely!) and was so impressed with the thought that was put into this book.  The author, Jolene Philo, really included everything a caregiver could possible need!  I wish I'd had this notebook when I first started out on our special needs journey.

The notebook is separated with tabs and includes emergency information, a calendar, a list of meds, contact info, medical history, insurance, legal documents, and schedules.  And there's A LOT of space!  This is almost always an issue for us when we fill out medical forms for Abby.  "See attached sheet" is pretty much always written!

What I like most though is the encouragement this book gives.  Sprinkled throughout are Bible verses and inspirational quotes.  Jolene even included a Bible reading plan and a prayer guide that both are tailored for caregivers!

In working with Jolene to promote this book, I was able to find out some additional information behind the writing of The Caregiver's Notebook:

Why did you write The Caregivers Notebook?

Ill answer that question two ways. First, I wrote it because I understand what its like to be a long term caregiver. My father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1959 when he was 29. So early in their marriage, my mother became a caregiver. My siblings and I were caregivers from childhood until 1997 when Dad died. I also know what its like to care for a child with special needs. Our son was born in 1982 with a condition that required immediate surgery to save his life. By the time he was 5, hed had 7 surgeries and countless medical procedures. He had a final surgery at age 15. Hes on his own and doing well now. However, my mother was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimers a few years ago, so I am now part of her caregiving team. All those experiences have impressed upon me the importance of organizational tools for caregivers.

The second reason for writing the book is that Discovery House Publishers (DHP), the house that published my Different Dream books for parents of kids with special needs, asked if I was interested in creating an organizational notebook for caregivers that also addressed their spiritual needs. I jumped at the chance.

What kind of caregivers can use The Caregivers Notebook?

Because of my varied experiences as a caregiver, the notebook is designed to fit a wide variety of situations while caring for loved ones of all ages. It can be used by adult children caring for aging parents or spouses caring for partners living with disability or illness. Parents caring for babies, toddlers, young children, and teens with special needs can also use it, as can parents of typical children from birth to age 3. Its useful for parents caring for adult children with special needs. Senior citizens in good health who want to have their affairs in order for whoever will care for them in case of an accident or sudden illness. In fact, my husband and I are each completing one, though we are both in excellent health. We think of the completed notebook as a gift to give to each other, if one of us becomes ill, or as a gift to our kids should something happen to both of us.

Where can The Caregivers Notebook be found?

Its available for purchase in bookstores. If a bookstore doesnt have it in stock, they can order it. One way to order online is through the publisher at Or to go to my website, Open  the Buy the Booktab and click on the link for The Caregivers Notebook. That leads to the Amazon link. The notebook can also be ordered through Barnes & Noble and Christian Book Distributors (CBD).

Parents of special needs children, if you are needing some help getting organized, The Caregiver's Notebook for you!  It's a wonderful resource.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Abby's handprint on her first Christmas at 2 months old.  She was SO tiny!  Whenever I see this handprint, I'm reminded of God's faithfulness and I'm so thankful for how far she has come!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The First Christmas Ever by Dennis Jones

When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I was excited to have a new Christmas book for the kids.  While we aren't of the mindset that Santa is wrong and we do "do" Santa, we naturally want to focus as much as possible on the true meaning of Christmas.  I love how Zonderkids kept this story so simple, but the message was very clear.  My husband also liked that the wise men came at the proper time in the story, because it irks him when people say the wise men were at the manger.

The kids enjoyed the illustrations, although I almost felt like it was a mockery of the story at times...almost like they were caricatures rather than illustrations.  It wasn't a deal breaker though, and the story made up for it.

Disclaimer:  I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

RMH Holiday Party

Last week, I took the kids to the RMH holiday party.  I started to question my sanity as I sat in crazy traffic on 97, but thankfully we made it! 

The kids had a great time at the Ronald show.  Caleb even got to be one of the volunteers!

They even got to visit with Santa!

I am so grateful for the friendships I have made at RMH.  It's so much more than a's a family!

It was SO good to see several of my friends and catch up on our lives a bit.

 Our kids liked playing together too!  :)

Thank you Lord for the Ronald McDonald House!!