Sunday, November 2, 2008

Okay, so I'm going to try to keep a blog...

I'm doing this mainly because I HATE the new format on facebook, and so now instead of writing down what happened today or whenever and then happily erasing it, I'm going to just keep a blog.

I give myself two weeks before I give up.

Connor had a good Halloween! We sat at the door, passed out candy, and listened to spooky old radio stories. Good times! Of course, since it was kind of foggy we didn't get as many kids as last year, so now I have half a basket of candy to eat. Of course they picked out all the Twix bars, dang it. Oh well.

Anyway, things have been kind of crazy around here lately, so let me fill everyone in on the latest. Jer's unit has received its tentative deployment orders-- e-mail me if you want to know more about that. It' s nowhere in the immediate future, for which I am grateful. I'm really, REALLY not looking forward to his leaving, but it's one of those necessary evils that comes with military life. We'll deal with it when we get there.

Connor has been doing pretty well over the last few months. He's signing more than ever and his receptive language skills have dramatically increased. He'll follow simple commands, help with things like putting his clothes on, and is starting to lip read. I think a big part of his improvement is due to our friends Katy and Kevin. Katy is our Deaf Mentor and also Connor's respite care worker, and she and Kevin have a son about Connor's age who is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults). Connor and their son play together and it's great for him to have that interaction. Also Katy has a service dog, named Rowdy, who Connor is in LOVE with. It's really cute to watch them together, and he never wants to leave when it's time to go. I think once we are in a house of our own a few years down the road, a service dog will be in our future.

Funny story, by the way. Connor and I were at a coffee shop, and a little girl walked by with her mother. The little girl saw Connor's hearing aids and her eyes got really big. She yanked on her mom's sleeve and shouted: "Look mom! That baby has an I-POD!!!!"
Gotta watch out for those techno-savvy babies. They'll get you every time.

Our latest news on the medical front is that Connor will be getting a gastric feeding tube sometime over the winter. For those of you not familiar with a g-tube; it's a port that will go directly to his stomach so that we can give him nutrition even if he refuses to take it by mouth. Here's a good website that explains them: Whenever he gets sick, he just stops eating-- not a good situation for a kid as tiny as he is. We're hoping we'll be able to feed him as much during the day by mouth as he will take, and then feed him the rest at night while he is sleeping. I'll keep you posted as we set a surgery date.

Jer and I are taking Signed Exact English (SEE) classes and slowly getting better at signing. We use SEE with Connor instead of ASL because it gives Connor three ways to understand what we are saying-- his residual hearing, lip reading, and sign. Here's a website that explains the difference between ASL and SEE:

I've become more and more fascinated with signing-- ASL is a beautiful language and in many ways is much more expressive than English. I've also found that signing is very convenient in the hearing world-- Jer and I can talk to Connor and each other in meetings, church, noisy rooms etc without disturbing anyone else or having to yell. Once I become fluent in SEE, I plan to begin ASL classes. I'd eventually like to become a teacher and teach English to Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) students and ASL to hearing kids. Deaf and HoH children often times have a lot of difficulty with English and there is a big shortage of teachers, so it would be great to be able to make a difference in these kid's lives. ASL is a totally separate language from English-- the grammer is based more on French-- so imagine if you will growing up in a culture where you speak and understand Spanish but have to read and write in German and you'll have an idea of the difficulties these kids face.

Jer and I have decided, by the way, that since we are going to become fluent in signing and already have one child who is HoH, we would like to adopt another Deaf or HoH child, perhaps with some other special needs as well. We want to adopt a slightly older child, between the ages of 1-4, so that our kids will be close in age. We plan to begin the adoption process when Jer returns from his deployment sometime in 2010 and are considering either Korea or Ethiopia. We'll keep you posted!

We'll be coming back to Texas for Christmas! This will be the last Christmas we are back before Jer deploys, so we'd love to see everyone who can make a trip to the Dallas area. Connor and I will be in town from December 16th to January 6th, and Jer will be in town from the 20th of December to January 1st. Drop us a line if you want to get together!

Happy Halloween!


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