Saturday, January 31, 2015

Four Years

A few weeks ago, we took some time to celebrate Sophie's hearing birthday. It's been four years since the cold January morning that we referred to as "activation day" forever changed our lives. Initially, our early CI days were full of hard work, intense therapy, and lots of audiology appointments. Although we are still on an ever-evolving journey with a deaf child, life is quite different now. Our days no longer center around CIs and therapy and instead our biggest worries are consistent with those of parents of typical children. Sophie's language skills are pretty amazing and people are often surprised when they learn of her hearing loss.

For this year's hearing celebration, we spent time with family and Sophie chose her favorite dinner of quesadillas and ice cream cake. We also took a trip to a local children's museum and had a day of fun. I took a short video of her, similar to the one I posted last year. I hope to "interview" her each year on her hearing birthday; at least until she will no longer let me. :) Here's to four years!

Saturday, January 3, 2015


It's hard to admit that an entire year has come and gone since I last posted here. It's not that I haven't had any news to write about or have been too busy (although life is quite busy these days), I guess I just haven't felt like it. This past year has been an emotional roller-coaster for me and my family, as we lost my mother to cancer. It wasn't really a roller-coaster; it was more free fall, with us desperately trying to grasp onto tiny bits of hope for a few short months although we knew the finality of what we were facing in the end. Cancer sucks, folks. There is nothing more ruthless, unforgiving, and consuming. And it's just not fair.

As I continue to grieve and slowly start to heal,  I am able to recognize one thing that this life experience has helped me with - perspective. Attitude, point-of-view, outlook on life... Whatever you want to call it. When Sophie was born and we had gotten over the initial shock and anger of learning about her hearing loss, I thought I had gained a new perspective on what is really important in life. At the time, it was the most difficult obstacle I had encountered and I felt shaken and changed by it, in a good way though. This past year has been even more eye-opening and I can honestly say that I have a deeper appreciation for everything I have and everyone that has been by my side. I'm not saying that I owe this deeper appreciation to cancer or even admitting that anything positive has come from this terrible experience.  I just think it's important to recognize how tragedy molds us into different people than we were before. We are humbled by hard times and grow stronger because of them.

So with the start of this new year, I will be trying my hardest to focus on my new perspective and everything I am grateful for. I have plenty of updates to share about Sophie and her sweet little brother and I will post those soon.

Cheers to a new year and a new outlook.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Three Years of Hearing!!

I think it's safe to say that's it has been some time since my last post! Life has been a whirlwind lately and I don't see it calming down anytime soon. In the last six months I have had a baby, started a new job, moved into a new home, and have been navigating through the trials and tribulations of a serious family illness. Life is busy, to say the least.

In the midst of all the craziness, we took some time last week to celebrate Sophie's hearing birthday! It's been three years since her implants were activated and she first heard the amazing sounds of the world. She has achieved so much in just a few years and I can only imagine what else she is going to accomplish as she gets older. Activation day brought us so much hope and excitement, but I never would have guessed how much she would excel. When I look back and reflect on our journey, it is pretty surreal. One of the best parts of parenting such a special child is sharing our story with others and giving them hope. If I had only known where we would be today, those early days would have been much easier and my tears would have been saved for another day.

Here is a little clip of our girl, just three years in to her journey. Isn't it amazing?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Our newest addition, a little BOY!!!

David Ryan
8 pounds, 14 ounces
Needless to say, he has captured our hearts and we are in love! Everyone is adjusting quite well as a new family of four and Sophie is a great big sister. She wants to hold and kiss him constantly and help with everything having to do with her new little brother.
Unlike his big sister, David can hear. While most people are delighted when we share this news, it is extremely bittersweet to me. For many reasons, this feeling is hard to explain and I think only a fellow hearing loss mom may fully understand. To me, Sophie is absolutely perfect and such a special little girl. Some may consider her deafness a flaw or a burden, but I think it makes her even more amazing. Although we feel a bit of relief that David's early years will not be spent juggling therapy appointments, it feels wrong to rejoice that he lacks the trait making Sophie so special to us. Also, a part of me would like her to have someone to share her struggles with as she gets older - someone who understands what it is like to be deaf. I know that one day soon she will ask me about David's ears and wonder if he will also be getting implants. These questions are easy to answer now because she is only three, but I know they will become harder in the future.
One thing I am certain of as a type this update - I will love and treasure both of these kiddos with all of my heart for the rest of my life. They are both special and I know they will encounter individual and unique struggles, hearing or not.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A graduate?! Already?

Yes, folks - it's true. On Friday, Sophie GRADUATED from the Moog Center for Deaf Education. Quite an accomplishment for a profoundly deaf child who just recently turned three years old. While we are over-the-moon excited, happy, and proud, it was also a sad day to close this chapter of our journey.

I'll never forget my first conversation with the director of the Moog Center. She contacted me just two days after we learned that Sophie is deaf. I was still grieving - in a mixed state of panic, confusion, and shock. What I remember most about our conversation is that she was so incredibly confident that Sophie would be okay.  She gave me the straight-forward facts about hearing loss and the potential causes, summarized the cochlear implant process and timeline, and told me about their intensive oral program. At one point, I remember her matter-of-factly saying, "Oh yeah, there is a great chance Sophie can be mainstreamed by kindergarten." That statement gave me instant hope and was the very faint glimmer of light that I needed to snap out of my sad, gloomy haze and take action. Up until that point, when I envisioned Sophie's future, I could only think of a world of special education, interpreters, and limitations. I had already researched a bit about cochlear implants, but I was still naive and ignorant to what a diagnosis of profound hearing loss meant for Sophie.

The next day was our first visit to the Moog Center. It was surreal. As we pushed our tiny baby girl through the halls and classrooms in her stroller, I remember thinking, "Wow, they really weren't kidding. These kids can talk!" But that wasn't even the best part of the visit. After being scared, helpless, and overwhelmed, I just felt normal while we were there. It was as though the hurricane had stopped pounding and the debris was starting to settle all around me. Like I could envision a new path and future that I so recently was unsure of.

After our visit, I was pretty much sold. We visited another oral school in the St. Louis area as well, but there was no comparison to the feelings of hope and support that the Moog Center gave us. In the past three years, this amazing school has been by our side constantly - providing encouragement and support every step along the way. The staff, audiologists, and teachers are more to us than the professionals that have guided Sophie's success, they are forever a part of her journey and our family.

So here we are now, saying goodbye. Obviously, this transition is happening much sooner than we anticipated and I still cannot believe Sophie is being mainstreamed two years earlier than our original goal. While I'm nervous and anxious, I'm confident that Sophie's time at Moog has equipped her for a regular classroom on a full time basis. She is such a bright girl and has amazed us each and every step of the way so far. At this point, I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us. ;)

How fast her time at Moog has gone by:

First day of Moog - 17 months old

Last day of Moog - 3 years old

Here are a few more pictures of Sophie's big day:

Singing with her class

All alone on stage - brave girl!

Sophie and the other graduates

We love Moog!

Such a bittersweet day

The first of many amazing achievements for this girl

My dad also filmed Sophie being "interviewed" during graduation. All of the children leaving the Moog Center take the stage to tell their story and this is always a very emotional part of the program, as many families have moved across the country and completely started new lives to attend school here. Obviously, Sophie is a little young to be able to share her story, but she took the stage and it was pretty cute. I could tell she was nervous and I was quite surprised she spoke at all in front of that many people!

Let's hope that habit of pulling up her dress when nervous doesn't continue for too long! ;)

Anyway, we are on to a new chapter soon. We are so proud and can't wait to see what preschool holds for Sophie. Although we are sad to be leaving Moog, everyone there assures us that she is ready and will do great. Here's to new adventures!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Constant entertainment

There isn't much point to this video I'm posting below, other than the fact that it makes me smile and could be a source of instant embarrassment 10 years from now. I've found that one of the great things about parenting a three year old is that my life is filled with senseless humor! Sophie is a constant goofball nowadays, always acting silly and trying to play tricks. I love it!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday!!!

Sophie turned three last week and we had fun celebrating for days! We were also hit with over a foot of snow, so her birthday party had to be postponed a few days, but we had a great time anyway. Here are a few pictures from the festivities:

Excited to take birthday treats to school!

Circus fun! The fireman clown wears implants, too!


Birthday party!

A great addition to her new room!


Sugar rush

So proud to be three!

I can't believe we have a three-year-old on our hands now. These days are certainly fun, though! Sophie is learning new things at a rapid pace and I feel like I can hardly keep up with her.

Happy 3rd Birthday to my sweet girl! I am so proud of you!!!