Monday, January 09, 2017

Third time's a charm

Chance leaves for San Francisco in two days for an in depth study of Chinese culture. It may seem that Chance was just in San Francisco......that would be because he was there just last year at this time.  Chance and his brother had such a great experience in San Francisco back then, that they wanted the whole family to go back to see it.  So we included two days in San Francisco during our family vacation last summer. For anyone who is counting, Chance's trip to San Francisco next week will be his third in the span of a year. His destiny must somehow be tied to that city.

The focus this year is different than it was last year. Last year Chance rode a train to California and then flew home in an airplane. This year Chance will fly both to and from California.  Chance will be immersed in Chinese culture, language, religion and of course speaking Mandarin.  It will be good for Chance to have people around him who can answer him in Mandarin. He speaks to us at home in Mandarin all of the time. We just don't know what he is saying. For fun, I will sometimes respond in Dutch. Then neither one of us knows what the other is saying. It will be fun for Chance to practice his Mandarin while eating Chinese food.

The weather forecast calls for lots of rain while Chance is there. But the temperature should be much warmer than it is here. We are anticipating snow. Chance will have tales to tell us when he gets home. He says that since this is his third time visiting the city, he is much more aware of what a good souvenir is and where to spend his money. Chance is very frugal with his money. He is a working man now and he has earned all of his own spending money and paid for half of the trip. He is particular where he spends that hard earned cash.

View from the Golden Gate Bridge

Lombard Street in San Francisco

Chance on the ferry from Oakland to San Francisco

Ghirardelli chocolate shop

Friday, January 06, 2017

Advantages of having deaf children

Enjoying the warm weather in Arizona by climbing a palm tree

 We spent part of Christmas break in Arizona.  It was much warmer there than it is at our house. We went to the park and laid out on the grass. Our grass has snow on it, so it was a real treat to go outside without our coats and just enjoy the nice weather.

We were visiting family and hanging out with cousins. If we loaded everyone in the van to go somewhere, three people had to ride in another car so we could all fit and have seat belts. My sister and I wanted to have some "girl talk" on our ride to the park and I was trying to figure out which child should come with us. Then it struck me....Chance could come with us because he can't hear anything if he is using his headphones! I know, I know, teenagers in general can't hear anything else if they put in their headphones, but having two teenagers, one who is deaf, and one who is hearing, I can attest that the deaf one hears less.

Chance was the perfect kid to ride with us so we could talk freely. Chance already had his headphones ready for the ride and when I suggested that he ride with us and "not hear" what we said, he shrugged and happily agreed. I think it was a win win because our car was going to be more peaceful since it didn't have lots of kids riding in it and Chance could just sit back and relax.

It is true that Chance could have cheated and slid his headphones down just enough to hear what we were saying, but if you are a 16 year old boy, you really don't have an interest in what your mom and her sister talk about while on a drive to the park.

Now I know that if I need a child to ride in a car with me and not hear what I am saying, I can just invite Chance, because he can't hear anything if he has headphones in or takes his hearing devices off.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Hats and hearing devices

As a little boy, Chance loved wearing hats. Baseball caps and cowboy hats were his favorites and we have many pictures from his childhood that include hats.

When Chance wore hearing aids, the hats would make them buzz as the hats rested on his ears. It would drive the rest of us a little batty to have that buzzing sound going on all the time so we would adjust the hat and then a few minutes later, the buzzing would start again. Cowboy hats tended to work with the the hearing aids better than baseball caps.

I asked our audiologist once if that buzzing sound didn't drive Chance crazy too. The audiologist said Chance probably didn't even hear the buzzing so it wasn't bothering him at all.

Once Chance got implants, wearing hats wasn't really an issue anymore.

Chance wears baseball and cowboy hats now on a fairly regular basis.

I decided to ask Chance this week as he was wearing a baseball cap if hats were a problem anymore with implants, I was surprised by his answer. He said he has to put the hat over the processors and kind of adjust them or it sticks out and is very uncomfortable. He still wears hats though so it must be worth the effort.

And the implants don't squeal when he puts a hat on.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Christmas trees and raining snow

We headed up into the mountains to cut down our Christmas tree again this year.  We were dressed in snow bibs, coats and gloves, but it was one of the warmest years we've had when collecting our tree.
Chance's brother had hurt his foot so he wasn't up to hiking a long way into the wilderness so we were looking for a tree that was lower rather than higher up in the hills.

Luckily for us, we found several trees to chose from that were just a short distance off of the road. As usual, once we started looking the trees over, some had sides that were a bit bare of branches, and others had another tree growing right next to them which made the branches look fuller than they actually were. Like we always do, we eventually found a tree we all loved and hauled it down to the van.

Chance works his way into the branches of the tree to find the trunk.

We all take a turn sawing into the tree to cut it down and this year was no different.  While Chance was sawing down at the bottom of the tree, a cascade of snow started landing on him from the branches that were higher up.  He was flicking his head to try and avoid being drenched in snow. I thought I was recording the moment, but it turns out that when my daughter handed me the phone, she had turned off recording. So, we have no record except for our own memories. And this picture:

Thank goodness he had that hat.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Being tall helps you when playing the game twister.

This is Chance and his brother playing the game Twister. We had a family game night and Chance and his brother played against each other. This is a time when Chance's height is a definate advantage because he can just bend over other people to put his hands or feet on the colored spots where the dial says they need to go.
Twister is a game where you spin a dial and it tells you which color circle to put your hand or foot on. It starts out easy enough, but as the game continues, you end up getting all twisted up. Eventually one of the players can't do what the spin dial tells them to do without falling over. The winner is the one who manages to put their hands and feet on the circles the dial tells them to without falling over.
Chance had a great time playing this game with his brother. His brother won though, because Chance ended up falling over.
Better luck next time Chance!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Chance has a loud whisper

Chance was casually telling me today that one of his friends in physics class tells him regularly that he has a loud whisper.

Chance sits up at the front of the classroom and he and his friend sometimes have things they want to say to each other while class is in session. The problem is, Chance apparently has a loud whisper.  His friend is nervous that they are going to get caught talking so she will tell Chance that he is whispering really loud.

Chance said he doesn't feel like he is whispering loud, although two more friends on the row behind him can apparently hear what he is saying when he whispers.

The second problem Chance faces with his attempts to whisper, is that most of the time, he can't hear what his friend is whispering back because she is trying to be quiet enough to not get caught by the teacher.

Chance says it is actually a miracle that they haven't gotten into more trouble for talking in class since his friend regularly tells him he is whispering loudly.

I have found that both Chance and Ammon are difficult to whisper to with when you are trying to be discrete.  They just don't hear you until you are louder than you feel you want to be when whispering. If you are in church or in class where you want to whisper and not draw attention to yourself, whispering with Chance or Ammon is challenging. Chance can catch on to what you are saying with his superb lip reading skills many times.  Ammon has not developed that skill like Chance has.
I don't know why lip reading isn't helping Chance with his whispering problem in class. Maybe his friend isn't facing his direction.

Chance does best when he can communicate without having to whisper.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

It's Halloween Once Again!

This year we got to carve the giant pumpkins that we grew in our garden this summer. Chance takes his carving seriously and this year he decided to carve the Chinese symbol for devil into his pumpkin. Little Devil is Chance's Chinese name. 

Chance and I carved the pumpkin together. Okay, so Chance looked up the symbol, drew it on the pumpkin, and then carved most of it, BUT, I did help with one section of the carving. 

Chance and his sibling have been looking forward to carving these pumpkins for a few weeks now. We had a night where the temperature dipped to freezing so we picked all of the pumpkins so they wouldn't get frozen. Since we picked them, the pumpkins have been hanging out on our front porch helping to create a festive fall mood.
Halloween night found Chance and Ammon trick or treating with their siblings and friends. Ammon went out for a while and then wanted to come home when he got a bit cold and watch a Harry Potter movie.
We are so proud of ourselves for growing such big pumpkins this year. We have never had such a fine crop of pumpkins. We had big ones and little ones and medium sized ones........we are all crossing our fingers and hoping that we can grow big pumpkins successfully again next year. I really think it was the bunny poop. That stuff is great fertilizer.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Ammon has a birthday and falls in love

True love

Ammon is in love.Not with a girl, he still thinks they have cooties.  He had a birthday this week and he chose a blue remote control sports car that he fell in love with.  He was literally beaming as he walked through the store holding his car. So much so, that shoppers kept stopping to talk to him and to tell him what a fantastic car he had.
He chose the car two days before his actual birthday so he had to wait to get it out until he officially turned 11.  His face showed pure bliss as Ammon was reunited with his car after a few days apart.

Ammon at a corn maze
Ammon absolutely loves fall. I'm sure  that his birthday being this time of year has something to do with it but he also loves Halloween, pumpkins, corn and dressing up.  He tried to get our Halloween and fall decorations out in July. I had to limit him to September 1st before he could drag out pumpkins, witches and strands of leaves.
Ammon is excited about everything.  He loves all holidays and lives to celebrate whatever holiday is on the horizon. He brings a joy and festivity to life that affects all of us in the family.  He was devoted to our corn field and pumpkin patch this year and takes great pride in the huge pumpkins we grew and that now sit on our porch. When we carve pumpkins this week he will be so excited that it will be hard for him to sit still. It should be noted that this is the first year we have managed to grow corn and huge pumpkins. Ammon was a devoted caretaker for the garden and has loved the giant pumpkins since they first sprouted.
Ammon may have suddenly gone deaf a few years ago, with the hearing loss continuing to grow, but he doesn't let that dampen his love for life or hold him back.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Chance and his implant have an accident

This is Chance's implant:

This is the scooter that Chance was driving today:

Chance was driving this scooter down the road with earbuds which created a space between his implant and his helmet.  Due to this space, the wind caught hold of one of his implants and blew it off.

The fact that his implant flew off was very distressing to Chance and he started to worry that cars behind him would run it over. With Chance worrying about this, he didn't notice there was gravel where he was pulling over to, which caused the scooter to slide and fall over while moving on the road and Chance jumped off.  In an amazing turn of events, Chance managed to avoid hurting himself and the scooter.

It took Chance a few minutes to realize exactly where his implant was on the road though, and once  he could see it,  he sat with panic rising as cars came dangerously close to running it over.  Chance said a jeep wheel came within 2 inches of hitting his implant.

As Chance was trying to save his implant before it got run over, it is worth noting how well the implant blends into asphalt:

It takes a little work to pick out the implant on the road.

Thankfully, the road Chance was driving on is a road that is populated with cars but also has lulls in traffic.  Chance was able to get to his implant before it got demolished.

Thankfully, Chance is okay after the scooter slid on the road.  Thankfully, Chance was able to rescue his implant. And as a bonus, the scooter is also okay.

I think Chance may hold his implant a little closer tonight.

It never occurred to me that Chance's implant would blend so well into the asphalt.

Chance said since he realized that the ear buds created a space that allowed his implant to fall off, he won't wear them anymore when he drives the scooter.

Chance was wearing a helmet, but I think we need to get a helmet with better coverage for him.

You may wonder how Chance can even hear with earbuds on.  Though other headphones work remarkably better for him, he will sometimes drape earbuds over his ears by his microphones so that he can hear his music if earbuds fit better such as when wearing a scooter helmet.   Chance will not be using earbuds anymore on the scooter however.

I think this will give his implants greater peace of mind that his head is a safe place to ride. `

Monday, October 03, 2016

The rooster doesn't crow

Our family acquired some chickens last spring so that we could have fresh eggs.  When we got the chickens they told us we had about a 10% chance of getting a rooster They try and choose the female ones to give you, but you know how it is with baby animals......sometimes you just don't know what you got until they are a little older.

The chickens are now old enough to be laying eggs.  AND out of the seven chickens we have, two are roosters. Roosters like to crow in the morning and the first morning that happened, my husband and I lay in bed realizing that the rooster going off at 6:15 belonged to us. It was a weekend and we could only imagine what our neighbors were thinking with a rooster going off that early in the morning.  He didn't just go off once to tell everyone it was morning either. He went off over and over again.

My husband and I were quite stressed about the effect our crowing rooster was having on our neighbors. The next morning, he went off again naturally, because that is what roosters do. I was talking with my daughter about how we were probably going to have to get rid of the roosters when Ammon got a little panicky.
"WHY?"  He wanted to know.  It should be noted that that the kids all chose a chicken to call their own when we got them and the crowing rooster is Ammon's.

I tried to be sensitive to his feelings and explain that roosters are loud and that we hadn't planned for roosters.  At this point, Ammon told me matter of factly, " He doesn't crow!"

My daughter and I looked at each other and then back at him.  Of course Ammon doesn't hear the rooster crow. He sleeps quite well through the ruckus and has no worries about how the neighbors may be feeling about a rooster going off at 6:15 in the morning.

We had to really work to convince Ammon that the rooster does indeed crow in the morning.  I think he is still skeptical since he isn't hearing any of the noise. He did come sit by me as I was weeding the yard and said in a tender voice; "There has to be another way to stop the rooster. We can't get rid of him."

I gently explained that roosters are made to crow, that is what they do.

Ammon is an animal lover and he has a tender heart when it comes to animals.  We haven't totally decided what we are going to do with rooster yet.  We have talked to the neighbors that are closest to us and most affected and they all said they don't hear him or they aren't bothered by the crowing. We have also been putting him in the little chicken barn at night and then letting him out later in the morning when it is a more decent hour to crow. You don't hear him as well when he is in the little barn.

Ammon petting a sheep at the state fair