Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Hunt for Our Christmas Tree

The day after Thanksgiving we drove up into the mountains to cut down our Christmas tree.

The weather is never the same from year to year as we head up to get our Christmas tree.  Some years, there is not much snow on the ground and we only need jackets. Other years there is lots of snow for us to hike through and we are all bundled up with coats, gloves and boots.

This year, there was already snow on the ground when we parked our car and the trees looked absolutely beautiful covered with a dusting of snow. It looked like a winter wonderland. We only have our mini van, not a big truck to get the tree, so we have to watch the weather when we head up to chop down our tree. This year a snow storm was supposed to hit Friday night so we got up into the mountains earlier in the day so we could get our tree and head back down the canyon before the storm hit. As we were hiking around on the mountain trying to find the right Christmas tree, we could see the clouds moving swiftly across the sky as the storm started moving in.

We had a marvelous time hiking up and down the terrain looking for our tree. I threw a snowball at Chance and he filmed it with my camera as it flew through the air.  There was a river running through a snow covered meadow and Chance and his brother crossed it to check out the trees on the other side.

We found a beautiful tree. Every year the tree we find is beautiful. There is just something about having a live tree with the fresh pine smell.

Chance got to yell "timber!" as the tree fell after being chopped down since he will be leaving on his mission soon and will miss the next two years of tree chopping.

Chance really is in his element when he is outside in nature. He loves to help chop down the tree and being in the mountains. He is an outdoor boy.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Ear Popping

Chance's dad and brother were experiencing ear popping. It happens sometimes to them when flying, or when there are large changes in elevation over a short period of time. The boys just happened to be driving through a high mountain pass.

So they asked Chance if he experiences ear popping. He kind of looked at them and said:

"Ear popping?"

They explained it to him......

"You know, when your ears kind of pop or it gets uncomfortable so you want them to pop."

Chance stared at them.

I think we can safely assume that Chance's ears do not POP like the rest of the ears in the family.

So those suckers that I would give to Chance and his brother when we flew on an airplane during take off and landings when they were little were unwarranted?

I just asked Chance if his ears pop when he flies on an airplane and he said he feels pressure, then he fills his checks with air and blows it out real quick and the pressure is gone.

The rest of us start to feel pain as the pressure builds. And it doesn't just always just go away when you try to pop them when you aren't deaf. Maybe other deaf people have a harder time than Chance does relieving the pressure and Chance is just lucky. Whatever the case may be, Chance's ears just don't pop like the rest of the families ears.

Now we'll have to get Ammon on an airplane to see if his hears pop. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

And the Wait Begins

Chance has made the decision to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  This means that he has expressed his interest in going and has turned in the paperwork.

Chance now has entered the time period of waiting to see where he will get assigned to serve. This could end up being almost anywhere in the world.  His paperwork included a note from his audiologist stating that Chance would be able to  serve in any developed nation that would be able to provide implant support.

Chance is very excited to see where he will be sent. The call used to come by mail, in a large envelope, with details about the area where the missionary will be serving as well as information about when to report to the Missionary Training Center or MTC. In the past few months a change has been made and the calls now come by email. There are several MTC's across the world and where one is sent depends on where one will be serving. Chance's brother went to the MTC in Brazil because he had been assigned to serve in a Brazilian mission. Every country does not have an MTC so sometimes missionaries are sent to the one closest to the area where they will serve.

At the MTC missionaries learn a language if they are being sent to a foreign country or somewhere where they will be speaking a language other than their own, along with culture lessons for their assigned area. They also get training in proselytizing methods, including lessons on church doctrine and teaching, missionary rules, and proper interactions with the people they will serve, teach and work with.

Both Chance's dad and I spent time in an MTC on our way to serve missions. I served in the Netherlands and his dad served in Spain. It was one of the highest points of our lives. We both learned to love the people we lived among and grew in ways that we could not have imagined. Chance now is awaiting his own experience.

The choice to serve a mission was solely his own.  You pay your own way on a mission and Chance has been saving the money he will need.

Someone wanting to serve a mission is also required to live a moral code that includes abstaining from alcohol, staying morally clean and being worthy to attend the temple.

Here's a short video that explains a little bit about what mission life is like.

Any day now we will learn where Chance is called to serve his mission! It is such an exciting time!

Monday, October 08, 2018

Chance and His Cochlear TV Streamer

Chance has a new accessory that he has started using with his implants to watch television. And he kind of loves it.

It is the Cochlear wireless TV streamer.

The streamer allows for Chance to hear the television practically anywhere he may go in the house.
This allows him to go into the kitchen to get a snack without having to pause the television. He can put together puzzles like he loves to do with a notebook on the side for taking notes when he watches things like General Conference.

And he doesn't even have to look up to see the captions most of the time. He just hears it.

This is great for Chance!

It means we have to compete a bit more for Chance's attention, as we have to talk louder for him to hear us since he is so tuned into listening to the television. But this is a small price to pay for the benefits that Chance gains. He gets to listen and enjoy television like never before. He can walk around and leave the room all while still hearing the television!

Sometimes I wonder if he is hearing the television better than the rest of us hearing members of the family.

Cochlear implant technology is such a blessing for Chance and our family. We are definitely cochlear implant fans at our house.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Chance Gets His Wisdom Teeth Out

Chance had an exciting weekend. To give an idea about just how much fun he had, it may help to know that he got his wisdom teeth taken out late Thursday afternoon.

Chance waiting for his mouth to go numb after the shots

Chance on the car ride home holding ice packs to his face.

Chance has a naturally skinny face that now has considerable more padding down around the jawline.

Fun times on the coach with ice packs to help the swelling

Chance, his cowboy hat, and some face swelling

The procedure went well, though Chance really does not like shots or needles. He was conscious during the entire procedure but had medication to help calm him and numb him up. He was wearing headphones so that he could watch a movie above his head and the deaf, medicated, headphone combination made Chance talk VERY loud.  I had to try not to giggle each time he talked to me since he was so loud. He mostly said, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"
He couldn't hear my answers since he had massive headphones over his ears and implants so we kept talking to a minimum as we waited for his mouth to get numb before the procedure.

As we walked through the parking lot to the van, Chance said, "Mom, I am going to do something and I need you to catch me if it doesn't work."

Before I even had time to respond in any way, Chance did a little jump/kick, like the one people do while country dancing.
Cowboy dancing including the little jump/kick dance move that Chance did in the parking lot. 

Thankfully, he had enough balance to land without falling over.  As we got into the car, Chance told me that he wanted to climb a tree and then started looking out the window to find a potential tree to climb.  I reminded him that he had just had surgery so climbing a tree was not a good idea.

Chance: "I've climbed trees since I was little."

Me: "Yes, but all of the trees around here are baby trees. You've grown into a big boy and these trees are too small for you to climb.

Chance: "I've climbed baby trees before!"

Me:" Okay, but you just had surgery so we're not going to climb trees today."

Chance" "Dang it!"

Chance was a hoot to listen to on the way home. As we approached an intersection where the light had just turned red, Chance asked me, "Why didn't you go through the light? You could have made it."

Me: "The light was red by the time we got here, I couldn't have gone through the light."

Chance: "I would have gone through the light. Maybe you should move over and let me drive."

Obviously Chance was in great condition to drive. (wink, wink).

I did the driving and Chance did the talking which made my drive home most amusing. Chance sang country songs when we stopped to buy him a smoothie since solid foods would be our for a while. He also couldn't figure out why I asked him if he was sure he wanted to go inside the store to get the smoothie. The fact that he was drooling didn't seem to be reason enough for him to miss going into the store.

Chance is now healing well. The medication has worn off so our conversations aren't quite as exciting, but he is perky and continues to ice his cheeks on a regular basis to help with the swelling.

Chance lived through his wisdom teeth being removed so now he can continue the tradition of passing down how this event affected his life to his children just as the rest of us have done.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Chance, the Tramp and the Dog

Last night Chance and two of his friends slept out on our trampoline. The weather was nice, the boys wanted to sleep in the fresh air, and they had our dog to protect them.

Apparently the presence of the boys in the backyard was a little overly stimulating for our 7 month old dog and she spent a good part of the night whining and barking to get the boys' attention. Well, Chance was just fine after his night's rest.  His friends, however, were a little tired this morning when they came into the house as they had actually heard the dog throughout the night.

At one point, our pup got a hold of one of the boys' cell phones which was next to the tramp plugged in using an extension cord. The dog actually got a hold of the extension cord, which caused the cell phone to fly across the yard. Chance's two friends had the thought even in their sleepy state, that the dog should not be chewing on a live cord with power surging through it.  It was at this point that they decided to wake Chance up. Or try to wake him up. Chance sleeps like the dead. Eventually however, Chance was brought out of his silent slumber.

The dog lived.

Chance's friends were quite tired today.

Chance was well rested and said that his friends should have woken him up earlier because then he could have pulled the dog next to him to sleep and she would have settled down.

Next time, everyone will have a better idea of what they should do when the dog grabs the charging cell phone in the yard so it is a win/win for all involved.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Summer Adventures

Summer has rapidly flown by like usual.  We still have the rest of the week left before school starts again and we are trying to squeeze in one more family outing.

Chance will not be starting school again. How weird is that? It is still a strange thought to me that I do not need to consider Chance when planning out the school year.

Chance no longer needs graph paper, folders or paper.  I will not see his delight when he gets a new mechanical pencil. He really likes those.

Chance will be attending college, but he has deferred He is working right now to save up some money.

Chance has had a great summer. He has camped in the Teton Mountains, ridden a bike through mountain passes and tunnels up in the panhandle of Idaho and kayaked down rivers. Like most jobs, his work is done indoors so he likes to get out in nature whenever he can during his off time.

Pictures of Chance's adventures are coming. Along with his assessment of his new and improved implants.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

AND......We Have New Upgraded Implants!

Chance had a very exciting visit to the audiologist's office this week. That is not to say that our audiologist is not one of the best at what he does and not always is just that some visits to the audiologists are more exciting than others.

When you just got your new implants in the mail and you are waiting to get them programmed so that you can experience all of the fantastic features you have heard they have, you live in anticipation of the visit to the audiologist.

Chance was in fine form the day we made the 2 hour trip to the audiologist. He had the briefcases that his implants had arrived in and when he took the implants out of their box, they were shiny new and practically glistening.

Chance had his iphone ready. He had his cowboy hat on and was wearing his George Strait shirt. In fact, if you listen closely in the video, you will hear Chance talk about how he wants to hear some "King George" when his implant is synced to his iphone.

The new implants did not disappoint. Chance is still only hours into his new implants, maybe two days when you add up all of the time together. Chance got the new implants programmed on Monday afternoon about 3:00.  On Tuesday morning he left for a scout outing in the Tetons of Wyoming where he DID NOT wear his new implants as the activities included rafting down a river.  Chance already had a close encounter with river water and implants that didn't turn out well in June. So, he wore his new implants for a few hours and then switched back over to the older models.  He actually didn't even wear his older model implants on the river.....he only had the silence of the scenery and the river.   Ironically, four different scout leaders told Chance's dad that they were glad that Chance had gone on the trip with them. They said that he was good leader on the river. So even in his world of silence with no hearing devices, Chance helped lead out. Chance put the new implants back on about 3:00 Saturday afternoon when he got home and then today has been the only day that he has actually worn them full time.

There are some adjustments to be made with the new implants. Chance is talking a bit louder as he adjusts. He also says that the new feature in the implant that causes it to automatically adjust to the noise in your environment makes the music coming out of the car radio really quiet when he is alone in the car. He also can no longer hear the engine of the truck he drives when he is in the cab of the truck. No doubt, Chance will spend the next little bit learning just what his new implants do.

It was really like Christmas morning for Chance when the new implants arrived. Chance made us all swear that we would not open the Cochlear package that the UPS driver delivered while he was at work. We may have tormented him a bit about this. I sent him a text after the UPS left saying that the implants had been delivered and that I didn't know if I could resist not looking at them until he got home. He sent me a text that said, "Don't you dare!"

Then his brother sent a picture of himself holding a knife up to the packaging tape on the box pretending to be opening the package. Chance sent a text to him too saying, "Don't you dare!'

Needless to say, Chance got home from work and his first order of business was to open his prize and take a look at his implants.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Chance's Senior Sunset and the Spider

Chance's high school has a tradition. At the beginning of their senior year, students entering their last year of high school, climb up a mountain trail and watch the sun rise together to symbolize the fact that they are all embarking on the last year of their high school education.

At the end of the year, the students all climb back up a mountain trail and watch the sun go down to symbolize that their senior year is closing and they are ready to move on to the next step in their lives.

As the kids were all coming back down the mountain after the sunset, Chance found himself towards the back of the pack of students.  Suddenly Chance realized that the group was dividing up ahead and walking in two separate lines as if there was something blocking the path.

It turns out that there was a spider in the middle of the path. A tarantula to be precise. Apparently many of the students are not fond of large spiders. Chance however, is one who happens to see the beauty in the eight legged critters. Our family actually had one as a pet for a few months when the kids found it outside of a dance class.  The foothills of our mountains seem to provide a nice habitat for the gentle giants.

A tarantula that lives in the foothills of our mountains. They can be about the size of an adult hand.

When Chance got up to where the spider was in the path, he stooped down and picked it up. This caused quite a reaction in some of the other students. Spiders tend to have that affect on some people.

He did not bring the spider on the path home as a pet this time.  He just said a quick hello and then let the spider go on its way.

Between the hike with friends and what it symbolizes and the massive spider in the path, this moment will be one that the students will not soon forget.
This is a view up the canyon from the trail to the lookout.

This is the view of the city from the lookout (taken after sunrise) 

This is a view looking west (toward sunset) from the lookout, taken after sunrise.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

The End of an Era

It is June. Chance has had a busy few weeks as he has prepared to graduate from high school.  I can not believe that he is old enough to graduate from anything. It really does seem like just yesterday he was a skinny little kid standing up front of the classroom with his preschool classmates singing a song.

Every time Chance did an action, his shirt would rise up and you could see his tummy. I thought to myself, "Who is that child's mother and why doesn't she give him shirts that are long enough to cover his belly?"

Little did I know that that moment in preschool was the start of a challenge that would last throughout Chance's childhood and young adult hood. Many of Chance's shirts would rise up when he lifted his arms because he was destined to be tall. The shirts may fit just right everywhere else, but the length could be a problem. Although the shirts were better than trying to find pants that fit and were long enough. The boy is just long and lengthy.

He is still hard to find pants for although the shirt issue can be resolved by buying a men's medium shirt instead of a small.

Chance's school soccer team made it to the state quarter finals this year. It was the first time the school had gotten that far and a perfect ending to Chance's senior year.

I am going to miss watching Chance play soccer on the high school team. Not as much as he is going to miss playing on the high school team though.  Chance and his friend on the team were having a discussion about how it is really over. All of those practices and bus rides to other cities to play games is officially over.

It's an ending to a major part of Chance's life.  Graduating from high school does ends what you have known for years and sets you up to head off into a future that is waiting with adventure and  the unknown.

Here is a look back at some of the soccer games this year: