Before our children were born, they had a special conversation with God. They asked Him to give them parents that would care for them, help them with their special needs and most of all love them more than anything else. With that we were chosen as parents to these beautiful children. And for that we are honored and forever grateful. 
Thank you Emma & Harrison for choosing us.

May 30, 2009

Olive Designs has arrived with a CI shirt for proud moms! www.oliveeverything.com

This is the official homepage of the Olive Designs website. We are starting out with "mom" shirts. Eventually we'll expand to baby items and tote bags! The mission behind the brand is to thankfully appreciate motherhood and all the joys it brings by paying it forward.

You'll notice that two of the items are charity items. This means that a percentage of the proceeds will go to charity. If you look a little harder, you'll notice the shirt in the upper right hand corner is also a charity item. One that is near and dear to my heart and to many of you too who are reading this blog. That shirt titled 'moms always listen with their heart" is the cochlear implant shirt! The butterflies float along a swirl (or cochlea) creating the word mom. But the best part is that anyone can wear it!

We are starting with long sleeve for the fall market and will eventually add more and also have short sleeve. There are actually 6 others in long sleeve that are not yet complete. Very exciting! So buy buy buy! Proceeds from the purchase of the cochlear implant shirts go to The Let Them Hear Foundation!

You can place orders at info@oliveeverything.com or call (612) 961-0413

May 5, 2009

She did it!

Four years ago today our little peanut went under the knife and received her first cochlear implant. It was a horrible day for a parent to endure, knowing the severity of what your child is undergoing , yet a wonderful day as well, knowing that she would soon have the gift of hearing. And little did we know, she would accomplish all that she has in the past four years. I find it very fitting that on her four year anniversary, we met with her elementary school to discuss what she would need for next year, to find out that she has successfully completed mainstream kindergarten with normal hearing peers and will be moving on to first grade next year. And not only did she complete kindergarten successfully, but she fell into the upper percentile in test scores in her class! Amazing..simply Amazing!

May 4, 2009

Never in a Million Years!

Did you ever look at old pictures of yourself, maybe pictures from high school, laughing with your friends, and think "I can't believe that person in that picture was going to end up this way." 

We look at pictures of ourselves from a long time ago and imagine if we would have been able to tell what kind of life we would have 20 years later. Would you do things differently? Maybe some things. But what if somehow you were able to know ahead of time that you were going to have a child that would need extra help and care, or possibly a lifetime of constant care from you. Would you do things differently? 

I've recently seen old pictures of myself, and my husband, who I knew in high school, and even friends of ours from high school and I wonder "what was I doing then? That girl right there in that picture, she is going to have two children who are born deaf! No way!" That would have been my reaction! But when I look a little further at the pictures of myself, and my husband, and I ask myself again, "if I was able to know ahead of time that I was going to have two children that would need extra help and care, would I do things differently?"

The answer is and always will be,"Never in a Million Years!"

April 26, 2009

Olive Making a Difference!-Part 2


In my previous post I mentioned the business I'm starting with a partner. It is all about Mom and the things she loves, including her kids. Most importantly it also celebrates the wonderful challenges moms face in life and the courage it takes to get through them. One of which is most dear to me for obvious reasons; deafness and cochlear implants. 

The objective of the company is to separate ourselves from other clothing lines which also celebrate moms, but instead NOT ONLY celebrate but show the real meaning of being a mom and make a difference. We will be launching the line soon with several thematic graphics on t-shirts which will pertain to certain causes. A percentage of the proceeds will go to specific non-profit organizations. So as a sneak preview.......the cochlear implant t-shirt!!!!!

April 21, 2009

Olive Making a difference!

I am in the process of starting my own clothing business with a partner, Olive Designs. I am the designer behind it all and she is the business savvy lady who's going to make it all happen...hopefully! I have a link to the under construction webpage on the right of my blog. 

We started out with a known product, robes, with sourcing and production secured. Well that product has been put on hold. We've decided to take a different approach to our brand and in essence thank all the people out there who have obstacles and battles of everyday life but still try to make a difference. 

We are now going to launch pro mom graphic t-shirts for just about anyone. They are all about mom and will suit so many different types of moms. The graphics are fun and trendy and come in great colors. The best part is that I am creating graphics that relate to women in business, Breast Cancer Awareness, Autism Awareness, and Cochlear implant Awareness. A percentage of proceeds will be donated to each of these organizations respective non-profit sectors. In the future we will expand our organizations to benefit Down's Syndrome Awareness and others.

This is a meaningful effort for my partner and me and we have top quality manufacturing capabilities secured on this as well. It will be sold nation wide and will eventually be available through our website and many others. This is not affiliated with CafePress.

I'm very excited to be a part of this and a part of Olive making a difference!

April 15, 2009

A trip to the Fort Worth Zoo






We decided while my parents were here for Easter to also go to the zoo. It had been 2 years since Emma was there last so we thought it was a good time to go again. We went on Good Friday since that was the only day we all had the day off. Unfortunately, because it was Good Friday, we were left to eat BK Big Fish Sandwiches from the Burger King inside the zoo. FYI...not recommended!

April 12, 2009

Harrison's Baptism



It was a LONG night! The Baptism took place during the Easter Vigil Saturday evening. It started at 8 pm and didn't end until around 10:30 pm. It was a beautiful ceremony and Harrison was a trooper! He's wearing my Christening gown that I was baptized in! My nephew wore it 17 years ago, my niece wore it 15 years ago, Emma wore it 6 years ago and now Harrison. Hopefully it will continue to be passed on!

April 9, 2009

Hearing loss doesn't keep local woman from being "just like you"

For too many employees, reporting to work every morning means just another day at the office. But for Jennifer, the punch of the clock as it stamps her J.C. Penney Co. time card is a success story, a validation of her newfound courage and confidence. Complications from jaundice and hepatitis soon after birth robbed the 25-year-old of most of her hearing, but that doesn’t keep this smiling young woman from thoroughly enjoying her first mainstream job.

While Jennifer’s speech may be difficult for some to readily understand, she and her work supervisor at J.C. Penney seem to have few problems. As they walk companionably through the stock areas, she is intermittently given instructions. Jennifer wears a strong hearing device and is improving her lip-reading skills.

This woman works for the same company I do. She, in a store and I in the home office. I come across recognition announcements which tend to happen far more readily in the stores than in the corporate office. Hmmm, interesting. The woman in the article above was given an associate of the monthe recognition award for outstanding work. She is for the most part, deaf.

It's hard for me to discern between the good of this article and the bad, or even if there is any bad. The one thing good I can say is that she is working among hearing peers and doing very well. She seems to be treated fairly and obviously recognized for good work. It is also obvious that being among people who can hear and are "normal" is of great benefit to her. So let's think logically.... remember she's 25 and this is her first "mainstream" job and probably her first "mainstream" anything, and look how well she's doing.

Ok so for the bad thing. This is her first "mainstream" job and probably her first "mainstream" anything.

So here's the message. Your children are normal. It doesn't matter the severity of their hearing loss, the cause of their hearing loss or anything else. So if possible, do not segregate them. Allow them to live among normal hearing peers. Include them in activities which requires good listening skills.

I realize that some parents may have financial constraints or goegraphical limitations and that some kids have very severe losses and even cochlear implants are helping in only a minimal way, so special schools may be needed. That is fine. In fact I commend parents for going that extra mile to support and provide for their kids. But there is always extra curricular activities. My daughter was in ballet! She had to perform a recital choreographed to music. There were no visual cues. She just had to listen. And guess what...she had a blast and did great. She never once felt out of place. She's now in Girl Scouts and loves that too. We have put her in "normal" situations since she was born. And I have to say, we have a very confident little girl on our hands! And it doesn't have to be something that costs a lot of money. Go back to basics and play board games, or cards; Emma loves Go Fish! And of course READ READ READ!

I've asked Emma at different times if any of her friends at "mainstream" kindergarten ask her what her implants are. She said in the beginning of the school year some asked and she just told them that they were her ears from the doctor. And that was the end of it. She just knows that's how she is and others may not be and that's ok. In fact she has never asked me or my husband or any other family member why we don't have implants. She just knows that's what makes her special.

Just remember, your children are normal. Treat them that way and they will act that way.

April 8, 2009

Pictures with the Easter Bunny!


It's that time of year again! 

April 1, 2009

Are we there yet?

This morning at the lovely hour of 5:30 am, Emma knocked on the bathroom door (yes I was up). I opened it to find her dressed with a backpack filled with toys and books. I asked her what she was doing and she said she's going to Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Richard's house! They live in NY, we live in Texas! Kind of a long walk! 

Emma completely understands the calendar and knows the months of the year and how far apart each month is, so a couple of weeks ago I told her that  IN JULY we will be going to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Apparently in her mind, today is July! 

This is the exact reason why last year when we took her to Disneyworld, we did not tell her where we were going until we actually got to the hotel! We knew we wouldn't hear the end of it until we actually got there! After all, Disneyworld is the motherland for Princess Emma!

March 28, 2009

The diaper says it all!

Harrison is just 5 months now and we've been giving him rice cereal for a little while. We just recently introduced fruits and vegetables. And even though Emma is 6 years older than Harrison and hasn't been in diapers for a while, Harrison was not about to let us forget what those days were like. Again are the days of multi colored ( and potent whew!) diapers! Yay us!

March 25, 2009

Did you just say what I think you said?

One thing that parents of normal hearing children don't realize is that a good portion of their child's language and development is due to incidental hearing. They pick up words and phrases by what is being said around them, not just to them. 

Children who are deaf and have cochlear implants, and especially depending on the age of implantation, don't have incidental hearing. Eventually it may come but everything has to be learned from the start. My brother was having a hard time with this because a couple of years ago he asked Emma to go stand out on the grass and he would throw her the ball. She just stood there because she didn't know what grass was...and she was three! But we never taught her that, so it went on the list!

Now, after having been implanted for over three years, and definitely being in mainstream school with hearing peers, Emma vocabulary has vastly improved due to an increased amount of incidental hearing. Gone are the days that my husband and I can say whatever we want with no worries! Here's a list of some of Emma's favorite phrases, all learned by listening to others around her:

"But don't worry.."

"It's no big deal" (which usually follows some sort of fiasco)

That's a great idea!"

"Holy Crap!" (That's my fault!) She doesn't say that anymore :)

"May I ask a question?"

And many more. But teaching her what grass is and what the white fluffy things in the sky are, and what shoelaces are etc..........it is all VERY hard! You don't realize how hard it is until you're in the middle of it. But it has to be done. It's our job as parents to do it. 

Unfortunately not all parents look at it that way. And sadly some don't bother. But it is our job. Imagine if your paying job was to answer phones for a company whose customers are calling in and that is their one source of revenue, and one day you just decided that you weren't going to answer the phones. If you continued to not answer the phones day after day, the company would eventually fail. Look at your child as that company. Do the job you have to do as best as you can so your "company" doesn't fail. And eventually, you will see positive growth and be surprised and pleased with new words and phrases everyday.

March 24, 2009

Harrison is growing up!

I had to take this picture! He looked so cute with his litlle sneakers and baseball hat on! Please notice that he is outgrowing his carseat and he just turned 5 months old! Big Boy!
This is the first day in his high chair; or I should say Big Sister's high chair! Thank goodness for hand me downs! He was very happy to be eye level with us all at the dinner table. He doesn't want to miss anything; but neither did Emma!

Emma has a savings account!

Might as well start her out now teaching her how to save money! She was very excited. The bank has a kids program and whenever she makes a deposit she gets a card stamped and when the card is filled she gets a prize! Why don't banks do that for adults!