Sunday, December 4, 2016


G is on a 3 person team at school for the Battle of the Books.  They read 3 books then answer trivia about those books.  On Thursday they competed with 3 other deaf schools.  He's all about the stats.  Their team won 2 rounds and tied the 3rd.  He told me the tie will become a win because the team they tied, lost to a team they beat.

G's Math class is going well.  He is eager to get on and do his work every night.  I love his motivation to do a great job.  I'm sure it helps that he doesn't get bonus computer time if he doesn't take the notes and get 100%...  I'm glad he's having this chance to see how excellent he can be and learn good study habits as well.

G graduated from speech therapy recently.  I'm hoping to take that hour and make time to go to the beach this winter.  I love walking on the beach.  We are so blessed to live in this beautiful area.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Kind Brother

G is such a kind brother.  He occasionally has an outburst of frustration with his siblings.  But he is generally generous and fun.  He loves to pick up L and if L has some tool, G always takes it away and brings it to me.  I love how he leads our children with confidence and great attitude.

He was having a discussion based assessment for his online math class recently.  When the teacher was raving over his good work and how nice it is to have him as a student G said "Stop it, you're making me blush."  He waved his hand and ducked his head.  He's so fun.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Opportunities for growth

G is going to the priesthood preview this Sunday and was asked to give the opening prayer.  I don't know yet if he's planing to voice or sign.

Tonight G took a module exam for his online math class.  He is in the habit of rushing through the evaluations and being able to re-set them if he does poorly.  He did poorly and cannot reset it.  He didn't write down any work.  I sat down with him afterward and went through each question, having him write down the answer and work. 

I'm so grateful for the chance to go through this with him and help him develop strategies for how to do better next time.  He was so embarrassed about his low score, and that's a growth moment.  Feel the burn kid.  Do better!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

lessons learned

G is at the point in his math lesson where he is learning things that I have forgotten.  Yay!  So now he gets to teach me, and that will help both of us learn.  G gets to do math on the computer after all of the other children are supposed to be in bed.  He loves this arrangement.  He has also gotten the idea that this is "computer time" rather than "math time".  Two nights ago he took no notes and got a 50% on the assignment.  So we worked through notes, and told him he had to review the material with dad before resetting the assignment.  Last night he got a 75% on his work and then read some sports news.  Tonight he spent 15 minutes on the lesson, took no notes, got a 75% on the assignment and proceeded to lay video games.  Oh no.  He did not...  but he did.

So tonight we re-affirmed that notes are required and that 75% is not acceptable.  Tomorrow I'll sit with him and make sure the notes are done before he does the assignment and that he has checked his work before he submits it. 

These are huge life skills that he's learning.  Do the work, check the work, take notes! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Do the notes!

 G is doing great in his math course.  P has his math courses mapped out to achieve maximum points on the PSAT when G is that age.  I grew up in a family that was very fixed mind set.  We were smart and if we had to study, that meant we weren't actually smart.  Oh, so terrible!  My older siblings loved to tease one another and vie for rank in intelligence. 

I know now that hard work and effort make a huge impact on ability.  My children are learning that they can do hard things.  Their brains are muscles and they need exercise. 

G is taking this math course and doing a module every night.  There are notes for most of the modules.  G thinks that if he can get 100% without taking the notes that is proof that he didn't need to take the notes.  What he doesn't know is that learning to take notes is more important than the math he is learning.  When he takes the tests he will be able to use the notes to remind himself of things that were obvious while he was doing each module, but that he may have forgotten by the time of the test.  And more importantly, when you write something down, your brain makes more connections.  I read that students who type their notes have lower retention of the information than students who take notes by hand.  The brain is amazing!

"The notes are just a suggestion!"  cries G.  Sorry G.  The notes are not optional.  They are critical.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Hate to say it but he's awesome

How cool would it be if school pictures were like this?  Yeah!

G is going into 6th grade!  At his school that means middle school.  We've had G in school part time ever since he started the deaf program at the age of 3.  He hasn't had a consistent continuum of curriculum because we didn't provide him one.  He has taken all of the state assessments and done well.  We usually get the packet from the school and cram for 2 weeks before the exam.  It is teaching for the test, but only for 2 weeks before the test. 

This year G is taking math through the online program.  He took math in 3rd grade for a semester and then all of 5th grade.  He does a section each night and since we started requiring him to fill out the notes guide, he aces the tests.  I'm grateful for the chance to teach him these study habits.

What else is new with G?  He has a cell phone and loves to listen to music from it.  It's just a tracfone with a full keyboard.  He doesn't use it for anything but a music player so far and that's fine with me. 

Tonight he told me "That blanket is really strong.  When I hung on it, it didn't break." 
"You mean my favorite blanket?"  I asked.
"Yeah!  It's really strong."  Thanks G.

G loves to eat german pancakes now.  It's awesome.  And he ate 2 chimichangas tonight.  Weird.  And awesome.

G takes good care of all his siblings.  He lets the girls pester him more, but he is always playing games with M and going along with her schemes.  They play this game where one sits at the table and the other sneaks through the house trying to get as close as they can without being caught by the person at the table.  He is kind and patient with his little brothers. 

I love G.  He doesn't demand much attention and I often feel like I missed opportunities to be with him.  The night comes so fast.  He's a great kid with a great attitude.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


G is in middle school this year.  He's such a great kid.  We buy shoes at thrift stores as much as possible and this year we couldn't find shoes for G.  So we went up to the outlet and got him some sweet Adidas.  He's so pleased.

G is at school for Reading, PE, Lunch and Vocational classes.  He's taking math through FLVS.  Wow, he is taking math through FLVS.  We let him use the computer at 8:30-10:00 at night when all the other kids have been sent to their rooms.  G usually read during this time of night.  Now he earnestly hustles through the math lessons.

Last night I wandered in as he was getting to a 6 question quiz.  He took a breath, re positioned his chair then sprinted through the timed quiz.  He finished it in less than 2 minutes then let out a sigh of pent up energy.  He's so intense about this class.

It's amazing to see him apply an even higher level of concentration to this math course than I have seen him apply to computer games.  

Saturday, June 11, 2016


A friend of ours gave G these tracks a few years back.  They are discontinued.  G made all the tracks in the instructions.  The tracks went away for a while.  Now he's using them again and getting creative.

Monday, May 16, 2016


 This was his first boy scout camp out.
He is very eager to always wear his uniform.  This is such a great thing for him.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

his element

G is such a social kid.  Last month he went to the 11 year old scout camp with no interpreter.  He did fine.  He had a great time.  He doesn't have a best friend but he is friendly with most kids.  This is a picture of him from last week at school.  They had a craft time and G made this head set out of pipe cleaners.  He says all the other kids wanted to trade him for it, but he

P took B and G to the Fathers and Sons campout on Friday night.  It rained like crazy but they toughed it out and made some memories.  G was a superstar and won several games.  P tells me that in kickball G did well enough that the adults would move back when it was his turn.  Then G started to kick it short.

I love G.  He's such an awesome, smart, capable boy.  He's gone through more challenges in the first 5 years of life than most face in a lifetime.  And he's got a great attitude and is kind. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Little G is growing up.  But not very fast.  : )  We were able to sign G and M up for a basketball league that is all signing kids.  G's group is grade 5-8 and he's the smallest.  It's been such a great opportunity.  I'm so glad they could do it.

A friend at church invited G to a birthday party on Saturday.  The mom was talking to me about how they would carve out a special part of the party where G could attend for food and football.  The rest of the party would mostly involve video games rated Teen.  Oh, life.  Fortunately G has a basketball game and won't be able to attend.  I am grateful the mom understood that we don't play violent games and that she was interested in creating a space for G.  I love that family.  I hope their boys turn out ok.  But we obviously have different opinions on what is appropriate for kids media.

I am so grateful that G lets us keep him young.  He still watches a lot of shows that are targeted at a younger audience.  While many boys are getting into violent and misogynistic media G is still playing games that are appropriate for all of our children.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

G has a CI

G has a CI and it's important to me that he learns to sign and speak.
Recently his CI was broken and Florida Medicaid no longer has a contract
with Cochlear Americas.  None of the CI companies can work with Florida
Medicaid.  Thank you Governor Scott! 
  So G's CI was not working for 1 month because we hadn't gone to the
ENT for 5 years and to see the Audiologist we needed to have a referral from
the ENT.  It took me 3 weeks to realize that this was the hang up.  So we saw
the ENT and Audiologist on the same day and Geoff got a loaner. 
  When they put the loaner on G he had a reaction much like you may have
seen on video if you've ever watched an activation video.  He started to tear up
and we asked "Can you hear me?"  It looks like someone being overwhelmed
with gratitude and emotion.  In G's case, and I think all cases, he was soon
able to tell us that it was too loud and that he was very uncomfortable.  Having
an electrode fire up your nerves probably feels a bit like having an electrode
firing up your nerve, go figure.  I just thought this was interesting considering
how it is often played like "Oh, you're hearing us and crying!  Hallelujah!"
  Going forward, we were still waiting for Medicaid and the Audiology clinic to
get G's CI fixed.  Another month came and went.  The loaner started to have
similar issues as G's CI, fizzing out mid day. 
  Cochlear allows families to purchase private insurance for the CI.  $500 covers
a onetime repair.  $625 covers 1 year of repairs.  $880 covers 1 year of repairs
and loss.  I am grateful for G's CI.  It provides him with a lot of access to
sound and makes our family life much easier.  We got the $880 policy, $75 a
month is worth it to us.  But I wonder how other families that don't get as good
of benefit from their CI's deal with this issue. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016


G had a great time.  His CI worked.  The other two boy in his troop were in a group together.  G was in a group with 5ish completely new kids.   He finished his blowgun first and decorated it orange and blue.  He won a chocolate easter bunny for singing a song.  He sang the Wacky-acky-acky song he learned a few years ago at cub scout camp.

G is deaf.  His life certainly has some challenges.  I'm so grateful that he can take on hard situations and have a great time.   He is unabashed and enjoys volunteering.  Scouting is a great activity for him to deal with communication and relationship situations that don't just depend on intelligence or athletic skill. 

I was initially dismayed that the two boys in his troop weren't with him but were with each other.  But G did fine.  He didn't have anyone who knows him in past settings to set expectations on his communication, or speak for him.  G can speak for himself, thank you very much!

Friday, April 15, 2016

On a limb

G is going to 11 year old scout camp tomorrow.  He has gone to cub scout camp the last 2 years with no interpreter and done great.  His CI has been acting up lately so I'm hoping he'll be ok.  It's tempting to hover and stay there all day.  But it's actually important for him to have these experiences of independence.  I love this boy so much.  I want him to always be able to have a friend and be a friend.  He has been given challenges and opportunities in life.  I'm so pleased with his ability to be independent and not fearful.  He faces challenges every day and he keeps trying.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


I just told someone that Geoff was not a math genius.  But since he has figured out how to show numbers using his fingers in binary code, I take that back.  The sigh ILY "I love you" is binary for 19.
 Grandma L recently got out this toy.  The kids have seen this picture of aunt L.  G recreated the picture.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Better than nothing

G schooled me on good attitude recently.  He's spent many hours on computer and, as always, was feeling entitled and grumpy when I told him to get off.  So he spent some time in his room.  When he came out I asked him to make some brownies.  He accidentally put 1 cup water in the mix instead of 1/4th cup.  Oops.  I didn't get too upset, but I asked him why he didn't read the recipe or do what he'd done in the past...  He said "Hey, it's better than nothing."  And he was right.  The brownies have the consistency of yorkshire pudding, but they are in fact better than nothing.  We ate them with ice cream and lP was the most enthusiastic. 

I'm pleased that G could recover his attitude and not get too discouraged about the brownies.  And I'm glad to know that it's going to be OK.

Friday, March 18, 2016


G's finally back to sound.  After 1 month and 2 days of no CI, we were able to get in and get a loaner from the Audiology clinic.  Some of the hang up was our fault, ok a lot.  Looking back I realize that we let him go too long with not seeing the ENT.  So he couldn't get in to see Audiology until we went to see the ENT.  I didn't realize quite how things were supposed to line up.  I thought we just needed a referral.  So I got a referral from the pediatrician while we were still talking to the ENT about an appointment to re-establish care.  If I'd understood things better, I would have taken the earliest ENT appointment, or even better, never have let him lapse...  Instead, I thought there was nothing to be done, so we just set up a convenient ENT appointment on March 14.  Once we had the ENT appointment, the Audiology could see us the same day and let us have the loaner.  !!

Poor G.  I didn't realize what a set back this would be to his hearing.  At the Audiologist, he was very uncomfortable when they put a functioning CI on his head.  On the internet there are videos showing people getting activated.  This was similar, he pressed his hands against his eyes and started to tear up.  In the internet movies, the adults in the room start to ask if the recipient is happy, and if they can hear.  So it looks a lot like the recipient is overcome with emotion and gratitude.  But G went on to say how it was too loud and uncomfortable.  So that helped me understand that the internet narrative is misled.  The recipient is having a nerve electronically stimulated.  That creates a sensation that is probably a little like how I feel when I'm feeling the Spirit and start to cry with an acute pain in my nasal region.

Throughout the mapping session, G needed them to lower the volume again and again.  Even when they had lowered it to the lowest point, he was still uncomfortable and hearing static.  The Audiologists said the static would go away and I was worried.  But the static did go away by the next morning.  It was possibly the way the nerve interpreted being stimulated after a long time, like pins and needles.

G is back to "hearing" but he's lost some ground on speaking.  I hope to never make this mistake again.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

super indeed

When the primary teacher asks "How can you follow God's Plan?"   G knows the answers...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

little and broken but still good

G's CI has been broken for 10 days now.  We're waiting for insurance to send a replacement.  We did learn that we can buy an insurance policy for it that is annually $650, but covers repair and replacement.  That is seriously worth it, obviously.  We just are trying to go through insurance if possible.  Usually the company is able to send us out replacements within 2 days.  But the governor of our fair state doesn't like medicaid, and didn't take the medicaid expansion.  And we have medicaid for G as well as the family insurance.  For a while the company wasn't contracted with either of his insurances.  Now they are contracted with the family insurance but not medicaid, so the family insurance cannot pay for repairs, that they would pay for, because of the medicaid. 

I've heard that you should not let people do things for you because then they will do things for you.  Such is the case in our having medicaid.

G really is deaf.  It's been educational for all of us to have to sign all the time with G.  He has become so oral at home.  I am very grateful for our sign skills.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


A while ago I let G read a parenting book that I haven't read.  3 times now he has suggested that I read it.  Once when lP was acting badly, he suggested the answer was in the book.  2 times, when he was frustrated at me picking at his speech, he stormed off, and returned with the book, telling me I really should read the book. 

G's CI is broken this week.  There has been a query going on since October to see about getting him an upgrade.  The CI he got in 2010 has been replaced about 6 times in the last 2 years because of hardware issues.  Our state medicaid is no longer contracted with the company that makes and services the device.  Wow.  Because G has medicaid, our private insurance cannot pay for the device upgrade.  Dang.

So G has been without his CI for 5 days now. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sweet boy

G was reading this book, for the 3rd time(!) and asked to hold L.  I took a picture because it was so cute.  Then B came along and wanted in on the action.  I love these sweet boys.

Today as the kids were watching videos on the website, a talk came on about dramatic priesthood blessing.  G was touched to the point of tears.  His leg also cramped at about this same point so when he stood up, he seemed grumpy.  But after stumbling away he said it was the Holy Ghost that made him cry.  I love that boy.


I wanted to make jam, and like always, I realized I didn't have quite enough sugar.  Rather than go to the store I asked G to calculate ...