Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

My dearest, darling-est, wonderful friend Leaca heard I was going to send out my Christmas card with no picture, so she was so kind to take this picture for us during church - and then make this uber cute card from it.

If you don't get a card from me then I don't have your address in my computer.  I will post my letter on the blog later, after those of you who get a card read yours.  They're late.  So sorry.  Love you all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The update from the audiologist

Brenden, Ethan and I made a trip to Anchorage Monday through Wednesday for some visits to the audiologist.  Brenden boarded the plane, which was about this big:

and loudly asked, "Will there be a movie?"  To tell you how ridiculous that is: there are nine row of seats, each with one seat on either side of the aisle and then a row of three seats in the back of the plane.  It feels a little like what I would expect a military plane would - no frills, just a metal tube with some seats.  The flight is just under 25 minutes.  Brenden then asked, "Well, is there at least FOOD!?"  When I told him no, he wanted to start unpacking his bags and look for something to do.  When I again told him "No," he said, "I have to do NOTHING!?  NOTHING!?"  He didn't do nothing - he talked... LOUDLY the entire flight.  Ethan sat quietly and never made so much as a peep.  Our flight was very bumpy and my rear end left my seat completely at least once.

We arrived at the hotel around 8:30, but the kids were wired and refused to sleep.  Brenden was over on his bed doing some kid of Tai Chi (which he called "exercising") and Ethan was totally enthralled by it and tried to repeat it from our bed.  When I had finally had enough (about 10:30), I told Brenden to lay down and stay still.  He threw himself down on his bed and exclaimed, "But THAT is NOT my DESTINY!"  I eventually had to go over and hold him down and I think I fell asleep before he did.

The next morning we saw our neighbors at breakfast and then headed off to the audiologist in a cab (which meant I was hauling bags, children, and car seats).  Ethan's poor hearing results were a repeat of last time which means it's really as bad as we thought it was.  The bad news is that his hearing aids are already maxed out, so even with them, he is essentially hearing nothing.  We did lots - and lots - of testing to make sure all of his hearing and speech perception are properly documented so we don't end up with another denial.  The audiologist was telling me how impressed she is with Ethan's use of various clues (environmental, syllable, intonation...) in order to know what we are talking about.  He does a great job for as little as he hears.

Brenden was tested and his implants are still pretty good, so they weren't programmed.

We spent a short break back at the hotel where Ethan had a brief nap and then we took another cab to the ENT.  Brenden was documenting how many cabs and shuttles we took.  The ENT said Ethan has some kind of issue with his middle ear and may need a tube put in the right ear when he has the cochlear implant surgery if we can't get his ear drum cleared up.  When I went up in November, the audiologist thought Ethan had an ear infection so we gave him a round of antibiotics, but the ENT said that whatever it is right now has obviously been there a while.  His eardrum is milky white with red around the edges.  He wasn't certain it was an infection, but definitely something wrong.  Ethan is now on a three week round of strong antibiotics in hopes it is clear in time for surgery (whenever that is).  After looking at the CT scan, the doctor diagnosed Ethan with LVAS (or EVA or LVA or VAS or any number of other acronyms), which is the same thing Brenden has.  We pretty much knew he had it, but it was never officially diagnosed.  When I told the audiologist this information the next morning, she was excited because with this diagnosis, it will be easier to authorize surgery.

That night, we swam, watched a movie, and ate popcorn together in bed.  It was a fun, bonding time for us.

Wednesday morning we saw Nolan's gymnastics teacher at breakfast.  Brenden had a brief appointment and then we packed up our stuff and headed back to the airport.  Our flight was not quite as turbulent, but the boys giggled most of the way.  I imagine to them it was better than any roller coaster or bumper cars combined.  Ethan especially just thought that was the most fun thing ever.  We were happy to get home and go pick up Nolan.

Nolan stayed with the Young family Monday evening until Doug was off work and then stayed with the Ley Family Tuesday and Wednesday.  Nolan had a great time playing wii and wandering around taking pictures at the Young's house.  Nolan always has fun with the Leys as well.  They are like his second family here in Alaska.

I know that Nolan felt left out when we left him behind.  He was sad.  I was trying to keep him from thinking about the fact that we were going to a hotel with a pool and restaurant.  I just kept telling him it was going to be doctors, doctors, doctors.  Brenden was the one who had to rub it in that we would be swimming and watching t.v. in a hotel.  Nolan is such a strong little boy though.  Although I could tell that he was bothered by it, he never said anything.  Doug said he noticed it too.  Nolan was certainly excited when we picked him up though.  We are all happy to be home.

Tonight is the big night.  Doug and I were up building Brenden's present last night and need to finish it up tonight.  Nolan's present hasn't even been started.  It might be a long night!  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Anchorage - again.

I'm off to Anchorage!  Wish me luck!

Friday, December 18, 2009

School Pictures

I think this was taken back in September, but I never posted it.

I think he's just one of the three cutest things ever.

Last week Nolan asked me to play with him and I told him I needed to make dinner.  He said, "Let the oven make dinner while you come play with me."  Funny how things work out in little minds.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reason for Denial

1. His hearing loss is not significant enough.  (Not true.)

2. There is no proof of auditory delay.  (Not true.)

The audiologist already appealed it, but we realized that we get new insurance in January anyway, so we will have to start over with authorization from them.  We think our current insurance is just trying to put off authorization until we are off of their coverage.  So now everything is pushed back.  We can't start the authorization process again until January, which was when he was supposed to be having surgery, if not the end of December.

The speech therapist did some developmental testing Tuesday.  Ethan was extremely grumpy and uncooperative, so he failed beautifully - thus giving the insurance proof of auditory delay.

I am disappointed with the whole turn of events.  I want everything in the world for him and he is really missing out.  When his hearing aids aren't in, he is desperate for them.  He stops talking and gets into more trouble.  I sometimes wonder if he has a theory that if he can't hear me, I can't hear him.

We head to the audiologist next week - Tuesday and Wednesday.  We will also see the ENT while we are there.  I still can't figure out why we need to see him - other than so that they can take my money - but supposedly it is just to develop a relationship with them - just incase we have any trouble after surgery.  In my mind, having a relationship with an ENT will do us no good if we end up in the ER in Soldtona - 3 hours away.  BUT, I am doing what I'm told, just like my mom taught me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Our insurance denied Ethan cochlear implants today.  I guess we'll see where things go from here...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Concert

Oh, I'm sorry, I suppose that should say Holiday Concert, but I refuse to call it that.  Ok, they did include a Hanukkah song.  Brenden brought home a paper from school that said he needed to wear his "Holiday Best."  I told him that meant his suit and we fought over it for about a week.  The day of the concert, Brenden wore a polo shirt to school and came home and told me that it would be fine to wear because it had buttons on it.  Nope.  Then he tried to convince me a button up shirt would be perfect.  When I said no to that, he was sure a sweater was the answer.  In the end, I dragged him to his room and personally dressed him in his suit.

Ethan waiting

Nolan waiting

Doug and Gavin (who could be mistaken for Nolan) waiting

Actually, the other day Gavin and Nolan were mistaken for being the same person.  We went to the swimming pool and were waiting in line for the slide.  I had Ethan with me and Tiffany had Gavin.  Gavin can't go down by himself because he is too short (we stood him up next to the height indicator).  The next time around, I had Nolan with me and I stood him in front of the height thing and the girl who runs the slide said, "Wait, is that the same kid?" because he was suddenly about six inches taller and that meant tall enough to go all by himself.  But, back to the original purpose of the post...  Christmas concert.
Brenden is in the middle row between the other boy in the suit and the girl in the black and white dress.

Brenden sang "Hanukkah Lights" with a small group of kids.

They performed The 12 Alaskan Days.
Brenden was "Four Flying Eagles."

I don't know how to put videos on with the new blogger formatting without also having to upload them to YouTube, so I'll have to work on that.  Brenden was awful cute.  Quite a few of our friend's kids were in the program as well.  So, friends, I have pictures of your kids if you want any of them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Nolan just told me, "I love you in pieces."  I love him to pieces too, but not necessarily IN pieces.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving, Snow, and Gymnastics

11/7 - I thought this was entirely too cute not to take a picture of:

11/24 - I cut the boys hair and Doug took pictures.  Ethan was first and Doug missed the haircut, but caught the shower.
This is the same way Doug stands in the shower
(if you care to know)

Ethan loves his showers

Notice the hair all over Nolan's shoulders

When they're done, I vacuum them off.


We had Thanksgiving this year with our friends the Quiners.  Last year their daughter Cecily was in Brenden's class at school and this year their son Boden is in his class.  They have a son Liam who is a little older than Nolan and a son Thayne that is 4 days older than Ethan - and then 2 more kids than that. Yes, that makes 6, but it makes for lots of great playmates for our boys.  Poor Cecily was the only girl with 8 boys.  She survived though.

Angeline had asked what we were doing for Thanksgiving and invited us to have Thanksgiving with them.  It sounded fun, so we split up the food and then spent the whole day together.  We have two ovens, so the event was at our house.  The kids had fun playing, and occasionally fighting.  While they played, we played Bananagrams, a game Angeline has been telling me about for a long time.  Liam left a great, lasting impression when his dinner made an exit on the basement carpet.  Ethan must have watched closely because two days later he did the same thing in his bedroom.

The Ley family (minus Jeremy, who was taking a warm vacation) joined us later in the evening for desert (of which we had tons), the Quiners left, and then the Ley kids and mine just kind of crashed everywhere all over the house.  They left sometime late the next morning.  I love having friends!

11/29 - I came upstairs and found Ethan making himself a sandwich.

The many faces of Ethan:

Don't they look exactly alike?

12/2 it finally snowed enough to really go play in it.  The buses were 2 hours late, so after digging Doug out of the driveway and digging my car out of the garage, I took Brenden to school and he was still 1/2 hour late.  We had started digging an hour and a half earlier.  After we dropped him off, the other boys and I came home, bundled up, and went out to play.

Ethan was more interested in eating the snow

Nolan enjoyed sledding

Nolan tried to clean off the slide

When Brenden came home, Nolan went out to play with him

12/2 Nolan had gymnastics and I finally remembered to take my camera.

And it's finally Ethan's turn to do the waiting and watching