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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Snow, Thanksgiving, and the beginning of Christmas!

Brody has been a busy little boy! We had our first snow day of the November! Brody absolutely loved the snow this year! He was highly upset when he woke up and saw the snow had melted a few days later.

We got to spend sometime last month with Grammy and Papa Tom (Jordan's parents). Brody is just a tad obsessed with his Papa Tom. Last week after I had to listen to him cry about Papa Tom and phone for the 30 minute ride home, we FaceTimed Papa Tom. Brody was beside himself. He kept showing him the ornaments on the Christmas tree!

The Masseys have made a tradition of going to Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. They have just opened then, and there is hardly any line to wait in.

We spent Thanksgiving at my Aunt Penny and Uncle Rotcher's house in Charlotte, NC. Brody had so much fun with my cousins! So much fun that he refused to nap on Thanksgiving and passed out soon after we finished.

We were invited to attend the Kosair Charities Christmas Party through Brody's school,VIPS. Forget Santa and everything Christmas-y there. Brody was in love with Buddy the bat from the Louisville Bats baseball team. He followed him around and danced with him. When it was time for Buddy to leave, Brody threw a major fit and was so upset. Looks like we well be going to some baseball games this year to see Buddy!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Moooooo! I want candy please!

Brody had a fun Halloween season! He attended 4 trick-or-treats before Halloween night trick-or-treating. I bought his cow costume back in September at one of the consignment sales. I would love to make him a hanade costume, but I don't have the time or craftiness. Store bought it is! He refused to put on the costume. Like literally screaming bloody murder whenever I would show it to him. So of course Papa Brown decided he also needed a cow costume. 

We went to the Louisivlle Zoo's Halloween event. I haven't really been a big fan of it in past years, but they redid the course this year and I liked it a lot better. Brody was happy to put the cow costume on when he saw Papa Brown in his. Brody kept saying "two cows." We worked all week on saying "trick-or-treat," but it was too hard. He mastered "I want candy please." We by-passed all the characters this year. There were long lines and we had just seen them at Disney this summer. He was on a mission for candy and didn't seem to notice them. He did pause for about 30 minutes to dance with the Chi Omegas that we're having a dance party. He was smitten with one girl in particular. Lady's man. 

Jordan and I had a million weddings this fall. While we were at one of them, my parents took Brody to the VIPS trunk or treat. He put the costume on right away when they reminded him he would get candy. Way to a boys heart!

Brody also got to trick-or-treat at his VIPS preschool and at his Heuser Plaugroup. They went around the school at both places to practice knocking on the doors and trick-or-treating. I'm pretty sure he had fun although the pictures don't look like it. 

On Halloween night, Jordan got caught up at work and was late getting home. Brody handed out candy while he was waiting. He loved it until the teenagers started coming around with masks on. He decided that if he held onto the doorknob he would be safe though. If they had a mask, he refused to give them candy. I asked the neighbor if he could take his off to show Brody that it was pretend. Of course I picked the kid who had zombie makeup underneath the mask. He's not a fan at all. We went down the street when Jordan got home, in the freezing cold. About 5 houses in, Brody got a sucker and was done with trick-or-treating. I forced him to go to the three neighbors we know that we hadn't been to yet and then we headed in to get warm. 

He learned a lot of new vocabulary and is using it. When we pulled up to my parents house after Halloween, he said "pumpkin all gone." I was able to understand him out of context and not looking at him!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Brody is loving school!

I am getting really bad at updating this blog...if only my husband liked to write more (because he's much better at it than I am)! Brody has been staying super busy lately. He has added a day to VIPS (Visionally Impaired Preschool Services) in Louisville. He is now going on Monday and Thursday mornings. Side mom took him on Monday to the ophthalmologist, Dr. John Franklin. Dr. Franklin said that Brody's eyes are looking really good right now! He gave him a series of tests that included identifying pictures. Not only was Brody able to hear and understand what to do :) he also was able to see what he needed to see to pass the tests. We don't have to go back to see Dr. Franklin for a year! Although Brody's vision is okay right now, he gets to go to VIPS because of his diagnosis. Our goal of him being there was that he would learn skills to help him later with the vision loss. He is also around peers his age that talk! Brody has been feeling the books to see if there's Braille. He has also been using sticks like white canes. Clearly our goal is being met!

Brody also attends the hearing impaired playgroup that is at Heuser (where I teach). He goes there one day a week for 2 hours. He walks in like he owns the building. It just confirms that he never needs to be in my classroom! Jordan and I took Brody to Cincinnati for his year post implant appointment. We saw Ms. Bridget, the speech therapist that has been following him. She gave him an evaluation and based her answers off of what we reported and what she saw. Brody scored around 22 months. He's only 27 months. Being 5 months behind and only a year of hearing...I'll take it! Then we went and saw Dr. Micheal Scott, Brody's audiologist. Dr. Scott (who we love and I highly recommend to anyone and everyone) put Brody in the sound booth. Brody did awesome with his listening tasks. First they did some "conditioned play." This involves holding a toy, waiting until you heave the sound, then doing a task with the sound. They switched it up a few times because Brody would get bored. They put rings on a stacker, cars down a track, balls in a bucket, and pegs in a board. Then, dr. Scott gave Brody the WIPI. It's a speech perception test. It looks at Brody's understanding of words he hears. There are four black and white pictures on a page. Some of them rhyme, so you have to listen carefully. Brody only kissed a few! He finished the whole booklet too. He missed school (which when he was asked what it was, he said house.). He switched coat and goat. He missed gun and gum (we don't have accessible to him). He missed another one that I can't remember. Over all, Brody was a star patient! While Brody is listening and doing these tasks, the audiologist is plotting where he is hearing. Brody is hearing between 10-15 decibels (dB). This is normal hearing. Like he can hear leaves rustling and birds chirping. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!

Brody is also attending Bible Study Fellowship with my mom on Wednesday mornings. So he has the hearing impaired kids, vision impaired kids, and typical kids. He is exposed to a little of everything. Hopefully, it will keep him well balanced. 

His speech is improving little by little everyday. At the store, a lady was able to understand him! His speech still isn't the clearest, but when you are around him and know the context, you know what he's saying! He has learned the "I want..." phrase. He is carrying it over and using it for a lot of different objects. "I want a book." "I want nanana (banana)." "I want ink (drink) ease (please)." "I want ew (shoe)." He is also searching for hints and people. He will say "ear-cha (where'd ya) go?" If he finds you/it, he'll say "Ear (there/here-we aren't sure which) you are." He's using mama and dad (some times dad-o). He knows Papa (Brown and Tom) and grandma. He is starting to say Sara as well. 

He has always loved to sing songs. He is starting to fill in the words now!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy Birthday to Brody's ears!

Happy "hear"iversary Brody! In the cochlear implant world, the day your processor is activated, your ears are "newborn." Aka they are 0. So while Brody is almost 27 months old, his ears are 12 months old as of today. If you think about what a year old baby is doing (figuring in some advancement due to his actual age), Brody is doing pretty amazingly!

I even got Jordan to "guest post" for this special day...

It’s hard to believe it has only been one year since the day we went to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to get Brody’s Cochlear Implants activated. So many emotions went through me at that time. Fear, anxiety, happiness, excitement…everything was pretty overwhelming.
Looking back at it now, I can honestly say the support of my wife (Katie) is what got me through it all. I kind of felt like I had a personal CI/deaf expert that was always with me! I may not have asked Katie many questions, but just knowing that she had background with deaf kids and Cochlear Implants helped me tremendously.

Enough about MY experience, this is after all, all about the Brody Monster! Over the course of 1 year I have watched my son grow from a little baby to a little boy. His personality is starting to show through more & more the older he gets. Seeing your own child start to become a walking & talking little person is a very fun experience. He has plenty of bumps and bruises from being a typical toddler. Chasing the dog, doing somersaults, and singing/dancing to Mickey Mouse are some of his favorite things right now. He’s even started gymnastics to help with his balance and coordination….or maybe it was for all the built-up energy! The greatest thing I’ve been able to see is his speech & listening development.

The combination of services & therapy has made Brody excel in only 12 months after being implanted. His listening skills still amaze me and they get better & better every month. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t think it would be this quick to get results from the Cochlear Implants. Being profoundly deaf and getting no benefit from hearing aids was essentially starting Brody at a hearing level of 0 until the Implants were activated. From day 1, Katie & I were adamant that Brody wear his sound processors at all waking hours. I think this has paid off. Brody really understands that the processors are very important and without them he cannot listen to anyone or anything around him. Of course, 2 year-olds tend to test their parents so we have had to deal with processors being thrown and a little boy with a mischievous grin waving them out of our reach.

Brody’s speech continues to improve. He is putting words and phrases together. He will still use some sign language if he doesn’t think we understand him, but for the most part he is completely oral. He likes to mimic everyone and even has tried singing a couple of times! It’s fun to see what new words and phrases he comes up with every week. It really is amazing how quickly he picks things up.

In the end, it has been well worth it. Over a year later, I have no regrets about getting Bi-lateral Cochlear Implants for Brody. I have seen his progress. I have seen him turn and smile when I call his name. I have listened to him say “I love you, dad”. This wonderful technology has helped Brody to adapt to the hearing world that he will inevitably have to face on his own. Katie and I wanted to give Brody the best opportunity to thrive on his own. I hope as he gets older he will agree with the tough decisions that his mom & dad had to make when he was just a baby. In the meantime, we will continue to help him succeed and help him to be the best self-advocate he can be.

Happy Birthday to Brody’s Cochlear Implants…they deserve it.

Enjoying a hot fudge sundae to celebrate!

Friday, August 29, 2014

A year since surgery!

Its been an entire year since surgery! I can't believe it! In the last year, Brody has caught up to his peers with his listening skills. That means that he is a normal two year old when it comes to understanding what is being said to him. He can follow two step directions. He can hear the dog barking outside and go to the door to tell him to be quiet. Brody can hear one of his songs on the radio and start doing the motions along to it. He can laugh when people around him are laughing and show sympathy when he hears a baby crying (or starts pretending to cry to make fun of them...he is two). Best of all, he can hear me say "I love you" and responds with "uh oo." The speech is coming. Slowly, but coming along nicely!

This past year has brought a lot of firsts. Starting with the surgery. We were the first family that we personally knew who had both ears done at the same time. That left a lot of questions that we only could have answered by the doctors. I would have much rather talked with a friend about what was going to happen. The surgery was just over 5 hours. That's a lot of waiting and worrying. Of course Brody was in excellent hands with Dr. Choo, but it was still my little baby in surgery! Then we worried about the healing process. Brody healed perfectly! Lots of prayers went up for his activation day. Two weeks after surgery. Would the implants work? Would he hear? What would his reaction be? Being in the field, I knew that his reaction would not be like the you tube videos. But I thought we would maybe get at least a smile. Nothing...and then crying...then nothing...then ripping it off his head, over and over...then nothing. It took a few days and a few program changes before we saw any progress or even any reaction. Look how far he's come!

In listening therapy today with Ms. Shelby, Brody was imitating 2 and 3 syllable words and phrases. He is also starting to use words and phrases that are routine or reoccurring phrases that we use a lot.

And of course Brody is "reading" some of his Grandma made books! Memory people...he's not really reading!

Thank you Dr. William House for this awesome invention! We are forever in your debt for changing our lives!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Little Catch Up...

We have had a crazy (busy and fun) couple of weeks in the Fromholt house! We attended the Coleman Family Reunion in Pamplin, VA. Pamplin is located close to Appomattox and the historical Appomattox court house. Last year when we went to the reunion, we toured all of the historical sites around the town for Jordan to see since it was his first time. This time, it was a girls plus Brody trip, so we stuck to visiting the family on the farm. My great Uncle Spencer and his wife Jane now live on the farm that was once my Great Great Grandfather's (we called him Old Old Granddaddy). Spencer and Jane have renovated the farm and it is beautiful! Brody loved swimming with the "big kids" in their swimming pool. He also thought he was cool stuff playing in the rock driveway and with the 2nd and 3rd cousins. Over all, we had 72 people and 5 dogs attend the reunion!

Jordan and I took Brody to the Louisville Slugger Museum (the bat museum as it is commonly called around here).  He was just a tad too young to enjoy it. There was a little toddler section that he enjoyed a "batting cage" and running around.

Brody had a "date" to the Louisville Zoo with one of my friend's daughters. He was having an awesome time until the gorilla decided to come up to the glass. He was then petrified of all of the animals for the rest of the zoo. He loved loved loved the little splash park at the zoo. It was the first time we had done it! Then, we saw more animals which again reminded him of the gorilla. He perked up a little big on the train, but wasn't too excited to still be that close to the animals...oops!

We were fortunate to spend the weekend with a wonderful woman who the world lost this past week. Jordan's Grandma Winkle baby sat Brody for us while we were at a rehearsal dinner two week ago. We had not seen her in a few months and were happy to spend the time with her. She had so much fun with Brody and Brody loved being at her house! She passed away way too early in life. We will all miss her terribly!

That weekend, Brody also got to see his Uncle Josh and Aunt Jodi. They went to Enter-train-ment Junction. Not sure who had more fun, Brodes or his Aunt and Uncle. They went to eat afterwards and sent this picture.

Brody's speech has been coming along nicely! He surprised me and imitated "yellow" the other day. He says it pretty good on his own now! He is also saying what sounds like other color words. "Blue" and "white" are pretty clear, the others are still only recognizable by me or if you know that he is talking about the colors.

Brody got the new Aqua+ from Cochlear. It is like the aquabags, except it fits on the ear a lot easier. My guess is that it feels at lot better than a plastic bag on your ear as well. He loves it! We just got one since they are kind of expensive, but the other one is ordered and should be here soon. Brody loved the baby pool and we hung out in it most of the time during the last week of summer!

We went back to the Louisville Zoo again with some of the teachers and their kids from my school. Brody had fun until we got the the gorillas. Brody remembered what that crazy gorilla did before and started hiding in his stroller before we even made it to the window. He refused to look at the rest of the animals. He perked up again for the train!

Jordan went on his annual baseball trip with a few of his fraternity brothers. This time they went to Los Angelos and San Diego. Still jealous of this trip! Brody and I had fun together all alone! (Grandma and Papa Brown were also out of town!)

Daddy brought Otis and Brody hats from the Dodger's game. Aka nacho and ice cream containers. Brody wasn't a fan, but Otis seems to like it!

Jordan's fraternity from college (Theta Chi) hosts an alumni golf tournament back in Richmond, KY every year around this time. Brody and I dropped Jordan and his friend off at the golf course then went garage sale shopping! Brody got a lot of cool stuff...then had a two year old melt down in some really nice lady's driveway. We headed back to meet one of my best friends and her little cousin at Casa Fiesta (always have to stop back there when we are in Richmond). Shortly after lunch, Brody crashed in the car until the golf tournament was finished. Brody brought his golf club (an awesome birthday present from Uncle Jake and Aunt Sarah) and got to go putting with Jordan!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Forget Mickey Mouse...Bring on Donald Duck!

I'll post on the AGBell Conference later this week, but I knew people would want to hear about Brody and Disney World first! Brody was awesome in the car! I had a huge box of books, a box of toys, and the iPad full of his apps and movies.

We stopped over in Atlanta half way down and went to the Georgia Aquarium. Brody loved the fish. Jordan wanted to be a Marine Biologist growing up, therefore, we stop at every zoo or aquarium when we travel. The Georgia Aquarium is huge! Brody's favorite part was the dolphin show. He sat and watched the entire thing which is amazing for him to attend to anything other than Mickey Mouse for more than 5 minutes.

Don't worry...Otis got to come along too!

We got to Orlando early the next morning and headed to the Orlando Children's Museum. If you ever have a chance to take your kids, we highly recommend it! We enjoyed it as much as Brody did!  They have a Toddler town that had a miniature town in it. Brody was actually interacting with the other kids in the playhouse. They also had a miniature orange orchard. There were too many kids in a cramped area for this part, or it would have been more exciting. They also had a weather room and a hands on engineer room.

We met up with Grandma and Papa Brown and went on to Disney World! We went to Magic Kingdom the first two days. Aunt Sara met us the second day.

Aladin and Jasmine were the first characters we met. Brody just stared at them.
You can't tell from this picture, but Brody loved the Jungle Cruise!

He held on for dear life on all of the rides.

Signing squirrel with Snow White when she was talking about all of her forest friends.
Brody was just tall enough for his first roller coaster...The Barnstormer! He loved it. It was actually a pretty twisty roller coaster and I had to grab his processors before they flew over the side!

Brody LOVED Donald Duck!

Grandma had made Brody a book with all of the characters in it. We showed him the characters before we went to see them hoping that it would cut down on him be scared of them. It worked! He even showed the book to Donald Duck who got down on the floor and read it with him!

Donald got mad when he saw that his picture was the smallest out of all of them!

We went to see story time with Belle. Brody got to be in the "show" as the salt shaker. He ended it by throwing it at Belle and running true 2 year old fashion! Oops!
 We went to Epcot, which you would think didn't have a lot for kids, but we were wrong. Brody had so much fun!

Brody loves Mickey Mouse! Mickey saw Brody's processors and signed to me to ask if Brody signed. I said a little bit. Mickey then introduced himself and started signing with Brody! Too cool!
Here's Mickey signing to Brody, but it is really blurry. Grandma was watching Brody and not the camera screen...I guess we can't be upset :)

Brody with some characters.

Brody cared more about seeing Aunt Sara outside than he did about seeing Buzz and Woody.

He wasn't too sure about Minnie...

Donald Duck at Chef Mickey's Character Breakfast

Posing with Goofy

Video of Chef Mickey's

Right before his meltdown on the Safari ride. He looks so peaceful!

Brody fell asleep right before we got to have our turn to see Baloo and King Louie. They had fun with him anyway.

The hotel across from ours was the Art of Animation. They had a who Cars display. Someone was in heaven!


Brody loving the rides!

Brody loved all of the music around Disney World. He started dancing a lot more this week!

We left Disney and went to an Orange Orchard. It was so much fun! I highly recommend it to anyone that wants something else to do in Orlando. It was about 5 miles from Disney.

After Orlando, we headed to Tampa to stay with one of Jordan's fraternity brothers from College. Biggs got Brody (aka Jordan and himself) some poppers and sparklers for July 4th. Brody loved it! No fear!

We went to the Tampa Zoo while we were there. The park was pretty old and run down, but for the price, it was worth it. They have a merry-go-round, roller coaster, log flume, and safari ride. Brody really likes merry-go-rounds. It gives him a lot of vestibular input (any spinning or turning in circles helps). He was too short for the roller coaster and log flume. The safari ride was pretty neat. They took you on a little tram through some of the animals cages. We go to see some bongo and antelopes up close. Also some birds...don't remember what kind. They looked like storks.  They also took you up close behind the elephant and rhino cages. Really neat!

We also went to the beach one day. Last year, we went to VA Beach. Brody wasn't much of a fan. This year he loved it!! We had the aqua bags from Cochlear for Brody to use. We've been using them for aqua therapy and he loves being able to hear. The processors are water resistant but not completely waterproof. The bags help with more protection. We didn't wear them into the ocean though. I was too afraid of it floating out to sea to be lost forever!