Sunday, October 30, 2011

Update on the Viv

 ~ Another picture from Yellowstone last week ~

Vivian seemed a tad unsettled this week.  As I look back over the week, I guess I can see why.

Tuesday brought her 4-month well baby check at the pediatrician's office.  Thankfully, it was a Super Yaya day, so she was able to assist.  She weighed in at 13 lbs, 6 oz...right at the middle of the growth chart.  That's my girl.  The appointment also brought lots of things that Yaya was not so happy to have to witness:

  • 4 immunizations including three shots and one oral
  • one urine sample for analysis related to trying to pinpoint or rule out causes for her hearing loss (Luckily, she peed in the little stick-on bag right as the doctor was saying they could just catheterize her.  Apparently, all you have to say is, "catheterize" and even a baby will pee immediately.)
  • one large (for a baby anyway) tube of blood for another test ordered by the ENT doctor.  I didn't realize that they take blood from their arm just like they do on adults.  Good thing Mr. Yost wasn't there...let's just say he doesn't do well with that particular body fluid.

She was a champ through all of it.  By the time we were checking out of the office she was back to her sweet, smiley self.

The next day was her first follow-up for her hearing aids.  Everything has been going pretty smoothly with them up to this point.  We've had to change batteries twice and should probably be cleaning them more often than we do.  The only real concern we had was that she was getting a lot of the whistling, feedback noise.  It is caused by the sound that is getting amplified escaping before it gets all the way into her ear. To fix it, the audiologist decided to do new ear mold impressions.  This time she did them a little deeper and they are supposed to have some kind of extra thing (we can't remember what she called it) that will help them stay in her ears more tightly.  Since it will take about two weeks for them to come in, she turned down the amplification to reduce the feedback for the time being.

Let's see, what else...oh yeah, she's had a quite a bugger of a cold.  Runny nose, goopy eye, etc.  She is back to sleeping in the swing to keep her more upright.  Otherwise, the congestion keeps her up all night.

As if all of that wasn't enough, what did I discover this morning? Teeth!!!  Yep, two little chompers poking through her bottom gums. Here's hoping for a less traumatic week for our little Vivers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We *heart* Yellowstone - Blast from the past

Our day trip to Yellowstone last weekend reminded me of a very similar trip Mr. Yost and I took in July, 2003.  Here are some pics from that trip...

The same: Mr. Yost's zest for life
Different:  Mr. Yost's hang time

 The same:  Lamar Valley (Serengeti of the West)
Different: My bangs

 The same:  Still have that North Face fleece
Different: The opportunity to lay your head on a rock and relax

The same:  We love day trippin
Diferrence: We ALL love day trippin

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We *heart* Yellowstone Park

One of the joys of being a Montana Mama is getting to do things like taking day trips to Yellowstone Park.  We wanted to get one more trip in before the weather turned cold.  It was a perfect day...very few people, nice crisp fall weather and generally happy kids. 

After a picnic lunch we all explored the surroundings.  We saw lots of evidence of large wildlife, but luckily we didn't actually see any while we were out of the car.  Those Yellowstone bears have caused some fear in my heart that has never been there before.  I think bear spray will be on one of our Christmas lists this year.  This was Vivian's second trip to Yellowstone, but her first with her "ears on" as we are starting to say.  She was a doll!  A little sleeping, a little eating and some smiling at her reflection in the headrest mirror.

 Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam...

 Hello Beartooths!

 Shhhh...I don't want to spill the beans on a fantastic swimming hole that we discovered.  All I can say is that it was right next to where they are walking.  We will definitely be going back next summer when the weather is warmer.

 By three o'clock, the kids were craving ice cream and we were craving coffee.  We drove by this little place in Cooke City and low and behold, it was actually open.  I splurged on an espresso float - yowzers, it was good!  It was one of those special little places that we will remember and hopefully visit again. 

 On our way back to Gardiner, we ran across this fella (and about  20 of his ladies) in the middle of the road.  The kids were freaking out, Mr. Yost was snapping pictures and I was reveling in the Yellowstoness of it all.  Stella keeps telling everyone that we got caught in a "major bison jam."

After a decent dinner at Outlaw Pizza in Gardiner, we jammied up in the back of the Sienna.  Yes, we are those people with the back of the van open and half-naked children bouncing around.  We wouldn't have it any other way!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A few fav kid apps

Have I mentioned how I really love our iPad? Oh yes, I believe have devoted almost as much blog press to it as our daughter's hearing loss. That is a little messed up. Nevertheless, here I go again.

One of the iPad's best features is the range and quality of apps for kids. It amazes me every time I see Stella and Hudson navigating their way through the software. Another thing I like about apps -- they don't take up any physical space in our house! Also, we can buy a new one as a special treat or reward without having to enter a retail outlet which inevitably leads to other purchases.

Here are a few of our favs:

Ages: 4+ (Hudson watches it with Stella, but I think most of it is a little over his head)
Of all the apps we have so far, this one is my favorite. It is an educational app that has a 2-3 minute video everyday about various topics. Some examples include The Nobel Prize, black holes, and pasteurization. After the kids (okay, or adults) watch the video, you can take a quiz to see how much you learned. You could also take it before, see how much you do or don't know already and then watch the video. The characters in every video are a silly cartoon guy named Tim and a robot named Moby that only says, "beep." Somehow, it all comes together to make an incredibly cohesive package that explains complex topics in an easy to understand format. If I were a homeschooler, we would watch this app each morning, call the school day done and then play for the rest of the day!

Bartleby's Book of Buttons Vol 1: The Far Away Sea
*$0.99?* - I think it was more than that when we originally bought it
Ages: 3+
This is one of the apps that highlights the amazing things programmers can do on the iPad. It is part book, part game, part puzzle. On each page, you have to figure out what buttons to push or switches to toggle in order to get a "green light" to be able to go to the next page. It is another one that is fun for kids and adults. They just released Volume 2 this month which costs $3.99. We haven't purchased it yet. I'm trying to think of a good chore that I could ask the kids to do and then bribe, I mean incentivize, them with getting the next volume.

Drawing Pad
Ages: 1+
Again, this app highlights what is so captivating about getting to play on the iPad. It is very simple and intuitive to use. You basically open the app, choose your paper, choose a writing utensil and draw, scribble or paint away. The graphics for the crayons and markers are so lifelike that I feel like I'm opening a brand new Crayola box every time. You can also add shapes and stickers or draw on top of a photo that is saved on your iPad. One of the neat features is that you can save the kid's drawings and then either print, email or post them right to Facebook. I like it because it truly is a blank slate that allows incredible creativity. Oh, and I like that you can't actually draw on household items. Say for instance, like someone drawing on our nice oak end table with a blue Sharpie...not that I am upset about that or anything.

If you have any favorites, feel free to comment and tell me about them. Hopefully I'll review a few more favs every month or so.

- Posted by Montana Mama using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hearing aids - the first days

It has been hard to find time to sit down and reflect on Vivian's first days.  I wonder why?

Hear are a few more pictures and details from the actual appointment.

I like this picture a lot.  It captures the fact that she is hearing the sound of Mr. Yost's voice and turning towards it. 
The little animal that Mr. Yost is holding is Otto the otter.  He is the OtiKids mascot that came with Vivian's hearing aids.  Otto has his own little set of hearing aids that velcro to his ears.  It has been fun to watch Stella and Hudson play with Otto and his hearing aids.  They enjoy getting to play with them and touch them.  It seems to satisfy their curiosity without having to touch the real things.  Hudson, in particular, has taken quite a liking to Otto.  He calls him Otis, the bear - don't argue with a three-year-old. 

Here is a view from the back.  How cute is her little bald spot with the hearing aids sticking out on the sides?
This is a good look at the whole hearing aid from the side.  You can see the clear ear mold, the tube that connects the pieces and the actual hearing aid that goes behind her little hear.  The pink part houses the microphone on the top and the battery compartment that rests on the back of her ear. 

Since Wednesday we've had many positive experiences of her reacting to new sounds.  Today I was working in Stella & Hudson's room while listening to Miles Davis.  She was laying on Hudson's bottom bunk with her head turned toward the CD player, eyes open and stayed perfectly still for about 10 minutes.  It has also been fun to watch her realize that the toys on all her baby apparati make noise. 

The days haven't been without some challenges.  Like on Thursday night when she was laying on the floor while we were making dinner.  Within a few seconds she'd reached up to her right ear, pulled off the hearing aid and brought it straight to her mouth.  I'd honestly never thought about the fact that she could
A. choke to death on one of them
B. slobber all over a $3400 piece of sensitive technology.

Also, she seems to get tired more quickly with the overwhelming noise that accompanies two adults, a 6-year-old, a three-year-old and a cat.  As a side note, you'll notice I didn't mention the fish.  That is because
A.  Red fire scale didn't make a whole lot of noise
B.  she died this week and has been put to rest in the City of Bozeman waste water treatment plant.

Our next appointment is in a week and a half. My guess is that she will already need to get fitted for new ear molds.  We will also do some more tests to make sure that the amplification is appropriate.  For now, we will be keeping track of her reactions to different sounds and trying to keep the little things safe and sound so they keep providing our sweet girl with the best sound possible.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vivian's First Sounds

What an amazing day.

I plan to post more about her appointment later this week.

For now, I will let the video tell the story...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wednesday is hearing aid day!

Vivian's appointment is scheduled for Wednesday morning. I am feeling a whole mix of emotions - excited, anxious, apprehensive...

I am excited for her to start hearing everything she has been missing. It will be so interesting to see how she responds to our voices. I'm wondering how she will react to her own voice as well. She has started shrieking lately when she is excited. I don't remember Stella and Hudson ever being quite so vocal. It makes me wonder if she can her herself when she is makes that loud screech. While I can't wait for her to be introduced to all of the new sounds,I'm also worried about whether or not it will change her sweet little personality. She is so easy-going right now in her muffled little world. I have this picture in my mind of her with her eyes in a permanent state of shock and awe. I'm sure it won't be as dramatic as that, but she will probably get tired from all of the new stimulation. At least we will take them off at night!

Our plan is to try and video her first reactions. However, I can't promise that it will actually happen. If it does, I will post the video later this week. Otherwise, we'll at least get some pictures of her sporting her new accessories. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Does it fit?

Yesterday marked the start of the winter season in our household.  It was the annual Bridger Raptor Fest at Bridger Bowl and the purchase of the kids' season ski passes.  This year I decided to add a new tradition to the weekend.  It was a little game called, "Does it fit?"  It was followed by, "If it fits, does it have a name label in it?"  Sounds thrilling, right?  

Right after Saturday morning cartoons, Mr. Yost and I started the first round which was hats and gloves.  The game went like this:  We made a line for each individual of all the hats and gloves we'd collected from around the house.  At the end of the line was a treat, such as a small bag of M&M's.  If they made it all the way through the line, they got the treat at the end.  The other two rounds were coats & snow pants and then gear (ski boots, skis, helmets, goggles, ice skates, etc.) I wish I'd taken pictures of the mounds of things the kids tried on.  It was quite a sight.  

Stella powered through the first two rounds, got her chocolate fix and then had to be coerced into finishing the gear round.  Hudson was the opposite.  He just wanted the skis and skates...forget the hats and gloves!  All-in-all, it was very successful.  We are now ready for whatever winter wants to throw our way.

Here is Hudson towards the end of the gear round.  He is sporting cross country ski gear, animal pajamas and a downhill helmet.

Stella trying on her balaclava, goggles and sweet new helmet we bought at the end of the season last year.  We decided she has the nicest helmet of all of us now.

Ahhh...the end of "Does it fit"...wait a second, is it possible for his legs to be in that position?  Oh, to be 3 again and have joints like gumbi!

In case anyone cares, here are the labels I have for each of the kids.  I'd ordered Stella's 3 or 4 years ago. I just recently ordered sets for Hudson and Vivian.  They are from

Here are some photos from Raptor Fest:

 Stella - AKA American Kestrel
 Hudson is already taking after his Daddy - he was meant to be in the mountains.

 The icing on the cake - $5 Season Passes to Bridger Bowl  
Bring on the snow!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

10 reasons why I love my iPad - in memory of Steve Jobs

Watching my 95-year-old Grandpa light up at the sheer silliness of Angry Birds.

Boggle and Scrabble are an instant stress-reliever for Mr. Yost.

Witnessing Stella's creativity when she edits photos.

Hudson's sense of accomplishment when he finishes a puzzle or navigates to his favorite book app.

It is a great alternative to a car DVD player.

Using it in the camper to play soothing music while the kids wind down and eventually fall asleep.

Netflix whenever and wherever...there is always enough time to squeeze in an episode of Pawn Stars.

Listening to a Pandora kids station while the kids are in the tub.

Seeing Yaya use Facebook, email and surfing the web like I never thought possible.

If I fall asleep while reading my eBook, it picks up right where I left off the next time I turn it on.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad