this boy’s party

january out the door 002:: i printed out pictures of gavin’s first year and strung them all over the house ::
 one year later! 019:: gift bags for cousins – planned/picked/stuffed by big brother ::

one year later! 197:: lemon cream cheese cupcakes! ::
  one year later! 033:: presents from all of gavin’s lovies::
a shaker rattle handmade by faith + asher
a bob marley shirt from kody + jade + regg
a handful of happily wrapped goodies grandpa stowed on the plane from grammy’s house
the biggest-most-loved-orange-bouncy-ball-ever!  from amelia + uncle jeffrey

one year later! 061:: birthday hat – handmade by his crafty cousin faith astoria ::

one year later! 104    :: a bucket of gavin pictures to thumb through while washing cupcakes down with IBC root beer ::


i promise you that despite the picture below -
grouchy gavin did manage to smile and enjoy himself during his quick lil’ celebration.
the giant orange ball was all the party rage.
happiest i’ve ever seen him in his whole 365 days!
silly, silly boy - i love him so. 
 one year later! 129

baby mine

moons gonna follow me home 001 gavin west – year one

“he could've been here all along
he could've been anyone
but there is no one who - could wake my heart like this
could break my world in two
::i felt a suddenness::
the day fell completely still
the dream was a lot like this
but I never knew until
he came to meet me”

happy “birth” day baby boy.
i still can’t believe we did what we did that day.
i love you.

i’ve got myself a little sunbeam


sunBEAM 031this is my sunday boy.
very classic lucas j.
as we {andrey + i} contemplate the idea of more someday babies
and whether or not this family of ours will be growing sooner or later
{as if that’s even up to us, anyways}
i am brought back to this boy.
he will be the oldest - the biggest brother.
i am learning to mother by him.
i am treading water with him some/most days.
i am grateful for him.
that he is patient with me some/most days.
that we are figuring it out.
i need to remember that he’s never done this before either.
tonight just as the speakers turned to a new loud jammin’ beat {wyclef’s yele medley for haiti}
he caught my eye from the other room and we met in the middle of the floor. fast.
we got lost in the rhythm – dancing and laughing and missing our far-away loveys.
we’re old soul friends.
lukey and me.


March 2009: I pace beneath Joshua Tree's Intersection rock, the 120-foot blob in the middle of the park. I look for the long, red bloodstains I left four and a half years ago, in winter 2004, but the wind, desert rain, and time have washed them from the stone. When my fingers and toes warm, I begin free-soloing the North Overhang. Just below the 5.9 crux, I stop to breathe and chalk. This time if I fall, I want to die -- I cannot deal with falling again.

His sequin jumpsuit reflected the flickering casino lights. The ice skates cut smooth lines in the ice, sounding like helicopter blades as he delivers my dinner of crackers.

It was two weeks after the fall before I realized the ice skater wasn’t real. I woke from my coma dreams to a numbing morphine drip, prone in the ICU at Desert Springs Memorial Hospital near Joshua Tree. I wanted to return to the coma. My dreams were better than the reality of the pain and failure. The doctors spoke stoically when they discussed the eight hours of operations thus far -- the damage to my occipital lobe, the spinal fusion, the compound fracture of my ulna. I couldn’t quite understand what they had done. As Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I was Frankenstein’s monster, confused, angry, and sewn back together wrong. I tore the IV out of my arms -- I wanted to pull on my jeans and crawl to El Cap. My identical twin, Matt, held me down while a nurse sedated me.

Eventually, I calmed. The thick calluses of my hand were peeling away, I had shed 20 pounds. Long rods held my back together, plates supported my sad, destroyed left ankle, and pins cemented my elbow. Falling 100 feet had taken its toll. My body hurt.
The Stonemaster and writer John Long has described Joshua Tree as “a poor man's Patagonia.” It’s a raw, windy place, but also a winter sanctuary for dirtbag climbers, the old school-rock jocks who’d drop acid on Wednesday nights and run wide-eyed through the yuccas. I never liked the coarse quartz monzonite, the blob formations, or the wind, but the park had hardened the Stonemasters, and I wanted to emulate my heroes.

During my 2004 winter break from college in Santa Cruz, I ran around the busy Hidden Valley Campground, soloing a half-dozen moderates as I warmed up to redpoint
I moved fluidly up through a hand crack to a four-foot roof -- the crux. I reached out cautiously, felt the jams, sunk my hand around the roof’s lip, and pulled over. I neared the summit. I felt secure knowing I’d sent the crux, 100 feet of space swimming below me. Then I repositioned my feet, moving them underneath my body, a slight miscalculation. I started to barndoor, my balance suddenly gone.

I didn’t want to scream. I had too much pride. Death, however, was imminent, and there would never be a more appropriate time to cry for help. So I yelled. Seventy feet of air rushed by. A second later I hit a ledge. I was ecstatic and felt invincible. I started to sit up and promptly rolled off, striking the ground 30 feet below.

Trying to walk it off, I stumbled to my feet. But then a seizure bolted through me and I convulsed, crumpling to the ground. Nearby climbers ran to help, the crater I’d made beginning to fill with blood. I heard the faint thud of helicopter blades as I blacked out.
Imagine a world where others fulfill all your desires. They feed you. They dress you. They even wipe your ass. I was there and let me tell you, it was miserable. This was my world for 25 days at the ICU in Desert Springs, and then another 50 days after that, at a stroke and rehabilitation center near Santa Cruz.

John was a stroke victim and my first rehab roommate. He was a 60-year-old man who’d become helpless overnight. John’s family struggled with his transformation more than he did. He wore a diaper, and the room often smelled. One night, John left his bed and began to wander the room, mumbling about the bathroom and edging close to my bed.

“John, the bathroom’s in the corner,” I said. He ignored me.

I stabbed the callbox button, desperately beckoning the nurse. I was paralyzed, unable to leave the bed, and now John was going to crap on me. Eventually, the nurse responded. I was helpless; I was a 23 year old baby.

There was nothing inspirational about learning to walk again. It was painful, even though I stood during my first physical-therapy session. Seven seconds passed. I sat, rested, and then tried again. My legs wobbled precariously at five seconds. I felt uncertain at six. Would I fall? I fought through, watching the clock tick till 15 seconds. Later, I tried to spray to Matt about how walking made me feel excited, like I was climbing again. Sitting in my hospital room playing Fable on my Xbox -- a gift from my oldest brother, Chris -- Matt looked at me and asked, “How do I get the combat multiplier up for my hero?”

I progressed from a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane. I hobbled back to school and began the spring quarter. A few more surgeries, and 381 days after the accident, I climbed again.

December 2005: A half-dozen Monkeys, climbers I knew from Yosemite, sat slandering by the fire in Joshua Tree. It was my first climbing trip since my accident. Even falling off routes I’d onsight-soloed, I was happy to be on rock again, to share J-Tree’s cold desert winds with friends. A couple of sloggers -- a pair of old Cascade climbers -- ambled up with a bottle of whiskey.

“You guys hear the story about the kid who fell off the North Overhang?” asked one, a 50-year-old pharmacist from Seattle.

My Monkey friends cackled, and then stabbed their fingers at me and screamed, “That's the guy!”

“What the f--k’s the matter with you? You get hit in the head with a hammer or something?” the pharmacist asked.

From my tent the next morning, I heard the pharmacist going off in his campsite. “What an idiot,” he said of me. “The Old Dads used to get that stuff wired before they soloed it.”

I felt a knife stab my heart. His words touched on a belief I’d long held: that I was a failure. Soloing had forced me to step into the void, to confront my insecurities and become confident. Now, I only had the notoriety of my failure to keep me company… and the $500,000 in hospital bills, the surgeries, the pain, and my slow return to climbing. Still, my fall had not crushed me. I decided to invent something better for myself.

Over the months that followed, I ignored the nerve damage -- the loss of movement in my foot, the stunted left arm -- and the trepidation. I obsessed over climbing and convinced myself I’d been rebuilt harder, better, faster, stronger. In the spring, I moved into a tent in the woods behind UC Santa Cruz, funneling my rent money (from student loans) to climbing trips. I spent more time at the crag than in the classroom. During breaks, I went to Smith Rock, Indian Creek, Zion, Squamish Tuolumne, Red Rock, and Hueco Tanks. I stacked my classes two consecutive days a week, enduring marathon days of economics and accounting principles that then left me four uninterrupted days in the Valley. I wanted to be a real rock climber: I imagined it and I became it.

March 2009: I drive into Joshua Tree by night, sleeping restlessly. I am a better climber than when I fell. I have the physical ability, but wonder about the emotional control.

I finish chalking my hands, inhale once, and then swing out above the void. At North Overang’s crux, I rock onto my foot, jam my hand, and pull through. The climbing is over quickly --. I wonder how I ever fell. Standing on the summit, I can imagine I’ve undone my failure -- that I never took that fall.

For a moment, I forget about the haunting dreams, the lingering pain, and the scars. I am normal again. This is what I worked so hard for. The desert wind blows, chilling the titanium rods in my back and the metal plate in my ankle. My fingers trace the foot-long scar that runs down my spine. I realize the scars will never fade. And then the moment is gone.

Published in Climbing Dec 2009

Yo fui un negro adolescente

it will not hold him back...

It's been a very eventful day, and I have lots to say!

Being a public school teacher awarded me the day off to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Somehow, although Lucas's "struggles" are not race related, today was a very fitting day for two amazing hearing journey firsts.

Inspired by the success that Mari has had in music therapy, I decided to sign Lucas up for a music class. I found the class through a local rec center. With 4 other 2-year olds, Lucas danced, "sang" and dabbled with 15 or so odd toddler-friendly musical instruments this morning. I find a certain amount of irony in a deaf kid taking a music class, but it was one of those proud CI momma moments.

We were the first to arrive (kind of purposefully), so I was able to explain everything to his instructor. It's kind of hard to explain that he's totally deaf, but he can hear at the same time. She asked me if he could hear and understand us talk, so I decided to show her. I said "Lucas, say hi to Miss ____". He turned, waved and said hi. Point made. I think she needed to see it to really believe it. I can't blame her, because it still amazes me every day too. She was really sweet and told the class up front that "Lucas might not hear everything like everyone else." It was perfect, and really accurate too. I can't wait for the next 11 weeks of class. Although Oma will get to mostly participate in this one too, I have 3 more Mondays off before the class is over. I'm looking forward to it.

There are mixed reviews on music appreciation with the cochlear implant. Technology is improving that link all the time, but I'm under the impression that "busy" music is what's difficult - music with lots of different instruments, singing, etc. So, I believe that isolated music - just singing, just drums, just bells, etc. should be just fine for him. In fact, I think it will be GREAT for him, especially for improving his sound discrimination. His hearing loss will not hold him back from participating in a music class.

I also got to accompany him to aquatic therapy today. Boy was he in for a surprise! He had SOUND in the POOL! Since we've been contemplating private swimming lessons in this kid-friendly pool, I've concluded that his sessions will be more valuable to him if he can hear instructions. So, for his hearing birthday, I ordered a 5"x4" Aloksak bag and a lycra swimming cap from Amazon, and I took an expensive chance. It worked like a charm. It was so funny though, because when I was getting him changed, I kept trying to re-attach his ear, and he kept pulling it off, because he knows he can't have it in the pool, and he was so intent on going swimming. I had to have a heart-to-heart with him, and ask him if he wanted to hear while he swam. Once he understood, he was thrilled. He was able to follow simple instructions in the pool today, like "kick", "push", "blow bubbles", "get the ring" and best of all, "don't splash!". It makes me cry just thinking about it. His hearing loss will not hold him back from hearing while he swims.

the set up

hearing in the pool!

Lastly, while at aquatic therapy today, I picked up some free magazines from our area that advertise kid-related events. The one is specifically geared toward special needs kids. When I got home, I found a short article on a deaf teenager. Although I found her story inspiring, I read that she attends a residential deaf school, and when she graduates she may attend a vocational school that specializes in training adults who are deaf and hard of hearing. I'm sure she is happy and thriving, and she will lead a fulfilling life. There's absolutely nothing wrong with attending a vocational school either. But, I can't help but think about how Lucas will not need specialized training like that. And we will never have to send him away to a residential school, unless he asks to go. His hearing loss will not hold him back educationally.

All of these little miracles would not be possible without Lucas's cochlear implant. It's plain and simple. We would love him just the same. We would still see to it that he met his full potential. We would work hard to provide him with enriching experiences. But he would never hear music, he would never have the opportunity to hear in the pool, and he would not have an array of educational options to choose from. No one can deny that. I am a very happy momma today.

Enjoy Lucas in the pool!!!!!!!!!

in retrospect

a day on not a day off 028  
i love looking back. seeing things for what they are now and then seeing where i was at then in comparison.
last year at the MLK bell ringing ceremony -  i was big baby bellied. we were full to the brim with  obama hope.
this year i was a little late. little brother tied up in the mei tai. we didn’t get there in time for a bell.
but we did make it for “the laaaaaand of the freeeeee and the home of the braaaave!”
big brother was a little too wiggly and giggly to sit through the whole ceremony -
but we did get a close up glimpse of those rockin’ drums.
we snuck out early with cousins and friends in tow. out to the art tables and we celebrated that way.
with color-full paper doll crowns and lemonade.
back at home we parked in the sun shining on our driveway.
luc crawled up to the front seat and we had a makeshift picnic lunch in our car.
we talked of then. of martin luther king jr. 
we talked of now.
then he jumped out the car door and ran around in the grass – happy as can be.
perfectly fitting for a day of sunshine and celebrating.

The Hipster Handbook

We rolled past the gawking tourists and the gear-laden climbers, the hoards who hobbled up to the roadside vistas and bunny-slope routes. My pickup eeked into the parking lot of the Tuolumne store and I swaggered out. Why shouldn’t I feel proud? I’d just kept it in neutral for the entire twelve-mile drive down the pass.

But as Max and I told each other, we were more than a pair of dirtbags coasting through the summer, getting by with no money and living out of a beat-up pickup. The Hipster Handbook, the little blue Bible I kept on my truck’s dashboard, pegged us as “deck”: hipster lingo for cool. We followed its words religiously, shunning and reducing to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream tourists, thru-hikers, and regular rock climbers. (Although we’d stolen the book from the tent of a New York employee- a Neo-crunch, a new wave hippy.) We slandered weekend climbing trips, families, and careers as trappings of an overworked middle class.

A dozen climbers lurked outside the store, spraying about epic ascents on the regular routes of every major dome. I glared at their shorts and long underwear and frowned. I would never be a tragically dressed gumbie again. I might end up as a tragic gumbie, but never one with poor fashion sense. The Hipster Handbook had taught me that much. Instead of zip-up pants and high-tech polyester shirts, I wore working-class denim jeans and pink T-shirts made for menopausal women with catch phrases like, “They’re not hot Flashes—They’re power surges!”

I glanced in the truck’s side view mirror. For the past week, as the book recommended, I slept on my side to maximize my cowlick. The tourist may have seen a climber with unwashed hair but I knew better. I looked good.

“What is hip about repeating routes?” I asked. An over-sized Eagle Scout thumped his guidebook on the tire of his Hummer and ranted about having to share a top-rope anchor with a group of NOLS students.

Max rolled a cigarette, smoked it, then ground out the tobacco and tossed the tiny paper in his pocket. His eyes shifted from the finished coffin nail to the open meadow beyond the parking lot. He stared blankly for a moment then responded, “Nothing.”

We coasted my truck down the road to the hillside fortress of Phobos Deimos. One of the only true cliffs in Tuolumne, this formation features perfect granite, and an excellent opportunity for first ascents—mostly because of the horrendous hike to the cliff. We pounded up the steep trail whittling our bodies down to the ideal hipster body fat of 2%. The right side of the cliff boasts steep classic cracks, the kind routes that attract Semper Fi climbers and the hardy Eagle Scouts. But we stared at the cliff’s far left side, at a black-streaked corner buried underneath decades of dirt and moss and lichen.

“That is our first ascent,” I told Max. That is our glory. That is the Hipster Handbook.”

“Looks dirty,” Max said. He loved to state the obvious.

“We just need to clean it,” I laughed. Sincerity is the new irony.

Max rolled another cigarette, letting the long strands of Bali Shag hang from the end. He stuffed his hands in his pockets while he smoked. “Cleaning huh?”

For a week, we were proletariat, rappelling from the top of the cliff with over-sized goggles, dust masks, and an arsenal of wire brushes, posing as heroes of socialism.

Max swung on the rope next to the crack, holding a thick wire brush. “What is the opposite of deck?” he asked.

“Fin.” I packed a medium wire stopper with hippie lettuce, lit it, and inhaled deeply, trying my best not to burn my lips and still get high. Hipsters are resourceful.

Crud covered Max’s face. “That is what this is.” Soot crept into his nostrils, and lichen streaked his black hair grey. “This is fin.”

I hid underneath a rock, safe from the waterfall of debris, and the scrubbing. I’d suddenly remembered that hipsters abhor the antiquated notion of work. I shouted to Max, hoping to distract him from the labor. “Just think of the tassels.”

Max paused, stared at the rock, and loosened his grip around the wire brush. Obviously, he had been neglecting the Hipster Handbook's glossary.

“The tassels: the girls. Ladies love a first ascentionist. We will be famous,” I lied. Max returned to scrubbing with a new vigor.

When the cleaning was done, we started climbing. On the first pitch a television-sized block detached from the wall and fell onto Max’s chest. The block pressed onto him as he jammed his hand deeper into the crack. With a casual shrug, the block left Max’s sternum and flew between his feet to the ground.

“Watch out!” he yelled.

I stepped two feet to the side as the granite block crashed into the rock where I had stood. If I’d been hit, it could have killed me or worse, maimed me and tossed me into a mindless job, sulking over my injuries in a cubicle. I watched the shrapnel fly through the air.

“Nice Max,” I said, checking to make sure my hair still had a perfect cowlick, then bobbing my shoulders with a nonchalant shrug.

Max quivered for a moment then he too shook it off. Hipsters never lose their calm. He continued to a sloping ledge. From there a widening crack split open the granite book of the climb.

We had scrubbed the rock so a waxing moon butted the straight line of the crack. I fought through 5.10 moss before hitting a strip of actual rock and finally some splitter granite. For five feet, I was in heaven. Then the crack opened and my foot, my ankle, and my leg sunk into the gaping hole. I struggled up the dirty offwidth, imagining myself in purgatory. (delete then) I banished this thought as a regression: The Hipster Handbook had replaced my dog-eared paperback copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy, an along with it, my all-black outfits and forced Italian accent.

Toward the top of the pitch, I jammed my paw into the rock and tried to crank through a roof section. The granite bit into my skin as I yarded on the fist jam. I did not manage to pull the move but I did manage to pull off quit a bit of skin.

Before our next try, we scrubbed more so that the moon next to the crack was close to full and the climbing was almost clean. With little difficulty, Max dispatched the overhanging crux combining the fierce fist jam and a small crimp. I followed but my bloody fist ooozed out of the jam.

I never managed to climb the route. Max thought it was 10c. I thought it was 11a. We called it 10c.

“It will be better downgraded anyway,” I said. “Hipsters always sandbag.”

We hiked the ropes, the brushes, the goggles, and the dust masks down to the truck. In the week we had hung at the base, we had seen no one. Just the rock and open Sierra sky, that heavenly stillness and calm light. Just that feeling that came over us, at times, when everything we did, even climbing, seemed like a game. (edited) The YOSAR climbers were too busy pretending they worked, the weekend warriors were slaving in their cubicles, and even the guides never hiked that far.

Max and I fell into my pick-up.

Unfortunately, there was no coasting back to the store; it was uphill and we had to push. We arrived in the parking lot tired and worn.

“That was deck.” I glanced in my truck’s side view mirror. Sweat and dirt cemented my hair. The pomp of my cowlick had disappeared. The work, the grime, and the effort of the Hipster Handbook had transformed me. Now, I could not even pass as a proletariat in an old Soviet Film. I looked square. I looked midtown. I looked mainstream.

“Yup.” Max hacked up a black ball of lichen. “That was deck.”

The line never made it into the Tuolumne guidebook, despite our efforts to convince the mainstream how rad the Hipster Handbook was. The guys at the Tuolumne SAR site claimed the route had already been climbed. The mountaineering guides claimed it had never been touched, and for good reason.

I do not know if we made a first ascent or not and it does not matter because, after all, Max and I had escaped the confines of the ordinary. For a summer Max and I were the only hipsters in Tuolumne. We were kids who spent all our time out in the wild. All we had was miles of granite and a compulsion to be better men than we yet knew.

The last time I looked at the line, it was covered in moss again.

The Hipster Handbook 10c FA Max Hasson and James Lucas

how many words?

I have been estimating how many expressive words Lucas has for the past few months. I stopped counting when Lucas had around 50 words, mostly because I went back to work and could no longer keep up with it since my time at home with him decreased so significantly. Since it's almost time for his yearly IFSP review, and all of his therapists are busy doing their assessments, I thought I would do my own.

Yesterday I followed Lucas around all day long with pen and paper, and wrote down every.single.word he uttered. Just to clarify, I only wrote down different words, so I didn't write "no" 100 times, for instance. I also didn't count words that he only repeated when prompted. I only counted spontaneous words. It kind of reminded me of my days in grad school, in my educational research class. At least that knowledge is being put to use!

And the results are in... 106. Now, that number is not comprehensive for all the words he knows, but gives me a pretty decent indication of where the number falls. I had been estimating 150, and I think that's pretty accurate! I would now say 150-200, because I can think of about 50 more words that he knows that he just didn't say. I know he can identify various food items, body parts, outdoor vocabulary, etc., but the opportunity never arose yesterday, and I didn't do any extra prompting. I wanted the results to be as objective and unbiased as possible.

The results of my homemade assessment really just excite me. His language abilities are measuring at an age appropriate level, and I'm just so proud of him! I can't wait until the "official" results are in!

Lilli'Q Update!

I just got word from Lilli'Q letting me know that "paying" is what holds your spot.

I feel terrible because I have been telling people it's just fine to just register online and pay on the day of class. (since it is a brand new establishment and you can't yet pay online)

So...If you have registered online, pop down there or *much easier* call there and make a payment to hold your spot.

*The number for the place is 604-681-2965. The owner at Lilli'Q is lovely and her name is Jamie.

Sorry and thanks for bearing with these Olympic changes.

Hope you are all doing great and have had a glorious weekend. The weather has been a dream!

why they stare

It's getting easier, but it still often makes me want to cry. Anytime we go into public with Lucas, we get lots of stares. I've come to my own personal conclusion about these stares. People look and stare for various reasons. First, because they're curious. I'll admit that I'm guilty of this sometimes too. Second, because they don't know what the heck it is that they see on his head, and they want to know. Most people have never heard of a cochlear implant, let alone seen one. They're trying to figure out what it is, what it does, and why it's there. I understand that this is not unique to Lucas or hearing loss, but to anyone who looks a little different.

The hard part is when kids ask questions and their parents just shush them. The adults don't have an answer, because they themselves just don't know. For instance, if you see a person in a wheelchair, you can explain that he can't walk. If you see a person with glasses, you can explain that she can't see. And although people probably assume that a CI has something to do with hearing, they just don't know. Here are a couple of encounters we've had...

1. One time, Oma and I were out to breakfast with Lucas, and the server came up to him and asked him whether he was making contact with outer space with that "thing". If I hadn't been so utterly shocked, I might have been able to devise a great comeback.

2. When we visited Dutch Wonderland over Thanksgiving break, Lucas was playing with some other kids in an area with big blocks that were supposed to resemble ice cubes. One little boy kept coming up to Lucas and asking "what's wrong with your ear?" Lucas just looked at him, because he was too young to answer. The way that question was worded was just heartbreaking. It wasn't just a curiosity about what it was, but the fact that he identified it as there being something "wrong".

3. On Christmas Eve, one of the kids here, who was 4, walked up to Lucas and carefully examined his ear. Then he pulled the coil off and put it back on, to figure out how it worked. Lucas didn't seem bothered. He kept asking "what's that on your ear?" in a polite and curious way. Then he ran off to his mom and told her it was cool and that he wanted one. If he only really knew what that would entail, he might not find it to be so cool anymore. But this encounter was so sweet and innocent!

4. At Sesame Street Live last week, the little girl in front of us kept pointing and asking her grandmother what it was, and why it was blinking. (The blinking was especially obvious in the dark.) She just shushed her, to be "polite", and they turned around again.

I realize that these are examples of times when I should have spoken up, but I just couldn't figure out the right thing to say until 5 minutes too late. If I intentionally meet a person for the first time, I can easily talk about it. I can write to my heart's content on this blog. I can talk to a family member, a friend or an acquaintance about it for hours. But during casual encounters, I just kind of freeze and smile.

I look forward to when Lucas can answer for himself, just like Gage and Brook do oh sooooo well. For now, I will just smile back. I hope someday to find that voice.


today was a good day.

an exciting day for Lucas

Lucas went to his first day of "school" today! What a fun day for him! I took the day off to experience this fun milestone.

We have been VERY fortunate to be working with Clarke PA (auditory/oral school for the deaf) since early September. I haven't posted much about it, but it's been a phenomenal experience. By some luck of the draw, Early Intervention in our county decided to start contracting with them, and they now provide Lucas's weekly hearing therapy session. Over the summer, we visited the school to learn about their early childhood programs, and shortly thereafter, Lucas started benefiting from their services AT OUR HOME. Um yeah, we're very fortunate.

When I first searched for auditory/oral programs in the vicinity over a year ago, I concluded that the commute would not be worth it. I thought we would make do with what is available to us locally. Things have changed, and here we are.

The drive is 80 miles each way. We're talking 3 hours in the car round-trip, without traffic. It's a good thing that Lucas likes to go "bye-bye" a lot! Lucas is also very lucky that his Oma is as committed to his educational success as his mommy and daddy are, or else he would have no way of getting there.

Right now, the "early toddler" program meets just once a week. That's one of the reasons we feel that the commute is doable. The next age group goes twice a week, and the preschool-aged kids attend up to 5 days a week. Our goal is to mainstream him locally at 3, and we hope that this program will give him the language boost he needs to make that possible. Who knows where we'll be in a year though!

There were 7 toddlers in the group today. It was really a introductory day, but Lucas enjoyed free play, circle time, a gross motor activity, a snack and then more free play. He interacted well with the other kids, and even sat well for circle time. I can't wait to see how he grows through the spring. I just wish I could be there to see it each week. It breaks my heart just thinking about missing it.

It's a state of the art facility, keeping in mind every detail for creating an ideal listening and learning environment for hearing impaired children. It's seriously impressive! The staff is just amazingly friendly too. I already feel very welcome there.

Here are a few pictures from today (Oma came in extra handy):

coloring fun

engaged during circle time

up, up, up goes the balloon

snack time

free play fun on the trampoline

Another big plus to the day was that Lucas got to visit his cousin Ryan, who lives pretty close to Clarke! These boys are going to be trouble together someday soon. Just wait...

I never imagined sending my 2-year-old to "school" already. But, I'm so excited for the experiences this program will provide for him and I think it's going to be well worth it!

Whew! A good 99% of my classes are finally covered for the Olympics! Yay!

It is one month today until the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, and whether we love everything about the Olympics or are filled with dread they come!
We will soon be welcoming the world!!

Lot's of Yoga in Yaletown at Lilli'Q Cafe and Playhouse located at 1268 Pacific blvd (right next door to the Roundhouse) and classes are going full blast as well at Main St @ Broadway at the brand spankin'new Mt.Pleasant! (The Mt.Pleasant website states that there is a 3 person waiting list currently for Prenatal yoga but that is no longer the case.) I have upped the participant level by 5 so...there are a few more spaces now!

Lilli'Q will be updating their website anytime now, and I have added a Thursday evening Prenatal Yoga in addition to the Tuesday class. (we only have space for 10 participants for all classes being held there so you may want to register for those asap!)

Oh..and there WILL be Baby & Me Yoga as well at Lilli'Q! Yay!

All classes will be held at the same time as my Roundhouse classes.
(Prenatal Yoga's 545pm-715pm)
(Hatha 730pm-845pm)
(Baby & Me 130pm-300pm)

Soooo Register, Register, Register! You know I'd love to see you.

You can register online or by phone at (under the events tab) or 604-681-2965
Drop-in's are available for all classes (space permitting.)
*Remember to bring a Yoga mat to the Lilli'Q classes!

Here are a couple of shots of the New Mt.Pleasant!

The place is huge. This is only a tiny glimpse. The dance studio, the front lobby and a peek into the gymnasium. (you can see a bit of the Fitness centre and climbing wall in the background) The place is just amazing.

three years old rocks my world

luc art love 2010lukey art – january 2010

i have a clear memory in my mind of making art as a wee girl. i’d been busy intensely drawing. a square box with rows and rows of  square “bricks” on each side to be exact. i remember my mom squealing with delight at what my little hands had drawn. she’d even loved it enough to show it off to my dad, “look! lindsay drew our house!”
and then sliding the drawing into the front of one of her work binders for safe keeping – to be displayed! i loved this.
i also remember attempting the re-draw the same square house of bricks whenever i had my hands on a drawing tool of any kind. just hoping for the same reaction.
while visiting with miss presley {luc’s twin-cousin} on my last trip home – she proceeded to draw me a full on wild thing. complete with sharp claws and gnarly teeth! i was amazed at her left handed creation and couldn’t help but wonder how much longer i’d have to wait for luc’s creative brain waves to reach his little boy hands. i thought of  how i’ve pretty much been shoving all kinds of art making tools in his face - just waiting for the long long leggie drawings, well… since he was born.
and yesterday - they just appeared.
little sticky notes stuck all over our house.
big round faces.
dots for eyes.
long long legs attached to tiny scribbled shoes.
some smiles.
some frowns.
and a chubby baby one.
i am in love with three years old.
i am convinced he needs oils. and canvas.

Happy 1st Birthday to Lucas's ear!

Dear Lucas,

One year ago today we turned on your ear. You loved and embraced your bionic ear starting on that very first day. Now you get very upset when you don't have it. You will never remember that day, but Mommy and Daddy sure will, and we have some video for you to watch too.

This past year has been nothing short of miraculous. You began that first day just hearing beeps and buzzes. A few weeks later you started turning to your name, then to "meow". Shortly thereafter you started babbling and even said "mama". You were stuck on the same 10 words for a few months, although you seemed to understand everything we said. Then, when your hearing age was about 9 months, your expressive language just took off. You now consistently put 2 words together, have at least a 150 word spoken vocabulary and there's little we say that you don't seem to hear or understand, as far as a 2-year-old goes! You have caught up to your hearing peers in terms of age appropriate language milestones. The challenging part of the coming years will be keeping it that way.

We never fathomed that you'd hear this well. Never ever ever. Sometimes, when Mommy's trying to put you to bed, a truck drives by and you yell "uck". You're always the first to hear airplanes in the sky too. Today you heard someone say the word "baby" across a restaurant and you repeated it (because you have a slight obsession with babies). We definitely have to be careful about what we say, and we often spell things around you too, or just speak Spanish. Yeah, your bionic ear works REALLY well.

Today we really wanted to celebrate, so we took you to see Sesame Street Live. What joy it brought to us to watch you listen and DANCE to Elmo, as you clapped your hands excitedly and yelled "elmo". Everyone around us commented on how precious a site it was to see your excitement. And they had no idea how exciting a day it really was either. Mommy cried way too much during the show, but she was just happy for you and couldn't help herself.

Tonight we sang to you and got you a first hearing birthday cake. You will probably now ask to eat cake every day for the next month, like you have since your birthday. I promise, we don't always have cake in our house, contrary to popular belief.

Although you are technically bimodal, you have no interest in wearing your hearing aid. You made that very clear a few weeks ago, when you threw it in the trash can. Maybe we will explore getting you a second cochlear implant this year. Mommy can't make you any promises, but maybe the surgeons have changed their minds. That new N5 looks pretty exciting.

We can't wait to see what the next year of your hearing journey will bring. We are certain that it will be filled with many memorable experiences. We continue to have so much hope and many high aspirations for you! We are so incredibly proud of you!

Love, Mommy & Daddy

p.s. What do you want to do next year for your hearing birthday? You will be able to milk this one for many years to come.

Lucas, how are you?

Daddy's been hard at work teaching Lucas to answer the question, "how are you?" Apparently, he's just fine!

Lot's of new stuff going on!


Happy New Year! It's officially 7 days into 2010!
There are so many new things going on I'm not even sure if I can remember them all right now (it's late and I'm sleepy!).

First off, for some reason none of my classes are showing up on the Roundhouse website but they are all a go. All of them. Tuesday & Thursday Prenatal Yoga, Thursday Baby & Me, & Tuesday and Thursday evening Mixed levels classes so...come on down (at least for the next couple of weeks until the Olympic closure)!

And after January 21 most of these classes will be continuing next door at Lilli'Q Cafe and Playhouse for the following 6 weeks while the Roundhouse is closed (see schedule on the top right corner of this page for details, links for registration etc.).

*And please remember that mats will not be provided at Lilli'Q so you will have to bring your own. Let's do it up! (I do have a few extras that I will bring along as spares should anyone want to double up).

Oh as well, due to popular demand I was able to secure a space for our Baby & Me Yoga at Lilli'Q as well! Yay! (usual time and day).

As for Mt.Pleasant news...the place is stunning! Had a couple of classes there last week and Wow. Just wow. What a facility!

And although the website says the class is full the room is quite large and we can very comfortably squeeze in a few more of you so...(to be on the safe side if you aren't registered give them a ring first at 604-713-1888) but I will be getting the numbers changed on the website as soon as I can to accomodate a few more of you, so not to worry!

You can always contact me to double check as well. Anytime.

That is all I can think of for now!
Hope you have enjoyed the first week of 2010.
I'll update more as I think of things :)

Bye for now!


must. get. well.

 so sick i might die 003 {the view from tucked in my covers}

i finally gave in and went to the doctor tonight. going on day five of fighting some fierce sick-o of a germ. each day a new symptom. each day a little worse than the last. come to find out i’ve got a raging ear infection. adults should not have ear infections. and to top it all off i’ve completely lost my voice. 
thank the heavens for text messaging.
thank the heavens for late night rosanne re-runs
thank the heavens for friends that feed my family.
thank the heavens for comfy duvets.
i’m going to tuck myself in with a new book. a ridiculous love story.
send me get well wishes, would ya?
this is the pits.