Friday, February 29, 2008

Where to start?

The BED...count 'em....10 PILLOWS!! A record!!

View from my hotel room

View of Bourbon Street from my room

Another view out of my room (towards the river)

Angie...riding the bull that I was too chicken (or was that drunk) to ride!

From the balcony where we had lunch on Monday...corner of Canal and Bourbon streets

The Oceana Grill
The Famous Door
My feet on the right...and Joe's on the left. :-)

Some our group dancing...

Unknown EHDI lady, Janet (who I presented with) and Leanne
Mark...the closing plenary and a small harem of women! LOL!

Jazz dog
I loved this sign..and the swining legs to the left of it.

I really struggled where to start this post. Should I start with the awards reception from last night or should I back track to New Orleans. New Orleans won.

I left Grand Rapids on Sunday morning. When I was waiting at the gate, I realized that one of our EHDI program people was on my flights. Pretty cool. We were 20 minutes late taking off and I was a bit worried as we only had 40 minutes between flights once we arrived in Memphis. Memphis airport is nothing to write home about. Typical aging gates. I did however make it to the plane on time. I sat next to the Chapter Champion from Indiana (Hi Betsy!) and we had a nice time talking and shared a cab to the hotel. When we arrived, the hotel was in the process of being emptied by hundreds of college students. Most rooms weren't ready. Lucky for me Betsy let me freshen up in her room (that was ready!) and I manage to find Janet and Stephanie for lunch and a nice walk around New Orleans. We went to Cafe De Monde for beignets and lattes. It was just beautiful outside. Sunny, nice little breeze...quite a change from the doom and gloom snow of MI. After our walk and shopping, we headed back to the hotel. Janet and Stephanie had meetings and I took a nap. I was soooo tired.

Janet and I met before her 2nd meeting to set up the Hands and Voices booth. I met a super coolio guy from IL named Joe. Joe is a CODA (children of deaf adults). He was really fun and we ended up hanging out on Monday night. He and I have totally different views on hearing loss (we agree on everything, but he has the perspective of Anna's future kids) and it was great to share stories. Sunday night was filled with dinner at a place called Coop's Place and I had a wonderful meal called Pasta Opelousas (Shrimp, tasso, boneless chicken, Creole green beans, & shiitake mushrooms sauteed in a garlicky alfredo base, lightened with wine. Tasso being like a ham.) Funny sidebar...Opelousas is a city where Cal-Chlor has a plant, like the one that Wayne works at. Was the reason I ordered that pasta!! ;-)

After Coop's we walked to The Famous Door for dancing. Dancing. Anyone who knows me in a previous life (aka before kids) knows that I love to dance. Used to spend every Friday night dancing at a place called Tiki. (Long story...but I met Wayne there and a few ex's too!) Anyways...The Famous Door had live bands jamming to classic 70's/80's tunes. Not really my style, but I enjoyed being with all the ladies none the less. After awhile it got too loud and John (who works for the CDC and the sweetest guy alive!) walked me back to the hotel. Once we got back we ran into Darryl who wanted to check out the place that had bull riding (you know, the mechanical kind) so John and I trek down the block there. Oh yeah...did I mention that I had 7 beers that night? LOL! I never ever drink. No I didn't ride the bull. But had a great time watching others. John escorted me back to my room around 2:00am (central time, which is 3am EST!). I had to be up by 7:00, so I was pooped.

The conference was amazing. I totally get to "geek out" with all the other parents and professionals. There's nothing like talking decibels, cochleas, genetics, grief, hearing aids, technology, and all that other good stuff with people who know what it means. (Right, Kate?!) I love all of that. Makes me feel like my family is more normal. I met some great parents and hope to keep in contact with them. Like I said, after spending time with other parents, you realize that you are not alone that we all struggle. One of the things that I mentioned to Janet was that I feel like when I'm at home, I have to wear my Super Mom cape when I'm secretly falling apart on the inside. She totally validated how I felt and that it's ok to have those days where things just fall apart. It's part of learning. Our presentation went well and we had lots of people in it. (That always worries me for some reason.) The guy that was the closing speaker, sat in! I was so honored. Mark was so cool and I'm glad I listened to his presentation.

Monday night was a little more...SOBER. LOL! I had one beer. We had another great dinner at a place called Oceana Grill. I had Jambalaya. Not as good as I remember my Aunt Norma's but still not a bad dinner. At least I was back in bed before midnight. :-)

Tuesday night was nice. COLD. But nice. Elizabeth, Chris, Sherry and I went for a walk and did a bit of shopping for our kids/friends. I got cold too quick and went back to the room. I was tired and needed to pack. I got home Wednesday without a hitch. Kids were glad to see me as was Wayne. I was happy to see them as well. Never know how much you miss someone until you're apart from them.

EHDI 2009 is in Dallas, TX. Anna is really excited. She's the poster child (in my opinion) as to how well the system can work. EHDI has a 1, 3, 6 timeline. Identify by 1 month, amplification by 3 months and early intervention by 6 months. We were pretty close to that. I look back and think I worried for nothing, but I believe that that worry pushed me into making sure that Anna got everything she needed. Everyday that she comes home from school with good grades or just has a good day with anything related to hearing or speech, I feel so LUCKY and GRATEFUL. Somewhere along the ways, people decided that we needed to test babies hearing. Had Anna not been tested at birth, we would have never known about her hearing until she was much older. That changes the whole game. Using her hearing aids are so much a part of her, that she doesn't see them as separate from her. It's like having blue eyes or brown hair. Anna is who she is and I can't imagine her any other way. She's continues to surprise me and challenge my views on what people that are hard of hearing can or can't do. I love her so very much.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Tired. Very tired. I'm back from New Orleans. Had a wonderful time. 2009 EHDI is in Dallas! Yeehaw! Saddle up and ride 'em out. Anna is planning on going. I'm planning on making a small documentary on her. Hopefully to present again. She's excited. Likes talking about her hearing and testing babies' hearing. It's too cool.

Anyways, tomorrow I will post pictures and write more. Hopefully. Tomorrow is when I get my Exceptional Parent Award. YAY! Should have photos of that as well.

My dreamworld awaits....

Monday, February 25, 2008

EHDI 2008/New far

First let me say that Im super bummed that I didn't remember to bring the adapter for my camera for pictures. Everyone will have to wait till I get home to see Orleans Orleans. Sin City. The Big Easy.

My flights from Grand Rapids and Memphis went off a hitch. Things were good, no issues. YAY! I met some nice people on the plane. Arrived in New Orleans around 11:00 am. Got to the hotel and there were no rooms ready. Eh...bummer. So I bunked my stuff with a nice conference lady and met Janet and Stephanie for lunch. Well, lunch wasn't really lunch. We went to Cafe DuMonde and had coffee and beignets. Another YAY! I was excited. The walk was great. Bourbon Street my style at all. I'm not into nude dancers, bars or junk stores selling every kind of cheesy t-shirt and beads you could imagine. I'm failing to see the draw to the area.

The conference has been exceptional. As usual. I love hearing all the presenters and meeting new people. Especially other parents. Tomorrow will be another great day. I'll write more tomorrow or later tonight, I need a nap. ;-)

Friday, February 22, 2008

M C C--GO BLUE! Cheerleading 101

Anna had her cheerleading night last night and here are a few pictures and a short clip of her performance. She had a really great time and asked to do it again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Crap...forgot that Dawn tagged me!

So, somehow I zoned out about being tagged. Well, there are my 7 random/weird things about me.

1. I can't swim. Well, not anything beyond being able to doggie paddle. I couldn't save one of the kids if they were drowning. Well, maybe I could, but, I don't know.

2. I really like to eat cake batter/pancake mix/raw cookie dough. Anna has taken that habit up too. Wayne think's it's odd, it's a norm in my family though.

3. My 3 favorite movies (in no particular order) are: A Few Good Men, Fargo and Jaws.

4. I have 4 sisters, all of which are half sisters. I'm the oldest of all of them.

5. All of the girls in our family have names that end in "A". Melissa, Anna, Julia, Theresa (my sis), Samantha (my sis), Carla (cousin) and Sarah (cousin, yeah I's a H, but sounds like an A). My other 2 sisters are Alicia and Angela, believe it or not. I've only met them a handful of times and I thought it was weird.

6. I worked at McDonald's for 6.5 years. I also went to BOC (a version of Burger University) to become a manager. I was a manager for 2 years before I quit to have Cameron. I actually really liked being a manager, it was a great job...but not when you have a small baby at home. EESH!

7. I collect shotglasses, books about China/China adoption/Asian history, and anything that is cobalt blue. My curio is FULL of BLUE STUFF!!!

A little gripe

Why is it that a 20oz Diet Coke is $1.29 and I can buy a 2 liter for less? Apparently, I'm paying for the refridgeration. Bastards!

The sun, my road rage, and an egg salad sandwich

1. The sun is out again. My friend Mik and I joke about laying out in the garage during icy/stormy weather. Today, is a garage day. It's sunny, high of 18 but you can feel warmth on your skin through the bitter bite of the wind.

2. Typically, when people are driving too slow or making poor judgements I get frustrated. Which usually makes me make bad judgements. LOL! Anyways, I was cruising home from the grocery store, only doing 50 in the freeway do to people going soooooooo sllllllllllloooooowwww. Well, in their defense, the passing lane was bad, so we were stacked up. But seeing the sun, listening to Eagle Eye Cherry, LIFE IS GOOD. No need to get cranky.

3. The egg salad sandwich was icing on the cake. Soooo...I had the sun out, no road rage, Eagle Eye Cherry on the tunes, the sandwich, and a Diet Coke. Does it get any better than that?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My personal Siberia continues....

Wayne informed me that we got another 9 inches of snow today. We were in an area that was called to get another 4-5 inches today. Jesus. Can it get any worse?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

When I took Anna to cheerleading camp

I drove in the new front entrance for the high school. Imagine my surprise when I was reading the new scrolling sign. Which read something like: "Congratulations to MCC parent Melissa Wagner for winning the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children, Exceptional Parent Award. Thanks Melissa for all your hard work for MCC students!" I was shocked! Ok, so Scottville isn't a huge town, but still cool non the less. :-) Oh yeah, for those of you wondering why I say I live in Ludington...well, we do! Officially, we live in Riverton Township, which is in Ludington. However, it's Mason County Central school district which is in the town of Scottville. Make sense? ;-)

Ohhh...about cheerleading camp. Anna had a little trouble in the beginning. I think it was too loud and she struggled with all the yelling and cheering. But once she made quick friends with the one girl who was leading her group, she did great. The girls that attended the camp get to go to the boys varsity basketball game on Tuesday and perform their cheers. I will have pictures! GO SPARTANS!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It does EXSIST! The Sun.

This last picture didn't turn out as I hoped. The sun was hitting the steeple in the most magificiant way. I ran out the end of the driveway to catch it and the sun disappeared. I was really bummed. :-(

Thursday, February 14, 2008

V-day parties and more snow

Anna and her friend Jordanna

The by 2nd grade boys

Anna and her valentines

Cam and his cards
Cam and Liam and the KOOL-AID mustaches

Snow...even higher in front of the door

Without flash

With flash
Riley is looking at Oliver like, "What a maroon...there's nothing there but SNOW!"

More snow in front of the door

Julia's picture of me as she sat on the toilet (don't ask!)
Julia's foot...Dawn, how many of these shots do you have? LOL!

Another day that Hallmark gets rich

I'm fairly cynical over the big V-day anymore. I used to think that it was all romantic and kiss-kiss, mush-mush. I have since learned in my old age that a $5.00 card and an overpriced bouquet of my favorite flowers don't make up for all the other days of the year. Yeah, getting gifts are nice, but with 3 kids, 2 dogs, 2 car payments...who needs to spend $50 on flowers that will die? LOL!

When I was in junior/high school, the cheerleaders used to sell carnations and then you could have them delivered to whomever you wanted. Well, me and a few friends always had crushes on the basketball players and always sent them carnations. My freshman year it all changed. I sent one to the guy I had a crush on that year, Pete. I just happened to be in the hallway when Pete got his flower from me. He came over and said, "Wow, that was really sweet of you Melissa." STOP! He knew my name? Whoa. (Ok...Pentwater Public School had a total of 300 students K-12th grades. Average grade had 25/30 kids...small town...) Anyways...after I return from my shock that Pete knew me, he asked if I was going to the basketball game that night (DUH! Where else would I be...I never missed a chance to see Pete in shorty shorts!) and I told him yeah, I was. He told me to wait for him after the game. (ACK! I've died and gone to heaven at that point!). I said I would and I had to walk away because I was sooo red and so nervous that I wasn't sure I could even form sentences at that time. The game ends, I'm stalling to see Pete afterwards, my dad is getting mad because he wants to leave. Pete comes out of the locker room, all fresh and clean, and hands me a card. Yep. A card. It's a little Valentine's day card that thanked me for my flower that I had sent him and that he appreciated all the cheering I did for him during basketball and baseball seasons. :-) (And I didn't think that guys noticed that stuff!). I'm fairly certain that I went to bed that night with a HUGE smile on my face not wanting that moment to end.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What?! They get smaller too??

So to be brutally honest, I know that when a woman loses weight...all parts shrink. Today it finally hit me. I'm no long the voluptious 40C/D that I had so much enjoyed in my heavier weight days, but a shrinking violet in a 36B. Needless to say, I know they're just boobies. But...I will miss the old ones. LOL! I had a good chuckle with an older lady at Walmart today in the bra section. We were looking all the the clearance ones and she said, "I hate the wire ones but I gotta get something to keep these in place!" I thought I was going to die laughing.