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Photo Update

Since I have been totally neglecting my blog, I thought I would update with some photos!  Enjoy!  I keep a pretty steady stream of photos going on Instagram.  Look me up! SARAHRBROWN














Language Take-Off!

After three weeks at TSD, it's amazing to see the new language development in both boys!  We can tell they are chatting all day with their teachers and peers.  I will actively work on capturing a video of their conversations next week.  In the meantime, here are a few changes we've noticed:

Travis: - adding "want" to his requests -
Normally, he would point at something, such as his red Power Ranger mask, and sign, "POWER-RANGER MASK, RED."  Often, he'll add a fussy face or sound to his request.  Now, more often than not, he signs, "POWER-RANGER MASK, WANT!"

- saying "mine" instead of using first person for everything -
Where he's always pointed at items, then signed, "TRAVIS" to mean, "That's mine," he is now signing, "RED MASK, MINE."

- putting together longer sentences -
As I had blogged earlier this week, Travis is putting together 3-ASL-sign sentences, which is equivalent to a 5-8-word Engli…

School Time at TSD!

Today, the boys completed their first two weeks of pre-k and preschool at TSD.  Aside from Tian still being a little unhappy when we drop him off, they really like school!
This morning, my younger daughter and I dropped off the boys.  When we arrived at the school, Travis was eager to don his backpack and get into the hallway.  I stayed with a clingy Tian while my daughter stayed with Travis in the hallway.  Travis hung his backpack on the hanger, then proceeded to empty the backpack of its contents. Mackenzie tried to get him to stop, but Travis was adamant.  He finally reached his red notebook, sat it aside, and began refilling his pack with its items.  When his sister tried to hand him the red notebook, he told her, "no."  He zipped up his backpack, hung it on its hook, then took his red notebook and deposited it in a small box at the front of his classroom...exactly where it belonged.  Ken had been bringing the boys to school all week, so I didn't know this was the n…

Loving Austin! Downsizing Adventures Revisited

Have I mentioned how much we love Austin?  Well, we do!  We adore this house.  Of all 3 homes we've owned, this is by far my favorite!  While I did really enjoy our location and pool in Highland Village, this house is arranged better and is easier to maintain.  In our 15 years of marriage and ownership of 3 homes, we've learned that extensive landscaping is beautiful, but also costly and a ton of work!  We have a few pretty shrubs and plants in the front yard.  There are two trees in the back, but otherwise, it's just a grassy backyard, which means easy maintenance.  Of course, we have the fabulous team at The Austin Lawn Service taking care of our mowing and trimming, so the amount of work we have to do in the yard is minimal.

We had hoped for a one-story home, but with the layout of this house, we don't mind two stories at all.  The stairs lead to an open "balcony" hallway that looks down to the front of the house on one side, and the living room on the ot…

Loving Austin! Easy to Just BE

Ken and I have enjoyed aspects of each city in which we have lived.  In Oklahoma, we had some of our best friends; in Las Vegas, we enjoyed the mountains, dry climate, and church family; in North Dallas, we met some wonderful homeschooling and neighborhood families.  However, being a Deaf/hearing couple presents challenges when it comes to socializing with the general population.  
In most cities, I would get plugged in with a women's bible study group, a homeschooling group, and either AWANA or Scouts.  I might work in the nursery or run the soundboard at church, so I would quickly get to know a lot of people.  In these settings, 99.9% of the friends I made were hearing people who didn't know ASL.   Language certainly presents itself as a barrier.  It was easy for me to visit with other ladies on a deep level, but not so easy to connect our families.  (We love with all our heart a lot of hearing friends who do not sign.  Just making sure I'm clear on that!)
Whether we wer…

School Adventures Part 3

To say I was anxious to see TJ Thursday afternoon would be an understatement.  I was dying!   I had gotten a call from TJ at 11:30am, but didn't hear it ring.  He didn't sound happy, so I knew he had at least had a tough morning.

When the kids came piling out of the classroom, TJ walked past me, faking a smile, and quickly blurted, "Let's go to the car...now."

The teacher said he had been very anxious a couple of times during the day, but calmed himself down just fine.  I didn't get the chance to visit with her beyond that.

TJ instantly let us know he had no desire to go back ever again.  He liked the other kids.  He loved music class and social studies.  He hated the food, which he had been excited about when he first saw the menu, and just about everything else.  He said, more than anything, he wanted to be home with us.

That evening, TJ helped Ken install a ceiling fan in Ken's office.  They talked about public school, homeschool, and the expectations…

School Adventures Part 2

Wednesday, we began our first day of school by reading from Proverbs.  That went fairly well, but within minutes of beginning our book work, two of the kids were fighting...again.   Over the past year, I've felt like I have slowly lost control when it comes to enforcing structure to our day and the first day of school just proved it was more than a feeling.

TJ gets very frustrated when writing.  He feels like he writes too slowly and that it's messy.  Well, he's right, but I'm his teacher and I don't care as long as he does the work and improves.  He has beautiful writing when he's working in his handwriting book, but otherwise, it IS pretty messy.  He just becomes impatient with himself and gives up, saying he's stupid.

We had a rough last school year.  Academics took a backseat to everything else that we did.  But this year was going to be different.  I had no excuse.  The little boys were in school, so it was just the older three kids and me.  Should be …

School Adventures Part 1

It's been nothing short of dramatic around here over the past week and a half.  It all started with Tian falling from the dining chair and slicing the back of his head.  He was fine and just needed a bit of Dermabond (superglue) to get put back together.

Then Sunday, the day before the littles' first day of school, Travis took all of the pillows off the back of the new-to-us couch, jumped off the arm onto the couch, and smacked the back of the couch right between his eyes.  We are pretty sure he fractured a bone, because the bridge of his nose instantly grew.  We iced it, gave him some pain reliever, then he took his afternoon nap.  It looked better when he woke, but instantly took on a life of it's own.  It swelled again, about as bit as half a pingpong ball, then started turning blue.  After talking with a nurse and agreeing that he didn't need to be seen by a doctor, he went to bed for the night.  Over the past week, the swelling has gone down and bruising has migra…

Loving Austin

We've been here just shy of one week and already love it!  We haven't yet unpacked 30% of our stuff, we don't have a couch, but I already feel like this is "home."

When we arrived late last Friday night, the little boys kept saying, "New house! New house!"  We came in the door and the first thing Tian asked was, "Where's Nana?"  Aww.  He's going to miss seeing her and Pappy every week.  My three boys ran all over the house, checking out each room and the backyard.  Yay! We have a backyard again!

We went upstairs and I showed the boys their room.  They were so thrilled, they tried to "hug" the floor.  Thank God they seemed to understand the move.  I had prayed that it wouldn't upset them, that they would know we were all sticking together, that no one would be left behind or moved somewhere new.  From the minute we stepped in the house, they just "got it."  We had been showing them photos of the house for several…