Posted in Happy Little Photos, Miss Sassypants, Mom Life, Photo Inspiration, Ponderings, Uncategorized

Is She Eleven Already?

 

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“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” -Psalm 127:3-4

My daughter’s birthday was last week.  Every year, we celebrate for three days.  We celebrate on the day of her birthday at home & at school by bringing in cupcakes or buying “birthday cookies”, she has a friends party and a family birthday party.

This year we celebrated a little differently.  For the day of her actual birthday, we went shopping for a fun outfit she could wear for the celebration with friends and then I ended up buying her a new purse, trendy sunglasses with blue tinted lens and a charcoal mask to try out together. When we got home, I made her tacos because it’s one of her favorite dinners while she made some cool cupcakes that were completely her own invention to bring to a church potluck.  While everything cooked, we took 20 minutes to lay on the living room floor, allowing our masks to dry and taking some time to meditate on the beauty of being still. Ahhh, why don’t we do that more often?

On birthday celebration #2, my boyfriend & I took her to the city with 2 of her close friends.  We knew every step of the way these animated–loud– kids would be bouncing all over the place, unable to contain their excitement. We were so right! We started out the day by taking them to our favorite deli to pick up breakfast for eating on the train.  As we predicted, just going to the deli was super fun for them–they were so silly, I couldn’t get one picture without contorted faces.  It was not possible for them to calm down and pose pretty.  I really couldn’t blame them.  I’d been looking forward to all of our fun plans all long week, too.

Once we made it to the train station, the girls linked arms and practically skipped to the ticket machines. The train ride was fun but we could have done without the foul-mouthed teenagers sitting in front of the kids.  On the flip side, we also ran into Makayla’s friend from school and her grandmother who I’m friends with.  Something about running into great people I know on the train just makes me happy.

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So, while we were in NYC, we walked out to The Highline that runs from Chelsea, Manhattan to the Meatpacking District. The walk was only 34 minutes from Grand Central and we enjoyed the walk, checking out cool stuff along the way, taking pictures, making videos and the gorgeous weather we were blessed with.  Makayla’s favorite part about the Highline was the fun playground they have on the Chelsea side.  It’s made out of recycled beams from the former freight train trestle and covered in some sort of people-friendly rubber that looks and feels pretty cool under your feet. The playground also had some cool tunnels that led to this contraption below.

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After we walked and played for awhile, the five of us were pretty hungry so Drew googled some restaurants that were nearby and we ended up eating at New York Burger Co.  The food was REALLY good. We will definitely go there again.  I had this really delicious grilled chicken sandwich the came with some kind of vegan sauce–tasted really good and it was nice to not have to worry about getting sick from any sort of dairy products, corn syrup or rice anything.  And their Idaho Fries where also pretty darn good!

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Just thinking about our time in the city makes me want to go back again very soon!  The Highline is now one of my favorite places to go in the city.  When I go back, I think I want to try the food at either Sugar Factory or The Green Room which is nestled in the heart of the Chelsea Market. I have a feeling I will probably go with The Green Room. The food is organic.

Anyhow, I’m going off topic..it’s getting late and I’m still here at my kitchen table typing to you all as if I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow morning.  I will end with saying that on the third day of my daughter’s birthday celebration, we celebrated Easter & had a small family party for her. My favorite parts of that day where seeing her and my nephews run around my parent’s back yard looking for colorful, plastic Easter eggs and drinking my father’s first bottle of homemade wine with all of the “big people”.  Who knew my father could make such amazing wine?! There was a lot of laughter and great memories made last Sunday.  I feel blessed to have so many great people in my life to celebrate my daughter with.  Children really are a heritage from the Lord and a wonderful reward from Him!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Ponderings, Word Wonder

Ruminations of a Sign Language Interpreter

via Daily Prompt: Rube

I was standing at the corner early one morning, waiting for the go ahead to

city-cars-vehicles-street.jpgcross the busy city street.  The corner was packed full of people. It was raining and foggy out. I stood there patiently waiting with my black pok-a-dot umbrella, sipping my luke warm coffee.

A few people sauntered up to the crowd and started debating something. I couldn’t decipher the words until the conversation got a little louder. I kept looking straight ahead as though I heard nothing, something I am accustomed to doing mostly when I work in the city.

As I waited, I starting paying attention to the variety of umbrellas and rain boots people were displaying as they shuffled off to work. I stopped hearing the conversations around me, lost in my observations & thoughts. I got jilted back when a woman lost her temper shouting, “You know, you’re nothing but a rube! You have no idea what you are talking about! So naive, I can’t even stand another minute talking to you. I’m walking to the next block. Don’t follow me!!”

“A rube, ” I thought, “what is that?”

The sign changed and we all quickly walked across the street with our poker faces in place. A couple of men passed me speaking Russian, a guy flew past on his rented City Bank bike, splattering street water on some executives.

I had no idea what a rube was but I knew I’d google it later and that it was clearly not something I’d ever call someone. Still, it’s interesting how just walking a mile and a half to work can broaden your vocabulary.

Later on in the day, back at the train station, I read the train schedule for the Hudson Line and walked to track 13. I found a seat and called my mother to see if she could bring my daughter to Girl Scouts that night. While we were on the phone, the conductor made an important announcement informing us that they had to “change some equipment” on our train and that we needed to board the train at track 33 instead. As I power walked to track 33 with everyone else,  I overheard a couple of people reading Metro North news on one of the TV screens in the station, “Now there was a fire on the train somewhere?” Strangely, it didn’t phase me. These trains are more than 30 years old.

It struck me that if I was deaf or hard-of-hearing, I wouldn’t have gotten that message from the conductor. I would have seen everyone on the train getting up and exiting quickly, wondering in this day and age, what in the world was going on. I would have followed the group from my train car, paying close attention to if they were mostly all going to the same place. That is, if I wasn’t sleeping. We (people who can hear) take information that we so easily receive for granted.  And most of us don’t stop to think about the people who are not getting that same pertinent information.  We don’t always do it on purpose. We just make this subconscious assumption that we’re all on the same page.

Then, I thought about that woman losing her temper and calling someone a rube. I thought about the vocabulary that I’ve acquired from reading and hearing other people in their conversations. We take incidental learning for granted. Countless hours are spent teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing kids things we all learn without trying because we just happen to hear it. It made me think about an elementary school student I work with every week and all of the vocabulary that comes up in lessons that she isn’t familiar with.  She remembers the things that she learns with her eyes and the way it feels to talk about things in American Sign Language and she’s just learning to read.  She’s not hearing any of these words, we are showing them to her on a page, then showing her how to sign the concept and use it in signed conversation.  It requires a lot more work for a deaf child to retain English vocabulary than it does for kids who can hear & hear it often.  Also, remembering how to use new vocabulary words in ASL is much different than being able to recognize the written word & remember it’s meaning.

Just some random musings of a Sign Language Interpreter at the end of her work day…

 

Posted in Happy Little Photos, Miss Sassypants, Photo Inspiration, Ponderings

What Does Freedom Look Like?

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This morning, I was thinking about what freedom looks like to a believer and how we live out our freedom in Christ. I think we get stuck sometimes, thinking about the meaning of this from only one perspective. When we become believers, we learn that we are new creations in Christ, that our sins have been washed away and we have a clean slate with God. The chains have been broken and we are no longer tied to the “old man” that dictated how we live our everyday lives and we now experience freedom in the presence of the Lord, to follow Him and in essence, get a do-over. We have freedom to love and serve others sincerely as God guides us. We have freedom to be who God made us be without our past mistakes bogging us down. We have freedom to choose a godly lifestyle which really frees our spirit.

Then, I was thinking about the Mercy Me song, Happy Dance. Have you heard it? I just heard it for the first time a couple weeks ago. It’s such a great song! The message of the song is that sometimes as Christians, we get so caught up in doing the right things & perhaps coming across as always having it together, that we forget that freedom we also have to dance, to be goofballs & joke around, laugh and enjoy life like a kid! I love this song because it reminds me to not always take everything so seriously that I’m afraid to come across as anything less than perfect.  God is perfect. Human beings are not. While I strive to be more Christ-like, that doesn’t mean that I should never let my guard down or constantly look like a go-getter who’s never short on wisdom.

So, did you notice my wacky picture at the top of this post? This is me, mostly when I’m at home or working with my giggly deaf student at work. This is me being free to be funny, believing that I can be a true servant of the Lord AND let my quirks and sense of humor show.  I don’t want to live in fear that someone may notice my weaknesses or shortcomings.  God knows the real me and He knows who you really are. And He doesn’t grow weary of us. He loves us and is aware of how much we seriously need Him.

This is what freedom in Christ looks like!

Posted in Mom Life, Ponderings, Word Wonder

Daily Prompt: Tardypants and the Pickle Guy

via Daily Prompt: Tardy

When my daughter and I walked through the doors of the gymnasium, the kids were warming up, practicing their serves and laughing. We were ten minutes early for volleyball clinic. Parents and their children kept trickling in after the designated start time of 6pm.  I was happy to be early. There were plenty of seats to choose from which was much better than arriving even ten minutes late and having to sit on the hard floor.  I don’t have much of a butt anymore with my diet change and training for a half marathon. It’s kind of strange for someone who’s never been lacking in that department.

As I was watching the girls do sprints and run around the gym, my eyes scanned the room. Where was my neighbor friend Gina? She bailed on me. When she shows up tardy for volleyball practice, I’ll have to ask her if she got caught up talking to The Pickle Guy at the grocery store. That guy was unusually passionate about selling pickles. Don’t get me wrong… We enjoy pickles with our chips and sandwiches but he liked them so much he talked abt them everyday, all day for a living. It kind of makes me wonder if he secretly despises them at this point.  Or if he’s sick of being referred to as “The Pickle Guy” like I am when people call me “The Signing Lady”.

 

 

Posted in Ponderings

Playing the Telephone Game with a Deaf Child

Have you ever watched a group of people play the Telephone Game during a professional development conference? It’s a great ice-breaker game and can be pretty comical as you watch the expressions on the people’s faces, knowing the message is getting muddled and people are perplexed by what they’re hearing. At the end, the last person announces the outlandish message they received and everyone is cracking up laughing.

Well, let’s put a spin on this game and add a Deaf person to the group of mostly people who can hear with only a couple of people who can sign. Imagine a group of children sitting on the carpet at an After School Program. There’s one student who is deaf and assigned a Sign Language Interpreter. The teacher starts out the game by whispering a message into the first kid’s ear. He smiles and leans over to his friend to pass it on. That kid giggles, cups her hand against the side of her mouth and whispers into the next kid’s ear and it goes on and on. The boy who’s deaf is watching the new game play out. Do you wonder what he’s thinking? Maybe he’s trying to figure out why these strange people are so amused? His interpreter keeps positioning himself near each “whisperer” and signing what he hears. The deaf student is watching him sign but sees how each of the kids play the game. Now, it’s his turn. The interpreter signs what the last kid spoke into the deaf boy’s ear. How does the boy respond? He leans over to the next kid, cups his hand like the other kids and pretends to tell her a secret the same way everyone else did. And what happens? The deaf boy starts laughing and the child who can hear laughs too but there’s clearly a different kind of communication breakdown. His Sign Language Interpreter smiles, shaking his head and tells him, “C’mon, silly. SIGN!” And, he does so that whatever transformed message was given to the kid before him, could be passed to the next through the interpreter who whispers the message like the other kids. It’s an interesting perspective, isn’t it?