Hey, friends!

I miss old school blogging.  My posts reflect that, meandering from current events to family updates to long form articles.  I know, I know. . . current blog gurus say Find your audience! Write in your niche!  But whatever. It’s my website.  

Still, you're probably here for some mommy-encouragement or theological talk.  The shortcuts below will help you find that content quickly.  

The Connection Equation

Don't you wish there was a magic formula for good parenting? We know there isn't. . . and yet, there are things we CAN do to build connection with our kids.

On the Bookshelf

Books I'm reading. . . Books Hubby is writing. . . Books that come in the mail.  Always looking for your recommendations, too. 

Need Encouragement?

Whether you are in the throes of changing diapers or giving driving lessons, we all benefit from inspiration from others. The Mommy Encouragement Files are where I collect wisdom other moms and record what I'm learning, too.

Off You Go. . .

Last year, I put my freshman college student on the plane from post, gave him a hug, and he was off to college. As an “international” student, he had someone meet him at the airport and the international student group made newcomer’s beds with sheets (so sweet.)

This year, I’m in a FB group for this college for parents. So many questions… Ones I didn’t even think about… About the dorms, transportation, lots of details.

It’s triggered a little mommy-guilt in me… Was I not supportive enough? Should I have gone with him to settle in? Should I have bought him a dorm minifridge? Did he have everything he needed? (Thank goodness for those international student-sheets!)

But the story I’m telling myself if that he is a capable young man.

And he is.  Well-traveled and able to handle unexpected bumps in the road.  His faith is strong (and weak, and strong. . .)

Our relationship is honest and he knows he can always text  me. He’s handling his independence well.

Making it Home

Making it Home

I’m visiting my mom (retired Navy wife) in her two bedroom condo. She’s been open-handed with letting things go through the years.

What she has now is a carefully curated collection of eclectic loveliness. Seriously. I love it. It is eclectic. It is only the most beautiful and sentimental of 40+ years of moving. Well, mixed with some whimsical pieces that currently catch her fancy.

Nothing seems cluttered, but everywhere I look is a treasure. Many I recognize from my childhood, but others are items she’s added since I left home.

I know so often in the Foreign Service we share the simulataneous struggles and adventures of being given an odd space and items to combine to make “home.” My mom has done it, has modeled it for me.

And now, here in the other side, she’s made a peaceful home with the beauty and memories she’s collected along the way.

Wearing Hearing Aids Changed My Life

I drove a little purple Honda Civic hatchback when I was in my 30s.  It was a great car, but it was low to the road and I could hear the tires on the road and every noisy bump.  When all four boys were in the car with me, it was super noisy.  I’d hear them chatter in the back seat.  (Okay, sometimes fuss at each other in the back seat.)

Then I got hearing aids.

And I realized for the first time that they weren’t just being noisy in the back seat — but they were also trying to talk to me.

 

Hearing aids changed my life in a way that makes me both sad and happy.  They made me a much better mom, because I realized that my kids in the back seat actually wanted to talk to me — and weren’t just making noise!   Sad, because I realized that for so many years I was tuning them out because I couldn’t really hear and understand them.

My hearing loss is in the speech banana.  Part of the reason why it took so long to have my hearing loss diagnosed was because I could hear — just there were sounds that I couldn’t pick up.

Our brains are so amazingly adaptive.  The actual phonemes that my ears couldn’t hear were “filled in” by my brain. 

Li_e when you _ead th_s _ente__e — you ca_ u_dersta_d wha_ I’m writi_ by the lette_s and patte_ns you ca_ _ead, an_ you_ b_ain fi__s in the b_a_ks. 

That’s how I hear conversations without my hearing aids.  My brain is working overtime, not only filling in the missing sounds but also taking cues from the patterns of speech.  It is easier for me to understand people with whom I spend a lot of time, because I’m familiar with their speech rhythms.  (That’s one of the reasons I understand Hubby’s Russian more easily than the average Ivan on the street.)

Because my hearing loss requires so much extra decoding of language, it is no wonder that now that I have hearing aids my brain is less tired at the end of the day!

Many people don’t realize they have hearing loss because they can still hear quite a bit, and their brain is working hard to help them understand what others are saying.  Often hearing loss comes on gradually, and we adapt.  Or the loss begins outside of the speech banana, at higher pitches, and so the loss of hearing isn’t initially impacting conversation.

In addition to not realizing the onset of hearing loss, many people are resistant because it is associate with getting older and many have a resistance to acknowledging that.  I was in my mid-30s when I was diagnosed with moderate bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.  I felt validated — it wasn’t all in my head!  But also I was young enough that I didn’t feel like it was a sign of getting older.

Have you wondered whether you may have the beginning of hearing loss?

Is it harder to understand the speech of little girls than other people?  Do you prefer to talk in person rather than over the phone?  Do you avoid noisy restaurants because it’s hard to have a conversation with people?  Can other people hear the music playing at a store, but you can’t? These may be hints that your hearing needs to be evaluated.

I had no clue what the first step was when I wanted to get my hearing checked.  There are three primary paths you can take to have your hearing evaluated.

I was referred to an ENT who had an audiologist on staff, and scheduled an evaluation with an audiologist.  This is often covered by insurance, billed through the ENT.

An audiologist may also have an independent office, not affiliated with an ENT.  After my first hearing test, my follow up appointments have been with the audiologist in her office.

You may also be able to get a screening, but not full audiology exam, through a local hearing aid business.  My local hearing aid specialist at Lifestyle Hearing is a great guy and provides screenings. This is often a good low cost option.  (Ye, some hearing aid businesses do try to oversell higher end hearing aids, and so I recommend this with caution.)

I’ve been wearing hearing aids over a decade.  I’m so thankful for the impact they have had on my mothering and the ability I have to really listen to my children.

 

Talking about Teens on Theology Gals

 

Theology Gals abbreviates to TG.
TulipGirl abbreviates to TG.
It was meant to be.

I was recently invited to discuss parenting teens on the Theology Gals podcast.  It was so encouraging to me and I feel even more committed to praying for my teens after talking with Coleen and Angela

I invite you to listen in as we discuss topics such as…

  • How can we build stronger connections with our teens?
  • How do we help our teens with mood swings?
  • How do we encourage our teens spiritually?
  • How do we handle our teens questioning the faith?

Listen online, like on FB, follow on twitter @TheologyGals, and subscribe in your favorite podcast catcher.  I know you’ll come away as encouraged by this discussion as I was!

 

 

Elixir of Life

“Mom, C17 just taught me how to make coffee!” exclaimed A6.

My work here is done.

 

Nature Study: Nest

We discovered this nest in a little bush in a parking lot near our doctor’s office. I love all the birds in this part of Florida. A6 noticed how it is different from the Red Legged Thrush nest we had on our porch in The Bahamas.

Schedule an Event

Whether it is facilitating a workshop or speaking to a group, I'm available to help you develop practical skills to help you connect with your teens.  
tulipgrrl@gmail.com

Interviews

Always happy to do audio, video, or written interviews on topics related to connecting with teens, covenant theology, and expat living.  tulipgrrl@gmail.com

Reach out

I love connecting with friends -- old and new.  Feel free to email.  I try to respond quickly.  Try.  tulipgrrl@gmail.com

Hi, I'm Alexandra.
I write to encourage us as we become the people God has created us to be -- especially in the realms of nurturing our children and using our talents right where we are.

Six kids. INFP. Reformed & covenantal. Liberty & justice for all. Speaker. Current project: Helping parents connect with teens.

I started blogging as TulipGirl in 2004. Tech crashes and life derailed the site. The archives are gone, but I'm glad to be back.

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From the Archives

Hubby's Book Progress

Breaking of Jandaria
Phase:Querying
Due:2 months ago
20%
The Magpie Queen
Phase:Writing
50%
Heir to the Raven
Phase:Editing
Due:4 weeks ago
20%