Medical Issues

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing LossSensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss.  On Little Man’s 7th birthday, we had a HUGE surprise in our lives.  Our day started out as a normal birthday.  At the crack of dawn, the phone rings and it is my mom. She is calling to sing to the birthday child.  This morning was no different.  As soon as the phone rings, I hear the birthday kid running 90 to nothing up the stairs to get to the phone.  They look forward to the early morning call.

As the phone rang and Little Man burst through the door, I handed him the phone.  I automatically put it to his right ear because that is which ear that everyone uses to hear the person on the other end of the line.

Little Man looked at me and this is the conversation that ensued:

LM:  “I no hear in that ear.”

Me:  *slightly confused, still groggy because I had just woken up* “I’m sorry….what?”

LM:  “I no hear in that ear.” *Bear in mind, I am still holding the phone*

Me:  “I don’t understand.  What do you mean you no hear in that ear”

LM:  *gets in my face and grabs my cheeks and raises his voice* “MOMMY…I NO HEAR IN THAT EAR.”

Me:  “Did you hear in that ear in Ethiopia?”

LM:  “I no never hear in that ear.”

He Doesn’t Miss a Beat

He grabs the phone and my mother proceeds to sing.  I sit in my bed, confused.  I talk to my mom and let her know what she said and she said that I should probably go and see if he has an ear infection.  Little Man has a HIGH threshold for pain, so him not telling me that his ears hurt is really not that shocking.

We go and his ears are fine.

I make an appointment with the local health department to get an initial screening.  They said that he seems to have some loss, go and get it checked further into but not to be too concerned.

I call and get an appointment with Murray State’s hearing clinic. I’ve worked with Susan Brown over the course of a few years, so we are familiar with each other and she is super good at what she does.

We get there and get the test done.  She just smiles and says I need to go and see an audiologist.  She said that he is deaf in his right ear.

I just sit there with, I’m guessing, a puzzled look on my face.

SB:  He is deaf in his right ear and he is borderline normal in his left…but still normal.

Me:  I don’t understand.

SB:  He.  Is.  Deaf.  In.  His. Right.  Ear.  And.  He.  Is.  Borderline.  Normal.  In.  His.  Left.  But.  Still.  Normal.

*I must have looked like a bus hit me*

Me:  Define deaf.

SB:  Sonic bomb….he can’t hear that.

Me:  So that’s bad, right?

SB:  yes, but he is still “normal” in his left ear.

Me:  Is this hereditary?  My mom was born with a bone missing in her left ear and she had to have surgery to have a plate put in when she was in her 30s maybe.  Could this be the same thing?

SB:  *total look of confusion on her face*  Uhm, is your mom black?

Me:  Uhm, no..she is a fiery redhead.

SB:  Then how could this be hereditary?  Your son is from Africa, right?

Me:  Yes he is…I don’t understand what you are asking…..*then the light pops on in my head*….oooohhhhh…..gotcha.  Not hereditary..right, he is adopted.

SB:  I thought I was missing something

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Dr. Shawn Jones…Not…Indiana Jones

So, we make ANOTHER appointment with Dr. Jones.  Little Man is THRILLED that we are seeing “Dr. Jones.”  We walk in and Little Man says “You, Dr. Jones?”  Dr. Jones replies with a yes…..Little Man looks confused and he said “Indiana Jones?”  Dr. J says “No, Shawn Jones.”

Burst his little bubble.

All in all, the tests were all the same.  He has no hearing, at all, in his right ear.  This was probably either from birth or from some illness in ET.  We tried a normal hearing aid in that ear and it did nothing.  It is hard to amplify a sound that is simply not there.  So now, we do a CROS hearing aid.  It is a regular aid in the good ear and a microphone (smaller) aid in the bad ear.  The sound hits the small aid and bluetooths to the good ear and it is amplified.  He still cannot localize sound, but he can “hear” when something is coming.  It has worked really well for him.

What Works for Him

I do not make him wear it daily, but he is wearing it more times than not.  It is hard because he isn’t supposed to “sweat” or get it wet, so we have to be very cautious.  The little aid, because it is not fitted into his ear, has a tendency to fall out, so we have gotten him fitted for a fitted aid in both ears.  They are neon cause that’s how we roll.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Casseroles, Cooking

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Here is an easy recipe for Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.  For added nutrients, you can add some chopped cauliflower and spinach.  These things take on the taste of whatever seasoning you use.

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole


Chicken, cooked in chicken broth and shredded (I baked mine all day in a little bit of water and seasoning)

32 oz. broccoli, steamed and chopped (I added minced onion and a bit of seasoning)

Fresh garlic

1 large onion, chopped and sauteed

2 cans mushrooms, drained

16 ozs. pasta, cooked and drained


1 tsp. lemon pepper

Basil, 1 tsp.

1/3 c. milk

8 oz. Velveeta

1 can cream of mushroom and 1 can cream of chicken


2 sleeves of ritz browned with a bit of butter

Mix all ingredients together (with the except of the topping).  Stir Stir Stir.  Place in a greased 13×9 pan.  Add topping.  Bake at 350 for about 35-45 minutes.

This Chicken and Broccoli Casserole is yummy.  Big Daddy is not a fan of the whole chicken/broccoli combo, but the rest of the crew sure does like it!

This actually made enough for 2 – 13×9 pans.  We ate one (with some leftover) and I placed the rest in an aluminum 13×9, covered and froze for another time.

Even when I’m this sick…I can still rock in the cooking department.

Life or Something Like It

My Kids and Me Mother’s Day

My Kids and Me Mother's Day

My Kids and Me Mother’s Day 2014

Can you STAND the cuteness of all of us? I know, I know…I don’t look like their mother, I look like their sister.  Alas, I am their mama.

In celebration, I got my doorknob and my brakes fixed, but I got a steak dinner cooked by my fella.

Raising these kids takes a lot of long, hard work.

They also got the house cleaned.  I got tons of homemade cards, lovely plaques, and flowers.  There was also a coupon booklet, hugs, kisses, a sweet card and gift from a sweet girl.  Big Daddy did good,  to my surprise, a Mother’s Ring.


This is a combo Mother’s Day and 20-anniversary gift.  I had no idea.  He did good and he knows he did 🙂  I usually don’t care for things like this anymore, though I did in my younger years.

20 years is a long time and I am honored and proud to have survived  stood by my man for this long and to STILL not have murdered him in his sleep love him.  There is an added bonus that he wants to wring my neck most of the time STILL loves me.

Life or Something Like It

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is always a special day.  It is the day that I honor my mom, my M.O.M., my mother-in-law, my husband, and my children.  Whether you have biological children, adopted children, bonus children, step children, niece’s, nephew’s, kids that you just adore, or pets.  Also, let’s not forget those who have lost babies or are struggling to have babies.  You are all precious in His Sight and I’m thankful for you all!  In a world where we can be anything, always be kind!  Always tell the truth, even if it takes your skin off.  Also, be Jesus with skin on!

The lady who brought me into the world and raised me in the light of the Lord, THANK YOU!

Mother's Day

To the other mother who walked alongside my Martha and helped raise me and love me.  THANK YOU!

Mother's Day

To my mother in law, whom I love, and who gave me such a wonderful husband. THANK YOU!

Mother's Day

To my Big Daddy who made me a mommy.  THANK YOU!

Mother's Day

To my children who call me mommy.  THANK YOU!

Mother's Day

Lord, THANK YOU for the gifts You have given me.  May I be ever-so-mindful of all of my blessings.

Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Birthday Big Daddy

Life or Something Like It

New Family Member

Here is our New Family Member.  Living in the middle of nowhere, close to the “bottoms”, there are a lot of strays.  We take them in and de-tick them.  Then, we feed/water them.  Lastly, we always look for their owners.

We have successes and we have failures.

Francis (pit mix) showed up on our patio about 4 years ago.  She was skinny, bleeding, wormy, gross, and hungry.  Francis can do tricks, is housetrained, and she has been spayed.  Then, we discovered that she was burned and tattooed. Honestly, she has been a joy.

Sadie (dachshund) was given to us by a woman, who clearly didn’t want her.  She was abused and had lived in darkness, on a cold floor, for most of her life.  I believe she came to us almost 10 years ago.  She has brought us joy, though others don’t care for her too much.

A puppy mill is where Lola (Chi) came from.  She had just had 2 puppies and she lived amongst about 50 chis.  Five Hairless Crested and other critters also lived there.  However, she didn’t know how to bark.  The first time she did, she literally scared the crap out of herself.  She is a comfort.

New Family Member

Today, Peach and her friend went for a walk.  They found a full-blooded Weimaraner.  He is older, full of ticks, has little pad left on the bottom of his feet due to walking so much.  That poor thing was hungry, thirsty and really wants love.  I believe, Big Dog (Dewey), has found his forever home.

*Sigh* another dog *sigh*.

New Family Member

Medical Issues

Hearing Aid Fun

Hearing Aid FunHearing Aid Fun


Hearing Aid Fun

Hearing Aid Fun or was it?  Getting earmolds is tiring.  He says it feels funny when the molding goes into his ears.  He was a trooper, though!  Sadly, a whole year passed before we even had an idea of his hearing troubles.  It will be done about a year after he came home to America.  He had no idea he was deaf, in one ear.  See, Jude, at one point, has been considered trilingual when he came home.  He could speak his tribal dialect, Amharic, and English.  Jude was a master at reading lips, as well.

Jude has been home for a year.  To our surprise, Jude is deaf in his right ear.  My mom calls on birthdays and she sings…loudly.  I put the phone to Jude’s ear, however, he quickly switched it from one ear to the other.  Honestly, I think I was staring at him for 5 minutes.  I was asking him what he was doing and he kept saying:  “I no hear out of that ear.”

I asked him to repeat himself three times.  Literally, I had no comprehension of what he was saying.  That phrase spurred us on to MANY hearing tests over the next year.  Jude is a master of reading lips.  The people who are doing the testing, well, they have to cover their mouths.

What a journey this has been!

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Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Me, Jude, Go to Ethiopia?

Life or Something Like It

Brandi’s Bucket List

Brandi's Bucket List

Brandi’s Bucket List

Here is My Bucket List that I, continually, add too.  This list has been fun to make and the adventures have been fun to have made.  Some, I have made alone and some with my family.  However, the larger ones have been with Big Daddy.


  1. Visit Hawaii
  2. Head to Italy
  3. Tour Europe
  4. Go to Grand Canyon
  5. Kiss Big Daddy under a waterfall
  6. Go to Niagara Falls
  7. See the world’s largest gavel
  8. See the world’s largest rubber stamp
  9. Go to New York
  10. Take a trip with mom (June 2018 FL)
  11. See a volcano
  12. See the pyramids in Egypt
  13. Go to Jerusalem
  14. Go to Ireland
  15. See the 7 Wonders of the World
  16. Visit all 50 states (TN, IL, OH, KY, TX, CA, GA, MO, IA, IN, AK, NY, PA, VA, WVA, DC)
  17. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast
  18. See the ocean (2009, 2011)
  19. Explore a cave (Mammoth)
  20. Go on a weekend away
  21. See Petrified Wood Park in Lemmon, SD
  22. See the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Darwin, MN
  23. Go to Holland and walk through the actual tulips
  24. Visit an orphanage (2009, 2011)
  25. Go to Africa  (2009, 2011)
  26. Go to the Louvre
  27. Drive Route 66
  28. See the albino squirrels in Olney, IL
  29. See Carhenge
  30. Go to Disneyland (February 9-16, 2019)
  31. Float in the dead sea
  32. Hug a redwood
  33. Stand in the middle of Stonehenge
  34. Visit 10 capital cities (Frankfort, KY; Little Rock, AR; Nashville, TN; )
  35. Kiss Big Daddy in front of the Eiffel Tower
  36. Be in two states at once
  37. Fly first class
  38. Ride a train
  39. Vacation alone  (2008?  CA)
  40. Spend the whole weekend by myself (2013…did not leave the room.  It was fantastic)
  41. Put our shoes on the MSU shoe tree


  1. Get a tattoo
  2. Learn to pick locks
  3. Write a letter to my favorite teacher (5-5-14, Glenda Bittner….my art teacher through middle and high school)
  4. List 10 things I am thankful for an entire month
  5. Be present at a birth
  6. Serve food a soup kitchen
  7. Paint something at a ceramic shop
  8. Master a new language
  9. Learn CPR (September 2018)
  10. Take a makeup lesson (09.21.18)
  11. Learn to use chopsticks (2/14/2014…dinner out at Jasmine’s…learned but not mastered)
  12. Contact someone with my own name (1/5/14…I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m crazy LOL…she even had my middle name, though it was spelled differently).
  13. See a Broadway (went to see the Lion King.  It was a Mother’s Day gift from Big Daddy 2013)
  14. Learn to hula dance
  15. Make something homemade (new) (yogurt, granola, cleaners, there is a whole category for the things I have been making)
  16. Learn photography
  17. Buy someone’s groceries just because (2010)
  18. Pay for the person behind me at the drive-thru (2012)
  19. Watch 26 Movies I’ve Never Seen Starting With Each Letter of the Alphabet (started 2011 and finished 2013)
  20. Discover all the uses for hydrogen peroxide
  21. Be a grandmother
  22. Complete a 365 project (currently working on since 1-1-14)
  23. Lose more than 50 lbs
  24. Learn Chess
  25. Write my will
  26. Get my Master’s (2013)
  27. Stay up 24 hrs. (2013, watching Boo in the hospital)
  28. Be an organ donor  (since I turned 16 and got my license)
  29. Sponsor a child  (2013)
  30. Have a vehicle emergency kit for all vehicles (Big Daddy’s truck 5-23-14)
  31. Create an emergency kit for home
  32. Perform CPR on a chicken (2-14-14).
  33. Wear a mustache while grocery shopping (6-7-14)
  34. Write a book
  35. Get my doctorate
  36. Create a photo journal
  37. Teach a class (College class)
  38. Send a card to every family member for their birthday
  39. Learn how to cut hair (2018)

With my Kids

  1. Read Bible in chronological order with kids
  2. Have another cat and name it Dog (5-1-14, Shirley had kittens…one is black and white and named Dawg)
  3. Go cheese tasting
  4. Send care packages to soldiers
  5. Teach someone to read (every one of my children)
  6. Graduate all my children (#1 kid 2013) (#2 kid 2015)

With My Fella

  1. Ride in a horse and carriage
  2. Adopt a child (2007, 2009, 2016)
  3. Be debt free
  4. Ride in a limo (February 9, 2019 for Make A Wish)
  5. Raise my own meat (pig…check; laying chickens…check, meat chickens…check)

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Yard Sale Tips


Something that Strikes Me

Those Stupid Pigs

Life or Something Like It

Yard Sale Tips

Yard Sale Tips

Here are some Yard Sale Tips that I have learned over the years.

*If you have tried, for the last 3 years, to sell a port-a-potty, stop trying, just donate.

*Realize however that a 1/2 box of opened tampons, no one will buy…EVER….take the loss.

*Also, porcelain toilets that are used as flower pots…it simply is not attractive.

*Honestly, pieces of furniture labeled “haunted” may be a hard sell.  You may reconsider that bright green sticker.

*It is a yardsale…people…this isn’t a place to sell your USED and majorly WORN clothes for $5 and actually expect them to sell.  For example, here’s a tip:  mark them down to a quarter or donate.

*When a clothes rack falls over on top of a little dog, expect said dog to be hurt or in shock.

*There is such a thing as Too.  Much.  Camo.

*Ironically, used underwear simply needs to be thrown away.  Period.  The end.

*When you stop at an Assisted Living Center for the elderly, do not ask if they have openings when your mother in law is within hearing shot.

*Churches are not the appropriate place to say you want to physically hurt your spouse.  As I left, I was sprinkled with water and asked to come to confession.  Honestly, I just wanted to leave with a sewing book.

*In response to ‘how much is this’, the correct answer does not include your latest colon tests.  Also, please refrain from stating that you pooped that morning.

*Just because we drive behind you and stop at the sales you stop at, doesn’t mean we are stalking you.

*One must never cry in Dumplins’.

Phone Conversations

*Realize that your phone conversation can be heard by all when you are using the “speaker” function.

Man:  “Hey, hon, they have a stroller here at this here yardsale.

Wife:  “Okay.”

Lady selling the stroller:  “it is a double stroller…for two kids, not just one.”

Man: “hon, it is a double stroller for two kids.”

Wife: “we only have one kid.”

Man:  “Oh, that’s right, nevermind.”

Crocheted Lingerie

*Crocheted lingerie…well, just don’t buy it OR crochet it.

*Your 4-year-old daughter should never ever EVER wear anything from Victoria’s Secret.  I mean NEVER.

*Again, in the words of Todd Chrisley “ignorance can be fixed but stupid is forever.”

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Who Needs a Sled and Snow

Who Needs a Sled and Snow?  Welcome to the redneck way of sledding!  Beautiful blue skies, a sloped sidewalk, 2 dump trucks, and my boys!  Look at the fun they are having!  I love it and I love the fact that they do not sit in the house, playing the Wii, on computers, on those little thumb computer things, or whining!  Exploring, skateboarding, dump truck sledding…all things my kids love.  Also, they like to ride bikes, play in the dirt, and climb trees.  They also LOVE to read books and play with Legos.  Days like this makes me thankful that we do not have cable or any tv, other than movies.  I am blessed!


Who Needs a Sled and SnowWho Needs a Sled and SnowWho Needs a Sled and Snow

Casseroles, Cooking

Cheeseburger Casserole

Cheeseburger Casserole

Cheeseburger Casserole

Ground Beef

2 tsps. seasoned salt


28 oz. whole tomatoes

14.5 ozs. tomato sauce

1 c. water

2 c. chicken broth

1/4 c. ketchup

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 lb. noodles (I used rotini)

2 c. cheddar

Brown ground beef, seasoned salt, and seasoning.  Drain.  Add in tomato sauce, whole tomatoes, water, chicken broth, ketchup, dijon, and noodles.  Bring to a boil.  Add 1 cup (or more cause I love cheese) of cheddar and stir it in.  Now, I use a large electric skillet.

This is where I would put the lid on let simmer until noodles are done.  In the oven, I would cover and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  After that time, take off lid (or aluminum) and add remaining cheese.  Return to oven until cheese is melted.