November 7, 2008

Praying for Julie

I have had the blessing of being able to babysit for a very special little girl. She will be having heart surgery this month. I am helping her family start a blog so that family/friends can follow along. She's actually in the hospital now with a "bug". Please join us in prayers.

Julie's Heart

October 23, 2008

Praying for Adelynn

Addie is a little one from our church (and the youngest member of our HADSA group) who had heart surgery today. Please join me in prayers for a quick and complete recovery!! You can check out her mama's website here for pictures and updates.

September 6, 2008

Inspiring! Meet Adam Bender



here's a link to his story. I also enjoyed the second video at this link, where his mom is interviewed.

July 25, 2008

Take a guess!






Fun pictures from our vacation at a cabin (at Backbone State Park) with extended family. It was so wonderful to spend a week with my parents and my brothers and their families (we missed you this year, sis!)....... just havin' fun and relaxing.

July 3, 2008

Sweet Kennedy in her halo

Please continue to pray for sweet Kennedy. Her surgery went well and now she moves into the recovery phase. Please pray that her pain can be well managed. Here is a picture of her in her halo.

July 2, 2008

Kennedy is in surgery today

Kennedy is having surgery today (she's in surgery as I post this) for neck instability often associated with Down syndrome. She will be having a halo placed. PTL that her daddy was able to come home from Afghanistan for her surgery. Please keep her and her family in your prayers. Click on the button to go to her mom's blog and follow Kennedy's progress.

June 15, 2008

Flood 2008

My heart has been so heavy. I've been wanting to post about the floods. But I struggle with trying to find the words. The devastation is so widespread. Homes, businesses and jobs lost. I have worked with many families in the flooded areas. I have friends whom have lost their home. I cry as I watch elderly people not wanting to evacuate because they won't leave their beloved pet. I can't imagine having a loved one in the hospital, possibly in critical/serious condition and need to be evacuated in the middle of the night. The weariness of the first responders is evident in their faces as I watch them heroically work 72 hour shifts and patiently deal with the intense emotions of distressed people.

The flood waters have not touched our home directly, although Kevin (my husband) is now unemployed due to the flood of the quarry. Since Kevin was self employed he does not qualify for unemployment benefits, although we've been blessed to find out today, that he DOES qualify via FEMA unemployment benefits. PTL!

I was searching for a picture that would capture the devastation....... then Amy posted this video.

June 10, 2008

I did it again. I let him go.

I let Nevin go to Camp Courageous for the week. This is his third year. The first year was torture, the second year much easier.

This year...... a little harder. I'm not sure why.

Maybe because it was such a hubbub getting ready this year. At the same time I was packing him, I was getting ready to leave for a long weekend to Indiana with dd (she was in a wedding)............ so I left Friday morning before he was up......... and then wasn't going to be able to see him before dh took him to camp on Sunday. However, we ran a little ahead of schedule so I was able to "show up" and get a couple hugs and drop him off at camp.

Maybe it was because I spent a couple days before I left doing some "crisis management" with dd..... and Nevin didn't get much attention.

Maybe it was because last year, I knew he had an outstanding counselor (from some inside information). And this year, it appeared he had a counselor in her first year and first week. And I lost my "insider info source" this year.

Maybe it was because we dropped him off at the very end of the "window of time" to register campers (because they were waiting for me to get home from Indiana) and so we didn't have any "hanging around" time before we left him.

and maybe it's just because....... like...... "just because"

Can you tell I miss him today? Boy, it's hard letting him grow up!

June 2, 2008

I won!!

Actually, I didn't win....... well, actually I did win, just not officially. I'm a "weeener" (said in Kevin's best hillbilly accent) because my dear friend Amy won a contest on A is for Aiden and decided to have it sent on to me (because she loves me!). It is a beautiful Down Syndrome Awareness bracelet. Thanks, Amy! luv ya!! Now Nevin and I can watch excitedly for the mailman together (he... waiting for his Blockbuster DVD's and me.... for my bracelet.)

Nevin's blog

Just last week, I was thinking.......... I have to find a way to "keep" all the work that we have done on Nevin's blog for him. I'm still pondering just how to do that. Can I back it up? Can I print it? Should I just make Monthly books of the daily stories and print them ....... i.e. use the pictures we posted and just "re-create" the story to print, etc.

He loves to look at the monthly summaries (the calendar made of thumbnails of his daily stories......... you can see it by clicking on the name of the month just above the calendar at the left side of the blog). "hundreds of stories" he says.

Then, Saturday.......... we couldn't get on the photoblog to post. Hmmm..... maybe they're updating. Sunday..... we couldn't get on the blog..... Hmmm...... this is scary. Sure hope they're not down for good.

Then, ....... I got this: :( Thank the Lord, it appears that non of the data was lost. Praise be!! This has become a very important thing in our lives. I guess once it's up and running, we'll be figuring out how to "back it up" soon.

June 01, 2008 - 9:10pm PST

Dear Photoblog.com members,

Yesterday evening at 4:55pm, the datacenter that houses Photoblog's servers experienced a significant disaster, but luckily none of the servers in the datacenter were damaged and no data was lost. Here is the email we received from them:
This evening at 4:55 in our H1 data center, electrical gear shorted, creating an explosion and fire that knocked down three walls surrounding our electrical equipment room Thankfully, no one was injured. In addition, no customer servers were damaged or lost. We have just been allowed into the building to physically inspect the damage. Early indications are that the short was in a high-volume wire conduit. We were not allowed to activate our backup generator plan based on instructions from the fire department. This is a significant outage, impacting approximately 9,000 servers and 7,500 customers. All members of our support team are in, and all vendors who supply us with data center equipment are on site. Our initial assessment, although early, points to being able to have some service restored by mid-afternoon on Sunday. Rest assured we are working around the clock. We are in the process of communicating with all affected customers. we are planning to post updates every hour via our forum and in our customer portal. Our interactive voice response system is updating customers as well. There is no impact in any of our other five data centers. I am sorry that this accident has occurred and apologize for the impact.
Sincerely,
Douglas J. Erwin
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

May 30, 2008

Dancing!

Nevin would LOVE a group like this. Sure wish there was one within driving distance. If I knew anything about dance I would start one. Hmmm......... I think I'll start praying about this. I bet I'd have a couple volunteer teachers (a.k.a. Hannah and Nolan... ex-show choir kids)

"Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another." -anonymous

May 23, 2008

My new favorite blog

Thank you Leah for sharing the link to your new hero. It has become my new favorite blog to read/view. I was just sharing that with Amy and it made me think I should share the wealth. Daniel Drinker and his brother Will are making a documentary about his life. It's been wonderful to view all the video clips. While I have a huge list of fellow bloggers who share in the blessing of living with someone with Down Syndrome....... most of them are families with children younger than Nevin. Dan is a little older than Nevin and it's been a delight to watch all of his videos and his interaction with his friends/family. I'm sure you'll enjoy it, too. And if I get permission, maybe I'll include a video from his site sometime........ until then, you'll just have to go to Dan's Blog to experience it.

May 14, 2008

May 11, 2008

Mother's Day


I AM THE CHILD

My friend Teresa posted this on her blog. I just had to pass it on. I love it.


I AM THE CHILD

I am the child who cannot talk. You often pity me, I see it in your eyes. You wonder how much I am aware of -- I see that as well. I am aware of much -- whether you are happy or sad or fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire, or if you are just doing your duty by me. I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself or my needs as you do.
You cannot conceive my isolation, so complete it is at times. I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated. I do not give you answers to your everyday questions, responses over my well-being, sharing my needs, or comments about the world about me. I do not give you rewards as defined by the world's standards -- great strides in development that you can credit yourself; I do not give you understanding as you know it.

What I give you is so much more valuable -- I give you instead opportunities. Opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine; the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities; the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. I drive you further than you would ever go on your own, working harder, seeking answers to your many questions with no answers. I am the child who cannot talk.

I am the child who cannot walk. The world seems to pass me by. You see the longing in my eyes to get out of this chair, to run and play like other children. There is much you take for granted. I want the toys on the shelf, I need to go to the bathroom, oh I've dropped my fork again. I am dependant on you in these ways. My gift to you is to make you more aware of your great fortune, your healthy back and legs, your ability to do for yourself. Sometimes people appear not to notice me; I always notice them. I feel not so much envy as desire, desire to stand upright, to put one foot in front of the other, to be independent. I give you awareness. I am the child who cannot walk.

I am the child who is mentally impaired. I don't learn easily, if you judge me by the world's measuring stick, what I do know is infinite joy in simple things. I am not burdened as you are with the strifes and conflicts of a more complicated life. My gift to you is to grant you the freedom to enjoy things as a child, to teach you how much your arms around me mean, to give you love. I give you the gift of simplicity. I am the child who is mentally impaired.

I am the disabled child. I am your teacher. If you allow me, I will teach you what is really important in life. I will give you and teach you unconditional love. I gift you with my innocent trust, my dependency upon you. I teach you about how precious this life is and about not taking things for granted. I teach you about forgetting your own needs and desires and dreams. I teach you giving. Most of all I teach you hope and faith. I am the disabled child.

Author Unknown

May 9, 2008

Swappie Blog Theme Day/ Charm bracelet

The Swap is a place online that I call home. It is a wonderful group of christian homeschoolers whom I call friends.

Anyways..... I could go on and on, but I better save that for a later post, because today Amy, suggested we have a Swappie theme blogging day........ and today the theme is Charm bracelet. But I have to hurry, because there is only 40 minutes left of today.

So here you go!!

I actually can't believe I found my jewelry box. I don't remember when I got it, but I think maybe I was in junior high.


I also don't remember when I got my charm bracelet, but I know that there is a bear charm from Yellowstone park, a whale from SeaWorld in CA and Tinkerbell from Disneyland. These were all from a vacation that we took when I was in 2nd grade. Then there are several from my trip to France, which was when I was a senior in high school...... including an Eiffel Tower!! Quite a gap between those two vacations, huh? There is also a Huck Finn charm from St. Louis, MO that I got when I was there playing (my accordian) in a music contest.

Be sure and check out the other Swappie Charm bracelets

May 7, 2008

Sportsmanship

This is so inspiring. I just had to share.







April 30, 2008

Tagged

Renee over at Life with My Special K's  has tagged me.  I am supposed to share 6 little known facts about myself.  Soo.... here you go.    
1.  I can't sleep unless I'm covered with at least a sheet.
2. Dh and I lived in 11 different places in the first 6 years of our marriage.
3. My favorite TV series when I was in college was Little House on the Prairie.
4. My first experience with special needs kids was when I volunteered for a week at Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Camp when I was 18.
5.  When I was in high school, I helped build (did volunteer hours finishing woodwork, etc.) Camp Courageous (camp for special needs children and adults)...... which is where Nevin goes for a week during the summer.  See his blog...where he recently gave Grandma and Grandpa a tour of camp.
6. My beautician keeps me from being mistaken as Lily Munster.

I tag:
Marilyn at Mixed Bouquet

April 24, 2008

Many Hats

I am at a state conference today and tomorrow.   Today we had a speaker from North Carolina.  She spoke about "Natural Learning Environments: Roles of Therapist and Caregivers".   Sometimes it is hard to hold my head up, because I have so many different hats on at the same time.   I know we all wear many hats as mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, teachers, etc.    But sometimes it seems I'm wearing the team hats of opposing teams.

Hmmm....... let's see if I can explain it better.

I work with special needs children ------  I am a parent of a child with Down Syndrome.
I work in the public school system ------ I homeschool my child.

So, I find as I listen........ I juggle my hats.   

Today we seemed to spend a lot of time reviewing research and proving that children learn best in natural environments and if the learning is child directed, interest driven and parent mediated.   Hello? ....... that's called homeschooling.    

 I truly, truly feel privileged  be able to homeschool Nevin.   We have the freedom to pursue his interests.   We can learn in the natural environment.   And all learning is parent mediated.  And EVERYTHING is individually designed specifically for Nevin.

Not only that, but it's fun!   hard work....... but fun!   Nevin lives life with gusto, so we homeschool with gusto!

April 23, 2008

April 22, 2008

the extra measure.........



I am touched when people take extra time with Nevin..... when they give him a little extra compassion, a little extra attention.    When they make him feel valued and important.
Tonight we were planning on going to a band concert.  It was going to happen at a local bar and we had heard that if we got there early and ordered food........ and kept the food on the table....... we'd be able to bring Nevin in and stay through the first set.   He was SO excited...... a "Rock'n Roll" concert. 
But, tonight we found out that rules had changed and NO one under 21 would be admitted.  Nevin was disappointed...... but Jon (the lead singer of Midnight to Twelve) met us outside the bar as they were unloading and gave Nevin some extra special treatment!!   He got to watch them unload their equipment, got a tour of their bus, got an autographed CD, pictures with the band and with Jon.    Definitely a night to remember.    
Jon is the son of a friend of mine (they live in CA)....... but doesn't really "know" Nevin....... yet he was WONDERFUL with him...... actually the whole band was great with him.  It just warms my heart!!
   Be sure and check out Nevin's blog for more pictures.  


April 15, 2008

30 years ago today.........


30 years ago today, I married the man of my dreams. 
 
*we were high school sweethearts
*We were young and had no idea that it was "tax day" 
*it was spring break of my junior year in college
*I had just finished a week of finals
*Kevin worked at the Anamosa Reformatory as a guard.
* He had just finished his AA degree in law enforcement and THEN was told he could never work in law enforcement because he was color blind.
*we had an apartment rented for the summer, but had no idea where we were going from there.
*we were anxiously waiting to see if I had been accepted into PT school at Iowa, Duluth or St. Louis.  If none of those accepted me as an undergrad, my plan was to return to Wartburg College and finish my Biology degree and then reapply.
*we had a two day honeymoon in Iowa City (30 miles away) and then returned to spend the rest of spring break moving into the apartment before I went back to school for a month.
*we were young and in love and none of the above things seemed like that big of a deal.  :)  We'd "figure it out", no worries.
*We did find out two days later that I had been accepted to Iowa, so amid great celebration, we started looking for apartments in Iowa City, where we would live for the next two years.

April 13, 2008

Back to "normal"

We are feeling better!   Praise the Lord!   Nevin seems to be back to normal, although he's been sneezing a lot today.  I'm hoping he is not coming down with what I had.   After a 4 hour nap yesterday and 10 hours of sleep last night...... I finally felt better today.   Whew, it feels good to have some energy.  

I was actually able to get some grocery shopping done, some wash done, have a decent meal cooked when my hubby got home from work and begin to get caught up on my blog reads.
But, it's midnight and I better get to bed......... good night!

April 12, 2008

Sometimes a blessing.....

Nevin doesn't seem to "own" his calendar.   He is able to identify the month, day, year........ but he doesn't own it.  He hasn't learned to "use" it, rather he still relies on me.   So I've been thinking about ways to make it more usable for him, like moving his calendar to his room, so it could become more of his "wake-up routine" to figure out what day it is and what the plans are.   Maybe changing our "bingo stamping" method to something that would be a little easier to correct if any over eager stamping happened.

But today, it's actually kind of a blessing that he doesn't know that he's missing Special Olympics track and field day.  The doctor recommended no running after our visit yesterday.   After a sleepless night Thursday night, we figured out that he needed to go to the doctor for pain and swelling in one of his testicles. Doctor thinks ..... maybe just bruised or slight torsion, .... who knows... he gave us a script for antibiotics if it gets worse and said to rest   ........... anyways....... no special olympics today.    And Nevin didn't notice...... that he missed it.    The weather wasn't good (cold and rainy/snow flurries) so I don't feel too bad about missing it (especially since I'm still feeling so yucky with my cold).    

I just talked with Nevin about it and he's a little disappointed, but okay with it.  There's always next year!


Sick



I've had a nasty head/chest cold for a week. I felt a little better Thursday and yet a little better Friday. I went to bed last night with the assumption of being "all better" today. NOT! :( Sooo...... I guess I'm not going to be able to convert my "to do" list to a "taa daa" list.   Bummer.  Hmmm....... chicken noodle soup, I haven't tried that yet. That's probably what's missing, I'm not going to be all better until I've had chicken noodle soup.  ......off to put the chicken out to thaw and go take a nap.  

April 3, 2008

My Motorcycle Man

Research

Nevin and I are participating in a Research Study on Communication Skills in adolescents with Down Syndrome, being done at the Waisman Center in Madison, WI. This was our fourth year (and last.... he aged out of it, now that he's 18). So we got to travel to Madison and stay at the motel and then go through some different assessments. This year we were blessed to have my friend, Amy accompany us..... so the whole trip was fun..... even the drive. Except for a minor detail (we got lost on the way home)..... not really...... we just missed a turn in the fog, and because of the fog it took us until Maquoketa before the fog started to clear and the scenery did NOT look familiar. We then figured out that we were going the wrong direction! It only added about 30-45 minutes to our drive, but we were still glad to get home!

It is very interesting to watch the assessments that they perform. And Nevin works very hard for them. We get to listen/watch through a one way mirror from an adjacent room, where they are taping the session.

Soooooo..... do you think he knows we're on the other side of the mirror? :)

He was very serious about work time..... but would get his "sillies" out when she allowed him to take a break.

March 16, 2008

Either matching tattoos or matching purses

My friend Amy volunteered to help me find some girl time and escape my "Tyrannosaurus Rex" mood. So we "got away" to a nearby city for an overnight, with lot's of shopping and giggling fun.

We've been friends for 23 years. We've been through "life" together. Many times sharing tears and laughter together as we "grew up" and learned to become women. Never have I doubted that if I needed her, she'd be there. Soooo........ when she heard that I was desperate for some "girl time" she came to my rescue.

There just isn't anything as healing as laughing 'til ya cry and as we age...... the "other" saying makes more sense..... i.e. meaning we do more cross-legged laughing these days. :)

Since we've been through everything together...... we decided it was time. Time to do something to honor our "sisterhood". Sooo...... it was either a matching tattoo or matching purses.


After much thought we decided to get matching ............

March 11, 2008

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Nevin called me a Tyrannosaurus Rex yesterday. Now, I don't really think he was "calling me names", as he often assigns "parts" to people around him in his plays. So I don't think he meant it personal...... but I took it personal, because I've been a bit ...... hmmmm....... shall we say..... grumpy..... lately. So I think it was an assignment well deserved. :( After I got over having my feelings hurt, we went on to have some very productive school time. In fact, school has been going very well lately. It's been fun.

As I went to my bible for some guidance with my "attitude", I decided to go to the book of Jonah. My bible study group is studying Jonah right now..... so I planned to "review and process" some of what we've been covering. Nevin joined me, so I read it outloud to him. He was very engaged! So we went on to "school" and processed the story of Jonah together. Nevin was very tickled that all the letters of his name are in Nineveh and that he was able to "I Spy" that fact. You might also note in the picture that Nevin usually wants to "re-process" the story with him in it....... thus, Nevin helping Jonah from the dry land to get to Nineveh. :)



I do think that I need to look inward and take better care of myself. I need to sit at the feet of Jesus for a while and surrender some things that I've been carrying. No big secrets..... just life..... it gets real heavy when you try to carry it on your own. I think some of my issues are a combination of cabin fever, and lack of "girl time". Soooo....... girls..... we got some "planning" to do. :)

March 5, 2008

Dinosaur Bones in my dining room!

Nevin worked hard digging up dinosaur bones in my dining room. We used the Usborne Dinosaur Kids Kit. It was great, Nevin loved it. It was also very good for eye hand coordination (as you can see in the video). Nevin posted lot's more pictures on his photoblog and also a story he wrote using Pixwriter. He wanted me to post this video, so y'all could see how hard he worked. :)

March 4, 2008

Upside of Down

I just HAD to post this. I love it. Thank you Tara from EmmaSage Blog for posting this.

This wonderful song and video created for the 2006 World Down syndrome Congress by Fred Penner.

Enjoy!

March 1, 2008

Blessed by health

As I've joined the world of blogging, I'm enjoying reading blogs written by others.  I have especially enjoyed the stories of other families who've been blessed by something extra (i.e. an extra chromosome, T21, a.k.a. Down syndrome. 

I am reminded of how blessed we were when Nevin was born healthy.   His heart defect was minor and did not require any surgery.  He latched on and nursed as well as my previous two babies (and although he couldn't handle too much flow..... pumping first to avoid "drowning" seemed to solve this problem .... and after several months, he did fine).   His immune system was easily compromised, requiring frequent hospitalizations that first year,  but nothing compared to what some families must deal with.  

Sooo..... we were spared some of the extra "worries" that can sometimes come with "extra chromosomes".    Please join me in praying for families who have to deal with significant health issues related to DS.   I've added links to a few of these families.     Brianna is dealing with leukemia, she is part of our local Down syndrome support group.    Kennedy's daddy is in Afghanistan, she has had multiple health issues including Leukemia and now faces surgery and a halo for severe neck instability.    I'll let you meet Chelsea and Parker via their blogs.   Princess Mya doesn't have Down Syndrome...... but she does have a brain tumor (her grandpa and my dad are cousins).

Thank you for your prayers.

February 28, 2008

My dream: The Dreamstation

This is a dream that I've had for a LONG time. I often drive by buildings that are for lease (like the old grocery story that's been vacated or the vacated exercise center that moved to a larger facility) and think..... oh, my....... that would work nice for my "Dreamstation".

My Dreamstation:

*** a "club", a "playstation", a "rec center" that is accessible to kids and adults who have been unable to access a playground, who have been unable to play in the McDonald's playland, who in no way can get on the typical exercise equipment you see at the "exercise club". With track lifts in the ceiling that would allow EVERYONE to go down the slide...... even if they are too big for a parent or friend to get them to the top of the slide without hurting their backs.

** a special place........ for a special person to bring a "regular" person/friend as a guest, a "privileged place" to be.

* a place where kids/adults can attend "classes" that are specially designed to be accessible....... like regular kids/adults who take classes at the YMCA or cooking or art classes at the community recreation center or community college. With switches, modified jigs, etc. to allow them to participate; for example switch operated blenders, TV's, talking books, a switch operated nerf gun. Computer classes that have the latest technology to allow kids to color, paint, write, talk...............

* a place where the closet is full all kinds of adapted bikes and trikes that could be ridden around the indoor track. And maybe checked out to families for their weekend bike ride. And of course the ceiling track lifts would be above the track, just in case someone needs help getting on/off the bike, or might want to use it with a "walking harness" so they can walk around the track.

*a place where a person could practice on our track, the skills needed to be safe as they venture into the world of power mobility (power wheelchairs, scooters, etc). 

*a place that provides special rooms (SNOEZELEN)that would quiet the mind of someone who is stressed and over-stimulated by our world and other rooms that would be designed to awaken and engage the mind of someone who has difficulty relating to our "ho-hum"(by their definition) world.

* there would be a room where kids/adults who have been limited in their ability to be "vestibularly stimulated" like all the young people you see, who are lined up for the rollercoasters and other carnival rides. This room would have all kinds of swings, and hammocks and special lounge chairs on bungee cords, and...... and...... and...... maybe even a flying purple people eater (can you tell I've thought about this often.  

* place where kids/adults/families could practice the things they learn in all the therapies that they have worked so hard to obtain. Maybe the therapists would meet them at the Dreamstation and help them design the perfect individualized routine.

* it would be a place where SCL (supported community living) workers or respite workers could take their clients for a fun time...... at the same time giving parents, the much needed break they deserve.

*we would have a volunteer club........ that would help us keep going. Like some retired engineers from Rockwell who would help us design new ways for our "club members" to do things not possible before an engineering type brain was put to the test. oh, oh, oh........ and some of those wonderful creative teachers and therapists that I've worked with who have a passion for these special people........ they would help us keep the "classes" new, exciting and inspiring. We would use a flyer like I received in the mail today (from our local community college) to stay current with "what's popular"...... like photography classes, ballroom dancing classes, scrapbooking classes, candle making classes....... adapting them to the needs of our "club members".

*and of course, a class near and dear to my heart:   Reading!  for all those previously labeled as non-readers.    And I'm sure there would be the Dreamstation Book Club.  Where each month there'll be a new book debuted........  maybe even some published by the newly discovered talent of our own club members!

* we would have "shows" to exhibit the talents of our new artists, musicians, actors, authors, etc.

* a place where being different would be celebrated
* a place where being different would be normal
* a place where being different would be unifying
* a place where being different would not be different
****A place where we ALL realize that it is being different that truly makes us all the same.

And of course, Nevin will be the manager of the "Pizza Shop" where everyone can have a bite to eat and a "green pop" while they take a break from all their activities.


There you have it: My dream................ The Dreamstation.

Of course, then I hit the reality of money :( So if any of you know of someone with lots of money, that they don't know what to do with........... have them give me a call. :)

*
*
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*I can't stop........ I keep thinking of more things...... I keep editing my post!    feel free to add ideas in the comments section!

*we'd have overnight camp-outs!
*look out paintball courses....... we'll have our own nerf gun tournaments.

February 26, 2008

New Strategy (& a "young Nevin" story)

As important as the curriculum, as important as learning style, as important as teaching style........ ultimately...... we often crash into motivation!   Soooo......  we have started a new strategy that will hopefully tap one of Nevin's most motivating things.   Movies/cartoons.

Now....... you need to keep this under your hat....... we have cable tv.   We have the Disney channel, we have the cartoon network and Nickelodeon.   But........ Nevin doesn't know it.   Shhh...... we've had it for a few weeks.  I have carefully taken those channels off of our TV's so that no one will accidently scan past those channels and let the cat out of the bag (because if Nevin knew we had them..... all he'd have to do is enter the channel numbers on his remote).

In the negotiation phase of deciding to get extended cable, Kevin swore on his life that we would never tell Nevin we have it.    In the past, those channels became a huge source of conflict.  Nevin would grow roots into the floor in front of the TV and it would take nothing less than a chainsaw to remove him!  Plus, he of course, wants to watch all of the cartoons that are not "approved" by current "ruling authority" of this house.  (And believe me...... there are many, so many, it was hard to keep the "not approved" list current.)  Thus it was easiest to just not subscribe.

So, on to our new strategy!!   We now have a DVD recorder with a hard drive....... so I have it set to record the approved things from the "non-existent" channels.  ;)  Then I copy them to DVD's (I found a GREAT deal on 100 DVD's...... with an instant rebate at OfficeMax).    If Nevin were to watch them from the hard drive, I think he might figure out that we have those cable channels.    

So we now have a huge stack of 30 minute DVD's that Nevin can only earn by doing school!  (I'm so proud of myself, I can hardly stand it).   The number of DVD's  he earns are dependent on the number of "sessions" of school we have in a day.  

Today was our first day.   So cool.   Before this new strategy, I had to be very creative in transitioning to school work and then keeping him engaged, in order to get lot's done.  Sometimes it felt like our time was just too long, but I knew I'd have a hard time getting him back, if I gave him a break....... because he would consider school "finished".

But now....... he earns a DVD and gets to take a 3o minute break watching the cartoon.   Then he comes back and wants to do another session of school so that can earn another DVD break!  WooHoo........ we got so much done today!    

Hopefully he doesn't figure out a "work-around".   Like when he was little, when I thought I was so smart and foiled his  "escapes".    

alert: ** young Nevin story**
First, a little background.  When Nevin was little, he was a RUNNER.   Anyone who knew Nevin when he was little, knows exactly what I mean.   He never stopped and would frequently escape from the house.   Everyone (especially all the kids) in the neighborhood, knew that if we put out a "Nevin alert" it meant we couldn't find him and we needed to search.  The neighborhood was wonderful, everyone would drop everything and head different directions to find Nevin.  We learned to not search the house first, because he was so fast....... we needed to get outside and search the perimeter to see if we could catch a glimpse of his "dust" so to speak....... because if we spent any extra minutes in the house looking...... he would be long gone (and experience proved he was not usually in the house).   In Nevin's mind there were no limits...... he would run, enter strangers houses, garages, etc.   He didn't usually have a destination in mind, it was the "journey", the "run" that mattered.     In fact, that's how we knew he could hear, because if you saw him "on the run" and called to him, he would speed up.

So on to my foiled "smartness"  :)    We owned every childproofing device available at the time.   And we had resorted to installing locks (the drop hook latch type) at the top of each exit door (and interior door, for that matter).  But with two older siblings playing inside/outside...... it meant I was spending my whole day answering the door...... "I need my doll..... I need my toys..... I need to go to the bathroom...... I need a drink.....  etc. etc.).    Sooo, I got my brain working and I had a brilliant idea!   We had Nolan.... the next shortest person to Nevin..... come to the front door and had him stretch on tiptoes and reach as far up as he could...... and THAT is where we installed the doorknob on the screen door.    Now, I knew that Nevin could figure out how to move a chair to something out of his reach (that's how he got the car keys and tried to start the car at three in the morning..... but that's a story for another day), but we lived in a split foyer and I knew he wouldn't be able to get a chair moved to the landing to get to the high door knob.   I was SO proud of myself....... dilemma solved!    I watched smugly as Nevin went to the front door and tried to reach the knob.   He showed every resemblance to an olympic jumper..... except..... thank goodness his feet didn't leave the floor yet (and I duly noted..... NOT to work on jumping).   Then, he "gave up" and came back up the stairs.   I was actually quite surprised that I didn't hear any fussing about it.   .................Then, I noticed him coming down the hall............. with his sister's baton in his hand......... still confused, I watched as he went down the stairs, used the baton to push up the latch and wave at me as he went out the door!!     Sooo...... for a few years, all "long" things were outlawed in the house.  No batons, no tennis racquets, no baseball bats, no yardsticks, etc.   

So..... I wait..... and hope that Nevin doesn't figure out a "work around" for our latest strategy.



p.s. I'm sure there were many people; mailmen, salesmen, etc. who puzzled over a front door knob that was installed two feet from the top of the door! (in fact, if you visit, you'll see the remnant of filled holes where it used to be installed.)

February 23, 2008

Power of PowerPoint

This is a sample of making your own PowerPoint books. Nevin was NOT interested in reading books, until they were about him. So originally many of the books we used were ones that I wrote and then printed and bound. But now we have discovered the exciting use of PowerPoint. I have uploaded this book to Slideshare so that you can see it. Since it's not actually the Powerpoint.... instead is formatted for Slideshare, it doesn't have sound like the "real" powerpoint book "Brothers" does. Maybe, sometime I will figure out how to post a "real" powerpoint so that you can see it work.

You can easily make your own books. There are nice tutorials on making your own PowerPoint book posted on the web here(8 page tutorial) and here(36 pg tutorial). It is really easy if you start with a template and then all you have to do is insert your pictures and your text......... then, if you want you can make them talking books by recording your voice. Or what's really exciting is to have your child record his/her voice reading the book. This provides great practice...... since it usually takes us a couple of tries before we get it right. It also gives us purpose the enunciate the words carefully.

There are some PowerPoint Books available for download at SET (Special Education Technology) British Columbia. Nevin likes the "My Dog Toby" book.

There are also some PowerPoint Books available for download at NYC Dept. of Education. They don't have sound recorded on them....... but you or your child can add the recordings to the books.


February 20, 2008

:(

.........another migraine......

February 19, 2008

themes

hmmm....... one month of having a blog and I have "writer's block".... LOL... I don't think I qualify as a "writer", but I sure feel like I have a "block". I had bizarre dreams last night..... you know..... the kind where you're trying to scream and can't or trying to run and your feet are like lead. That's the "type" of dream I had..... my typical one is that I'm dizzy and can't walk, crawling and clinging to things to get around. But last night was a new "frustration" dream. I couldn't see..... I wasn't blind, but I just felt like I couldn't get my eyes open or keep them open, they were watering and everything was blurry. Weird, huh? next thing you know, I'll be trying to write and unable to make my fingers move on the keyboard! You sure do wake up tired from those kinds of dreams.

I'm thinking I might follow the lead of some of my friends and maybe have a theme on a certain day. Marilyn's advice when I was struggling to figure out what to write in the beginning, was to identify a purpose...... that it would help keep a focus. Amy started doing a wonderful weekly post on her blog called "Memories of Mom".

Sooo...... I'm thinking...... maybe Tuesday Teaching Tips, where I could post some of the things Nevin and I have found helpful in our homeschooling adventures. Other themes I'm toying with are "past writings".... some of my previous reflective writings that share the joys and struggles of parenting a child with special needs; Techie tips..... how we used assistive technology, computers and software to augment learning and communication.

Now my next fear is that I'll announce a weekly series on something and then not be able to think of something the second week. How embarrassing would that be? :)

I'm open to suggestions.... let me know what you think.

Show of Hands

February 17, 2008

Snow

It has stopped snowing, but now it is very cold!!  
News reports say travel is NOT advised, especially on the highways, this evening they report 40 vehicles in the ditch between here and Iowa City..... that's an average of one every half mile.




We went to the library (to return overdue books) and Nevin got such a kick out of all the cars driving around with lot's of snow on top of them.   Thank goodness for the blessing of a garage!!  I don't miss the years of living where we didn't have a garage.

February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I baked a tart!!  for my sweetheart!  It actually turned out pretty good.  It was a Pecan Coconut Tart.  :)

*woulda been better if I'd of remembered to get some vanilla ice cream.  :(   oh, well...... the thought, right?

Thanks for your prayers.....

Sorry, I'm a whiner.   Thanks for your prayers.   I am doing better this evening, but woo boy.... was I dragging this morning!!  I would definitely have preferred to stay in bed all day.   My head is doing much better...... just a few remnants of a headache left.  Whew.... that was a long one!

I tend to get very "lost" in the paperwork requirements at work .... I'm easily overwhelmed by paperwork..... it just doesn't come naturally.   Those of you who know me...... know that an organized, systematic person.... I am NOT.   We had a LONG meeting on Wed to talk about paperwork requirements (the whole time.... I'm thinking..... I'm a failure, I'm a failure at my job!! my files are in TERRIBLE shape.  Hopefully, my supervisor is not reading this!)

Today.... I was back at it with three different "babies" and their parents.  I just luv'em!!  I've got my perspective back!!  If I'm gonna fail at my job..... I'd rather it be with the paperwork, than with these precious, precious little ones and their parents.   (not that I wouldn't appreciate prayers as I try to get my files "up to snuff") 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.   Col 3:23

February 13, 2008

Weary

  Ever have those days where you just feel weary.  I understand what people mean when they say "bone weary", because it feels that deep.  Today is one of those days.   I could try and figure out where it has come from, I think there have been many contributing factors (not the least of which is a 6 day migraine)........ but that won't get me anywhere, will it?   The only thing that will get me anywhere is to lean on God.    To go to His Word.  
   He says "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened (heavy laden) and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28  
   "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.   Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul."  Psalm 143:8

February 12, 2008

More snow! Less patience.

More snow!!  What a year... it just keeps coming.   But it is pretty..... especially those first footprints in the fresh fallen snow..........



"Mom!!   That's it!!"  [enough with the camera, already!!]  
                             (picture his hand slicing through the air)

***I guess I'm getting a little carried away with the camera.  :)    (actually, I think he was embarrassed that he was wearing my shoes :)   shhhh...... don't tell him I told you )

February 10, 2008

"microwave..uh.. micrograine...uh...migraine"

yup, that's it. Migraine. Day 3. Is improved today..... I don't have to keep one eye closed while I look at the computer. But the sun is shining brightly and I have to be careful and not look out the window..... I close my eyes when I let the dog outside.

I had a big migraine in November and then the next day was in a meeting and still struggling with my thoughts/words. So in an attempt to explain..... I said "I had a big microwave last night..... uh micrograine....... uh migraine." We all got a chuckle out of it and they didn't ask me any hard questions after that! :)

February 8, 2008

Bowling

Thank goodness for "bumper bowling"!! Be sure to check out Nevin's bowling story on his blog.

February 7, 2008

teaching

Yesterday we did a study of volcanoes, complete with a simulated volcano eruption (complete with volcano hat). We used the Usborne Volcano Kids Kit. It was fun, but I do think Nevin was dissappointed that there wasn't a big "explosion"....... just bubbling lava.

I am SO blessed to have the opportunity to homeschool this child. He keeps me smiling.

February 4, 2008

Nevin's Song Slideshow

Nevin's Song Video. Enjoy!

Song written and sung by my brother, Jeff.

Thankyou, Uncle Jeff!!!


Listen to Nevin's Song

My brother wrote a song for Nevin the year that he was born.  I finally got it posted online, although I'm still working on how to get it posted with a slideshow.   But you can listen to it by clicking  Nevin's Song

Love you  Uncle Jeff!!!!

February 3, 2008

Video Post Practice

This is a practice run at posting a movie on my blog. (that doesn't come through YouTube...... I don't like the lack of control of the other movies it places under mine after mine is finished playing.)  I trying to figure out a different way to post a video.

** I keep getting an error during uploading....... guess I'll have to work on it later.  :(

** ok, here we go...... let's see if this works

video

2-4-08: Well, it seemed to work, previous attempts always got an error message at about 5 mb, so this is a very small video, with generic audio--  3 mb.   And it worked.  

Still working on a way to get the "real" slideshow posted that goes with Nevin's song.

February 1, 2008

Sibling Love

Many of you have seen this video.  I am learning how to post a video on my blog.   Should be working on my presentation..... but you know me!!

This was Christmas day.  Nevin got the soundtrack for Shrek3.  They were supposedly listening to it while they cleaned up the kitchen after dinner.  :) It has been such a blessing to Nevin to have such wonderful siblings, they are great teachers for him. He looks up to them more than words can express. And Nevin has been a blessing to them. He, too, is a powerful teacher for all of us.


January 28, 2008

ramblings

Nevin's writing!  or at least he's starting to initiate the ideas for sentences.   Who'd of thought he'd be so excited about a blog.   He's enjoying the comments, tonight after posting his story he started listing his long, long list of people to send it to.  :)    Hard to explain that it's posted and they will see it.

I think maybe a year of having Netflix, then replacing it with Blockbuster...... taught Nevin that the computer is not a self contained unit.  He was able to tell the computer which movie to send next  and then "poof" the mailman brought it!!

He is also enjoying having a penpal, although he's a bit worried about his penpal because Austin is in the hospital right now.  But we're praying that he gets better soon and are excited to do a road trip and go to the zoo with Austin this spring.  

My "talk" for the HADSA (area Down Syndrome group) is this Sunday...... I know.... I'm competing with the Superbowl, so maybe there'll just be a small group.   Who knows maybe it'll just be me :P     

Anyways....... please pray as I prepare!  actually pray THAT I prepare, pray that I can overcome my innate habit of procrastinating.   It used to work ok when I was younger, the adrenalin kick could usually get me through with flying colors.   But now that I'm "older"..... the adrenalin just seems to raise my blood pressure and stress me out instead of "energizing" me.   

Thanks to all of you who have been supporting Nevin's blog.  He is definitely pumped!

January 26, 2008

Nevin's Blog

Just in case I have too much time on my hands, I decided to start another blog.   Nevin and I started one for him today.

We are going to use his blog to "write" a story with pictures.  For our first story, I took pictures during our Nerf Gun shoot-out.  And then together we picked out which pictures and together we came up with a sentence for each picture.  My goal is that he can become more independent in his "writing" and start coming up with his own sentences.  Nevin does not consider himself a "writer" and will often "clutch" and nearly break into a cold sweat when expected to write.  Sooo.... we're working on the perception.

If he seems to really like it, I may get him a cheap digital camera and have him take it with him places ..... so he can also shoot and choose his own pictures.  

I also think he will enjoy people reading and commenting on his blog about his stories.   

We'll see how it goes.  I would love to at least do one picture/one sentence each day.  We'll see.

So our first story is written and posted.  Click on Nevin's blog link to the right. (since I haven't learned yet how to put a hot link in my post)


January 25, 2008

5 hours

5 hours.   That's how long I spent "working" on my blog last night.   I know........ doesn't look like I worked on it at all, does it?   When I got up this morning, I was thinking to myself....... boy, I sure did a lot of work on my blog!   hmmmm........... but my "fan club"  :)  is going to think it was just another day without a post!

Soooo........ I'm here to say, that I worked on it for 5 hours!!   I'm trying to learn how to post an audio clip, because I want to post "Nevin's song".  The song that my brother wrote for us the year Nevin was born.    So, I trekked for MILES through the internet jungle.   Following bunny trail after bunny trail.   Oh, my poor aching feet, I mean, fingers.  :)    One of the most wonderful things about the web is that you can always find your way home.    You may never be able to find your way back to that  wonderful website you found (if you forget bookmark it, i.e. leave yourself a breadcrumb trail like Hansel and Gretel..... oh, wait, that didn't work out so well for them! )  but you can at least always find your way home!!

I did, FINALLY, figure out how to do it....... actually, no I didn't.   I just wanted one of those little audio slider thingies..... that would play the song.     BUT, I did finally figure out a work around.    Soooo.......... coming soon (when I have a few hours to toss at my blog) :  a slideshow of Nevin pictures, with Nevin's song playing in the background.

January 23, 2008

Goodwill visit

Overall, our Goodwill visit went well.   The facility is nice with many different jobs (stations related to different work contracts) and may be something that we would be interested in at some point.   

It IS confusing for everyone because since we homeschool, the "system" doesn't know what to do with us.  And even IF Nevin were in school, he probably wouldn't be doing this Goodwill assessment until his last semester (before graduation).  Which in the public school setting would be three years from this spring.  So, I may have jumped the gun a little by involving Voc Rehab.  But, in all actuality, we are on the mark with starting to think about getting some work experience and building independent job skills.  My intention was to see if there was anything that Voc Rehab had to offer to us....... but it appears to be an all or nothing package.   And it appears that it may be something we consider later....... like in 2-3 years.

The hardest part about the meeting was watching Nevin struggle so much with conversation. Unless the conversation is about things Nevin is very familiar with he just can't handle question/answer type dialog.  I'm sure he didn't understand much of what we were all talking about.  They were very respectful and very much treated him like an adult and thus directed their explanations and questions directly to him.  Unless I had "intervened as an interpreter", so to speak, neither party would have understood what the other one was saying.   I always wonder if I should be backing off more, if  Nevin relies too much on me for conversation interpretation.  (I'm sure that's what all the "caring professionals" in the meeting probably thought)  I wonder if we need to seek more support (i.e. speech/language therapy) to help us.  Or is this just related to his cognitive processing?  I just know that my heart hurts the most when I think of Nevin's struggles with understanding what's being said and being understood when he speaks.

So, as we've always done.  We press on to figure out how best to provide support for Nevin as he continues to learn and grow.   Their recommendation was to connect with the school system and see if they have anything to offer to us.  I will.  And I will learn from it.  I've visited before and I learn both about things that we are doing very well and about a few things that we could work a little more on.  I think maybe I might visit several schools, to see what they have to offer.  I love learning from others and then modifying/personalizing it to meet Nevin's needs.

Last time I visited school, I learned that we are doing just fine at home.  I think Nevin learns better in the environment in which he will function in.  The things they were doing, were being done in an artificial environment (e.g. 2 field trips/yr, as a group to the public library vs. Nevin's weekly trips to the public library where he has learned to find his favorite books, manage his library card, check them out independently and wait for me by the front door) (e.g. double PE class, one for PE and one class period for learning to shower independently, etc. vs. Nevin's increasing independence accessing the pool, lockers and padlocks, showers, membership card, etc. at both the YMCA and the Rockwell Rec Center.)

My own assignment for myself is to pursue a part-time volunteer job for Nevin.  hmmm.... maybe cleaning the library at our church once a week, or something like that.  Kevin and I both walked away feeling that our best bet is to "do it ourselves", i.e. continue to homeschool our way through job preparation, job training and job experience....... albeit, probably all volunteer work.   But volunteer work is a good life lesson as well.

It does get a bit crazy sometimes, trying to mesh support services (SCL, respite, etc.) available from "the system" with our  homeschooling.   But, experience says....... keep on, keepin' on.  :)

January 22, 2008

Episodic

Yup, this is my blog and as you can tell....... routine is something I struggle with.  While I may intend to post entries more often, my best effort will most likely be episodic (defined as: occurring occasionally and at irregular intervals).   :)   yup, that's me!!

I have much to write about, ..... including birthdays (Nevin is now 18 and Nolan is 21); a trip to Oshkosh for hockey, Packers, birthday party and fun!; snow and more snow!; our visit tomorrow to Goodwill for a meet/greet and tour; Nevin has a new penpal that he is excited about; working on obtaining guardianship of Nevin; .................... so, let's see, what should I write about ........ hmmm.......

The winner is: our meeting tomorrow at Goodwill.   Some of you may know that Nevin and I have been pursuing support so that he can get a job.  We're thinking something for 2-4 hours per week. And of course his dream job is working at Chuckie Cheese's like his big brother Nolan.   So we've been in contact with Voc Rehab to see what he would qualify for.  

Meeting #1: we were told this was an absolute requirement to start the process.  So Nevin and I attended a session with about 8 other adults who had very little in common with Nevin.   At the end of the session the presenter pulled us aside and said "basically, everything that I covered today has nothing to do you (Nevin)"...... "it really would have been better if you had just set up an individual session with a counselor".   hmmm.......  maybe you should communicate that with the secretary.

Meeting #2:  Individual session with counselor.  We totally confused the man with our homeschooling.   They just don't know what to do with us (no IEP, no behavior plan, no special ed teacher, no transition plan).....at least, no plan written by a "professional", and the information that I brought with us didn't seem to be heard :(    After stating that he had never worked with a homeschooled student before, he went on with the "routine" questions....... 

Counselor: "Do you drink beer or alcohol?"
Nevin: "no, no beer"
Counselor: "Have you used any illegal drugs, cocaine, heroine, ......"
Nevin: (very demonstratively shaking his head): "no, just Sprite"  :)
Counselor: "Do you want to register to vote?"
Nevin: "no thanks, we have a boat" :)

The counselor went on to explain that most kids who've been homeschooled have behavior issues when they start work programs and so it would be best to have him attend Goodwill, 5 full days/week for 9 weeks for a vocational assessment.  (hmmm....... I thought he said, he'd never worked with a homeschooled student before!).  I was horrified that because we're interested in 2-4 hours a week of working with maybe a job shadow....... they need 270 hours worth of assessment!!   I think he sensed my "hesitation" and stated...... we'll discuss it further at our next meeting.   First he needed do the official paperwork to "qualify" Nevin for services.

Meeting #3:  (armed with my new information from our case worker, that Nevin would qualify for an "On-site" assessment at a job location).   Counselor informs us that  Nevin qualifies.  And that he still recommends Goodwill assessment.  I state that we would prefer an on-site assessment.   He looks surprised and then states that because Nevin has been homeschooled we need to work him back into the "real world" gradually.   He thinks we could probably work out a flexible schedule for the Goodwill assessment....... maybe three days a week, or half days..... maybe just for six weeks. 
   
WHAT?!!  work him back into the "real world"......... oh, that's right........ we've been keeping him in a cave here at our homeschool....... NOT!!   he lost me at that point.
  
At that point Nevin said, "I wanna work Chuckie Cheese".
Mr. Counselor, leaned over the desk and in a condescending  voice said to Nevin, "you can't just play at Chuckie Cheese's".
Nevin:  (with a very disgusted look): "No! not play...... WORK!  you know.... vacuum, clean tables, dishes,..... .... work!"

I'm thinking "way to go Nevin!!"  Mr. Counselor had a surprised look on his face, but still didn't back down.  He said, maybe, AFTER Goodwill assessment, we could think about an on-site assessment.    Then...... I think seeing my resistance, he suggested we just do a meet/greet and tour of Goodwill.

  So..... I don't want to not explore all our options just because Mr. Counselor is ignorant.   So I will give Goodwill a chance.  So tomorrow, we go for the tour.  Maybe they are wonderful people and we'll be impressed with their program.  I need to get my questions written down.... and try and get my emotions in check!    Kevin's hours have changed so he will have tomorrow off and be able to go with Nevin and I.   Yippee!!  That should help both in  dealing with Mr. Ignorant Counselor and with being able to process together and make decisions after our tour.
Sooo....... we'll keep you posted!

January 12, 2008

acronyms

Have you ever spent time trying to figure out an acronym? They're all over, we have so many acronyms at work that I can't keep them straight. Text messages (especially from young people in my life) are full of series of letters that I'm always trying to make sense of.

Today, I venture down to the North Liberty Community Center to check out their wireless. Since I will be doing my presentation there in February, I wanted to make sure that their wireless and my laptop could be "friends" :) As I parked in the lot and walked in, I saw NACKS in big letters on the outside of the building. My brain puzzling over it, maybe North Liberty Area Community Kids Service?? but then, why not an L. It was on the corner by the pool, maybe the last letter is Swim..... C has got to be community......

When I got close..... I chuckled at myself. NACKS was posted in big letters above a small window with a counter. Awww...... SNACKS!! The first S had fallen off the word.   :) 

January 10, 2008

overwhelmed

Wow, the second day of having a blog and I get to report that I am overwhelmed already.   Not really by the blog, but by the events that inspired me to start a blog.  I have offered to speak (what was I thinking?!?) with our local Down Syndrome Group about some of the strategies that we have used to make reading more accessible, as well as share some of the websites that I have recently discovered that have free online interactive books.

My job tonight was to just come up with a "blurb" for the newsletter about what the next meeting will be about.     Oh, my goodness...... if I struggle this much trying to write a "blurb", maybe I shouldn't have offered to do this.   Although, some of you know that I'm usually ok if you stick me in front of a group and allow me to speak my heart and my passion.  If I try to write a script, I'm usually in trouble.

Sooo....... back to the blurb.  (*note.... rough draft follows... to be reviewed and re-written after some much needed sleep)    Maybe just something along the lines of:

"A Show and Tell Session"  
Laurie will be sharing some of the tips and tricks that she has found useful in making reading accessible for her son, Nevin 18, over the years.  Some things that will be shared include examples of: how to write/make books personal and meaningful for your child;   a variety of ways to publish books in your kitchen with simple household tools; how to turn your digital camera into a teaching tool, as well as a communication tool; how to make your own interactive books with PowerPoint; ............. (and maybe some more things I haven't thought of :)

She will also be demonstrating the Boardmaker software and a few of the many ways it can be used to make learning visual for your child.

We will also go online together and see some of the wonderful free interactive books and activities available.  

Whatever the age of your child, birth to adult, you'll walk away with a new idea to try when you get home.

......... ok......... now I feel better, at least I have SOMETHING written down...... now on to the much needed sleep!!    good night!


January 9, 2008

So what's in a blog?

As I've played with getting this blog set up, I've pondered the question...... why?   Why am I doing this?  what do I want it to be?   Originally, I was thinking that it would be a place where I could post links to some of my favorite sites.  A place to post pictures of the people I love..... they say a picture is worth a thousand words, right?  so, I've already posted thousands of words.  :) 
A place to write, like a journal, some say.  Hmmm, journals have always been a private place to write...... not quite like writing out here, in public.   I've always considered myself a private person, however, Nevin has helped me move out of that "box" (I'll save that for another post).   So why in the world am I thinking that I would enjoy writing..... out here....... "in public".   
I have exposed my heart to others a few times through my writings.  I have found that it helps me to "process" my feelings.  Now, as to whether that is of interest to any other human being in this world....... I don't know.   I guess............... I'll just see what happens.   See how it feels.   It does feel different than writing in a book that I know no one will see.  Soooo...... a new journal, a new journey.

picture collage



It's about.........

It's about time.  It's about love. It's about life. It's about family. It's about work. But above all else, it's about.......Christ!