A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Changes

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From green to pink

Well, so much for my reverse rainbow order.

They didn't have yellow. 

Or orange. 

Or even red!  

But they had pink. I can live with that. 

After cast change, we went upstairs for a test fit of the socket Mr Rick is going to build her prosthetic around. Katie didn't like being messed with any more, especially since she doesn't understand why we're doing this. But she did awesome at all the waiting. He'd come in, mess with her a bit, the. Go back to his workshop for a while, then come back, try it on again, leave to get something or tweak something, come back...  He eventually decided he wants to scrap the original design and do something different, but by that time she'd had enough. 

We left the house before 8 this morning, and were in casting until roughly 9:30, and didn't leave Shriners until 11:30. 

As an aside, if you were thinking, "What a cute onesie that is!" thank you. I made it while we were waiting.  The fabric is from Chez Ami/Patsy Aiken Designs, Inc.  This was the scraps that were left after I made a dress for Hannah. 

So what comes next?  In addition to our regular weekly casting, we'll see Mr Rick again next week to make a new mold for a higher, differently styled leg. 

After leaving Shriners, I was feeling brave and decided to cross a big thing off my to do list. 

We stopped at the DMV and spent an hour waiting to get Katie's handicap parking placard.  Whew!  Glad that's over with!  Next time I take her to Shriners I won't have to hunt and hunt for a spot in the parking garage.  

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hanna Anderssen clothes on Zulily

I know, I know, it's gotten spammy around here.  But I'm pretty excited to be a new affiliate for Zulily!

I just want to throw it out there and let people know that if they click through my link and place a Zulily order, I get a little kickback.

As often as we've ordered from them, I can heartily recommend them as a company.  The one time we had a problem, they were great about taking care of it.

And they frequently carry squeaky shoes.  Be still my heart.

Adorable girls’ clothes on zulily.com

Today, they have Hanna Anderssen featured.  Really cute, high quality, nice clothes.  There are many other fun things currently up, but the Hannas were what caught my eye this morning.  Happy shopping!  

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About Hair

This is me.  

I took this picture several hours before meeting Luke in China.
I had discovered that the hotel I was at had a salon, and I was contemplating going and having my hair cut.  Off.  --Okay, maybe not all of it, but a good 10" or so.

My hair is long.  I get headaches, and I always wonder how much is stress and how much is the weight of all that "tofa" (Mandarin for "hair").  I had been thinking about cutting it for a couple of months before I went to China, I'd just never gotten around to it.

At Luke's birthday party, someone asked me how my hair got to be so long.
"Because I never have any time for myself!" I blurted before I realized how bitter it sounded.  The last time I paid to have my hair cut I lived in Santa Rosa.  We've been here since 2003.  

To make a long story... less long, I didn't get my hair cut.  I chickened out.  Part of it was being scared of how it would turn out, putting my hair in the hands of people who speak a different language, playing charades, and hoping for the best.  The other part was not knowing how much it would cost, and being cheap.

So with that as background, I jumped at the chance to do a review for a little hair bling.

Jennifer at http://www.lillarose.biz/prettyhair was looking for a couple bloggers to review Lilla Rose products.  I had just recently heard of flexiclips and thought they looked interesting.  

Jennifer was great to work with, messaging back and forth, answering questions and linking me to helpful videos.  After looking at the website and watching the sizing video, I thought I should try the size small flexiclip, and I told her to surprise me with the design.  

Opening the package, I was impressed with the presentation and the quality of the clip.

Initially, I was ambivalent about the color I received, but I did find a couple things in my closet that I could wear it with.  

It was a little awkward to put in the first couple of times I used it, but I got used to it.  
This photo was taken the first time I wore it, and you can see that it's a little crooked.  Which, I guess doesn't really matter, but I'm aiming for a bit straighter.  

The size Small was perfect for my ponytail, but too big for what the Lilla Rose site calls a "half up" style, which I sometimes wear.  There are some really pretty size Extra Small flexiclips that range from $14-$21, and I think I might need the purple one in my Christmas stocking.  

After watching the styles video, I am inspired to try a couple of new ideas.  I pretty much wear a ponytail most of the time.  I think a size Large flexiclip would be perfect for trying some of the styles with all or most of my hair up.  The Large flexiclips range in price from $16-$23.  While that may be a little more than you'd pay for a barrette at Target, these are a much nicer quality, and I feel this is a reasonable price for what you get.  

One of the things I liked about the flexiclip was that it stayed in place all day long.  Sometimes with scrunchies, especially old, stretched out ones, by the end of the day, they're loose.  The flexiclip has 3 notches on the pin portion to give you the perfect fit.  Something that surprised me about the flexiclip was the way my ponytail laid flat against my head instead of sticking straight out, like from a scrunchie.  It wasn't bad, just different.  Overall, my experience was positive, and I'm pleased to recommend both Lilla Rose products and Jennifer as a consultant.  I hope that if you're in the market for a treat for yourself you'll consider ordering from her.  

Lilla Rose sells other hair bling, such as bands, sticks, bobbies, you-pins, and O rings.  They also sell pretty badge holders.  Lilla Rose is a consultant based business, and as such, it's an opportunity for people who like retail sales.  

Please take a moment to poke around Jennifer's Lilla Rose site and see if anything catches your eye.  

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Monday, July 29, 2013

The MIND Institute

It's taken me several days to get a turn on my own computer to sit down and write this post, yet I'm still not sure what I want to say.  I just know that people are wondering how it went and I should give an update.

So Tuesday was Luke's visit at the MIND Institute.  We were with the doctor for over 2.5 hours.  She did a lot of testing, and we talked about what Luke can and can't do, and she examined him.

The upshot of it all is, Luke does not meet the new criteria to be diagnosed with autism at this time.  (The criteria for diagnosis changed recently.)  Because he makes eye contact, she feels he has appropriate social interaction skills.  However, she did say she considers him "at risk" for an autism diagnosis in the future.  And she did say that he is severely delayed.  Big surprise there.

Based on her assessments, Luke's test scores ranged from 1 month old (fine motor skills) to 8 months old, developmentally.  For those just tuning in, Luke is 2 years old.  The doctor is mailing us the detailed report, which should be here next week.  Hopefully it will be a help to the people from Alta Regional and SCOE when they come out to assess him next month.

While we were there, I had her look over the lab work that the pediatric neurologist ordered.  He asked me to wait and see if the MIND Institute folks were going to order any additional tests, so Luke would only have to go to the lab once.  Awfully considerate of him, really.  She said there wasn't anything else she needed, lab wise, so I took Luke in for bloodwork Wednesday.

Two of the tests require a urine specimen, so the lab sent me home with a stick-on pee bag, and strict instructions that I was to collect the specimen, pour it into the cup, pack the cup in ICE, and rush it back to the lab asap.  I was exhausted Wednesday afternoon, and we had appointments first thing Thursday, and Paul worked on Friday, so the long and the short of it is, Luke is currently bagged, and we're waiting for him to produce.  The kids are fascinated.  Never a dull moment, I tell you.  I figure after we drop off the pee, I can go pick up some burritos at Trader Joe's.  You know, since I'll be out anyway.

I suppose we're closer to some answers, merely in knowing what it's not, but it doesn't help much in terms of prognosis.  No telling what time and therapy will do, of course, but I'd like to get some idea of his potential trajectory, so I can adjust my own expectations.  Our next big milestone visit will be the follow up at neurology at the end of next month, to interpret all the test results, after his MRI, EEG, etc.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Like To Read?

I'd like to tell you about Tyndale Rewards.  It's a free program where you can earn points and redeem them for books!  REAL books, not ebooks.  And you can see a sample chapter before you decide which book is right for you.  I was impressed.

After signing up, I took a couple surveys and gave them my birthday, and soon I had enough points for a book!  Seriously, in one day.  And I was able to find a book that I'd run across in the Rainbow Resource homeschool catalog and thought, "Oh, I bet Sam would love that!"  Since his birthday is next month, I used my points to get the book for him, FREE.  My favorite price.  There's no hidden costs, either.  You don't even have to pay for shipping!

Here's a video that explains the program.  Please click here and check it out for yourself.  I've already got my eye on another book for myself.  Once I earn enough points, I'll be getting that one, too.

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Babies to the Dentist

Katie and Luke wore their Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts for the first time!  
I can't believe I have two 2 year olds.  

Katie did well.  She let the hygienist look at her teeth and count them.  We decided not to try polishing or x-rays until next time.  The dentist said her teeth look good and we'll try again in 6 months.  Katie was happy to get a new toothbrush at the end.  

Luke has a dental deformity that I was anxious to get the dentist's opinion.  He basically said it's harmless and for now, we'll just leave it alone.  I asked about the tooth grinding, and he said there's nothing we can do about it.  Hmm.  I was hoping for a little more action in there somewhere, but I guess not.  Luke screamed through having his teeth brushed (he had a different hygienist) and then got fluoride gel painted on.  

Both kids got light up necklaces from the prize box, and then I could cross off one more thing on the To Do List.  Dentist, check!  

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sunday Snapshot

As Sam would say, "Good goodness!"  I've got some beautiful kids.  In an effort to do something I enjoy, I dressed my two 2 year olds up in their China silks and took some pictures.  Bri jumped into her silk dress and joined in the fun, as well.

Katie girl

She's a sweet, precious, good-natured little creature.  

Her spontaneous English words right now are:  Uh oh, Eli, Brianna, yummy, and more.

She likes to build with mega blocks and play with Hannah's dollhouse.  She doesn't like wearing a bib, being alone in a room, or cats.

A cat interrupted our photo shoot.

Baby Luke

2 on the outside, 8 months old on the inside.
Mostly mellow, sometimes screamy.

Cute enough to get away with not sleeping through the night, but oh, son, I will celebrate when you do!  

Beautiful Breezy
Home from camp, rejuvenated from her week away.  

I may have resorted to candy bribes to obtain some of these photos.

It was worth it.

Linking up with:
Ni Hao Yall
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Friday, July 26, 2013

It sparkles! My Pinned It and DID IT for July.

I recently pinned a blog post about making Time Out Bottles.

I don't want to have a Pinterest account full of things I'm never actually going to do, so I'm challenging myself to DO some of them.  

We don't really practice "time out" in the traditional sense, but they looked like a fun project, so I decided we could make some anyway.

I bought some drinks at Target that came in SMOOTH bottles.  

We took the labels off.  This works best if you warm them up with hot water, and use a little Goo Gone to rub off the residue.

Squirt a tube or two of glitter glue into your bottle, and add some FINE glitter (regular glitter is pretty, but it's too heavy for this project).

Add a bit of hot water, and shake to mix.

(Asian hat optional.  Yes, he walked Hannah to school wearing that this morning.)

The idea is, when you shake it, the glitter swirls around all pretty, and it takes a few minutes for it to all settle down to the bottom again.  You're supposed to add CLEAR gel glue until you get the right amount of time, so you can hand it to your child and tell them they're in time out until the glitter settles.  

But we just like to look at them!  

They're pretty!  

Kiwi Crate Craft Kits

Also, check out Kiwi Crate for neat projects that come in the mail each month!  I'm a new affiliate for them.  

Linking up with:  Share it Saturday at http://teachbesideme.com

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Homegrown Preschooler

What a treat to come home to!  When we got back from China 3 weeks ago, I had a bucket of mail and a few packages waiting for me.  One of the packages was the book The Homegrown Preschooler:  Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live from Gryphon House.

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What a perfect book for where we're at.  So many homeschoolers, myself included, have asked, "What do we do with our toddlers and preschoolers while we're schooling the older kids?"  I'm guilty of thinking that they're just in the way during school time.  Not so!  Preschoolers are simply a different animal, in need of their own educational support.

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This is the nice, clean cover art.  And this is my copy:

As you can see, there are a lot of things I want to refer back to in this great book.  For $29.95, they pack in recipes, building instructions, theory, activities, how to set up your home for optimal learning, and so much more!  The pink tabs are things I want to do with Katie, the yellow ones are for my own reference (like trying to talk dh into building a light table for us), and the blue ones are things to try with Luke.

Things have been so crazy around here that I haven't had time to do as many of the activities with Katie as I would have liked, but the book has been a great reminder of the mindset that I need to have in providing opportunities for her to learn through play.

Who doesn't love counting bears, right?  

This was one activity that I was more excited about than Katie was.  

Samuel really got into the idea of mixing colors in shaving creme.

Katie, not so much.  

While the book is written for adults, and intended to be ideas for preschoolers, many of the ideas have a much wider age appeal.  

One of the things I loved about this book was that it was easy to read in little bites.  It wasn't something where I needed a bunch of uninterrupted (ha!) time to myself to understand what was being presented.  It was perfect for reading a bit while I waited for the littles to doze off at bedtime or naptime.  

Another thing that made this book special to me is that there are sections on both adoption and special needs.  Two issues very relevant to us right now.  Sometimes I read with tears in my eyes, grateful for someone putting words to what's going on in my life.  

The Getting Started Checklist in the back of the book comes at the perfect time for me to incorporate a few purchases into our back to school expenditures, and the Activity Checklist is a great way to hold myself accountable to be deliberate in focusing on different areas of development and getting them covered every week.  I think a perfect planner would have our curriculum weekly checklist on one side and the Activity Checklist from this book on the other.  

I really liked the reminder to be deliberate in providing learning moments through play.  Even though our review period is over, this is one book that will be staying on my nightstand for quite a while.  I plan to refer to it as I set up our school room for the new year, too.  

Monkey see, monkey do.  Now that's positive peer pressure!  

You can click below to read what other reviewers had to say about both this book, and also about Global Art, a book that we used in our homeschool last year.  


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