Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011!


Wishing you and yours a blessed holiday!

Merry Christmas to you all!


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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve 2011!


From my house of apraxia and special needs to yours,
may you find peace and wonder in the miracles of this holiday season!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

My Very First App Review: Monkey Math!


It has been a couple of months now since we have had our iPad, and both of my children are thriving with it!
The apps out there are out of this world!
But one math app in particular has really caught my eye and I beam with pride and joy as I see both of my children doing so well in this area.

(The following info was taken from the iTunes site):
MONKEY MATH SCHOOL SUNSHINE FEATURES
★9 interactive games that teach kids about sequencing, patterning, counting, adding and subtracting.
★With very little interface, your child presses one button to immediately launch into uninterrupted play.
★Uses Knack Technology to instinctively adjust the challenge levels to each individual player.
★Irresistibly cute monkey guides the child through game play with animated celebrations for correct answers and gentle redirection for incorrect ones.
★Kids collect prizes to fill their very own INTERACTIVE AQUARIUM.
★Uninterrupted and unlimited play: game continues as long as the player desires.

★ADD IT UP and TAKE IT AWAY
Use your addition and subtraction skills to solve math problems. Trusty crab assistants supply multiple-choice options.

★PATTERNS
Monkey has a problem: Objects keep popping out of his bucket, creating a pattern - but one piece is missing! Help Monkey by completing the pattern with the choices provided.

★SHAPES
Is it an octagon? Or maybe a hexagon? Count each side of these shapes and help Monkey figure it out.

★SEQUENCES
Monkey has a group of numbers in the right order, but some are missing. Help him complete the sequence with the correct numbers.

★LESS/MORE
Monkey loves to blow bubbles, when he does, groups of shells, fish or turtles are inside each bubble! Use your expertise to figure out which bubble has either the most or least objects inside.

★BIGGER/SMALLER
Which bubble has the bigger number? Which bubble has the smaller one? Help Monkey figure it out by popping the correct bubble.

★CONNECT THE DOTS
Baby Turtle is stuck on the beach and she needs your help to get to the sea! Connect the dots to show her the way.

★WRITE IT UP!
Help Monkey learn his numbers by tracing them in the sand.

★BUBBLE POP
Monkey is running out of time! Pop all the bubbles that have either the right number or the right amount of objects inside before the time runs out!


What I love the most about this app is that they will play for one hour at a time and not realize that they are learning early math skills that will take them into the next levels in school.
The cartoon monkey is beyond cute, and he also has a wonderful way of encouraging your child to continue even if they make a mistake.
My kids LOVE to win a new fish or object for their fish tank when they successfully pass through a certain number of "number challenges".
Matching, greater than/less than, tracing numbers in the sand to help with handwriting and number formation, connect-the-dots to help with the whole hand-eye coordination, sequencing and patterns....it's all there!

Developed by THUP games, and for only 0.99, you can get the app here for your iPhone or iPad!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Have YOU Learned?


Thanks to one of my Facebook friends posting this, I decided that it is a "must share" with you all.
And of course, I am darned sure that you can come up with #12, #13 and even #107 of things that you have learned along the way.
But thanks so much to Leigh for putting this list together.
Props to you, Mama!
You can find her on Twitter here.
And you can find her on Facebook here.


1. Not knowing is a lot harder than knowing.
Yes, there is a lot we can do via therapy to help our children walk, talk, learn, etc. But the hardest thing to admit is that most of it is simply up to their brain and its wiring. There are no certain predictors that a special needs child will develop speech, be able to read, be potty-trained, or become self-sufficient . Good signs, yes. But nothing is certain. The not knowing can drive you crazy if you let it.

2. The internet is a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, there is valuable information out there. Yet, information overload can get you stuck. You end up reading too many awful things — that often don’t apply to your child at all — and it can deplete your hope and make you paranoid.

3. Connecting to the special-needs community (whether it be acquaintances, support groups, or the internet) can be both a lifesaver and bummer.
It is vital to find people who know what you are going through. Yet, sometimes it can produce even more negative feelings. Since there is always someone who has it worse than you, it can make you feel guilty for complaining. And, since there is always someone else who has it much better, you can sometimes forget that, when it comes to parenting, stress and worry are relative. Those people are just as immersed in their concern over their children as you are and, understandably, aren’t grateful simply because it could be worse. It can always be worse.

4. Holidays and special events magnify the situation.
Birthday parties are no longer joyful events. Your special needs child is in an unfamiliar setting, one with all kinds of new dangers. You actually have to observe typical children alongside your child, so his delays and social difficulties are painfully obvious. People naturally want to know what to buy your child. And you might not know. He might not play with toys. And you will have to endure the present opening and cake cutting that your child is tuning out in front of everyone present. No matter what is said and done, there is an air of sadness. Ditto for Christmas.

5. Well-intentioned people will silence you and add to your frustration.
They don’t mean to, but it is human nature to comfort and soothe. Invariably, they will attempt to do so in awful ways. Some will deny there is a problem and say that everything will be just fine. By denying there is even a problem, they effectively silence you and leave you isolated in your own mind. Some will try to remind you how grateful you should feel. And, while gratitude is a great thing, being reminded that you aren’t just makes you feel worse.

6. Picking your battles will take on a whole new meaning.
A lot of folks will look at you like you are crazy for “giving in” to a 24/7 diet consisting of nothing but chicken nuggets and crackers. Even more will judge you for “giving in” to what they view as tantrums and being spoiled. You, however, know that therapy, joint attention activities, and getting to school are the real nonnegotiables.

7. People will surprise you.
Causal acquaintances will step up to be better friends than the friends you most believed you could count on. There is nothing like becoming a special needs parent to give one clarity.

8. Doctors and other experts really don’t know everything.
Your pediatrician and other persons doing behavioral screening may not see what you are so worried about and may try to convince you nothing is wrong. They may encourage you to wait and see. You will want to believe them and may forget that childhood development really isn’t their speciality.

9. If you aren’t a naturally assertive person, you will have to become one.
People ranging from loved ones to Early Steps to the school system will give you a lot of reasons why they can’t meet your child’s needs. Even if it goes against your nature, you will have to fight for him. You will have to insist — which is both harder and easier than you might expect.

10. It’s easy to neglect others when you are caught up with the needs of one child.
You can forget the importance of date night with your spouse. You might forget a friend or loved one’s birthday. You might realize that your typically developing children aren’t getting enough attention from you. And you might realize you are not taking care of yourself and are about to fall apart. You will have to figure out a way to stay both connected and together. This is hardest thing to learn and do of all.

11. You will develop an appreciation for the little things.
There are moments of interaction and progress that will steal your breath. Hugs and kisses are unbelievably precious. And you will understand why this little soul was given to you. It’s because you are a perfect match for one another. And that is what sustains you through everything else.

So, who wants to be the first to add #12 to this list?

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today's Top Ten


10. An amazing IEP Meeting!

9. An amazing IEP Meeting!

8. An amazing IEP Meeting!

7. An amazing IEP Meeting!

6. An amazing IEP Meeting!

5. An amazing IEP Meeting!

4. Continued progress for Kaitlyn and Andrew in speech and OT.

3. An amazing IEP Meeting!

2. Did I fail to mention an amazing IEP Meeting?

1. I LOVE my kids!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The HandVibes Winner!


Thanks for all of you who entered for Monday's blog giveaway for a FREE set of HandVibes to be given to the sibling of your special needs child!
They are the best cheerleaders that you could have, and we really need to give them props and show them that, while they are on the same journey with us, their passion and enthusiasm cannot go unnoticed.

So the winner of this week's giveaway is.....

AMY GORA ZWIERZ!

Congrats, Amy!

Amy, please email me at apraxiamom@gmail.com with your mailing info and we will get your set out ASAP.
As always, if Amy doesn't' contact me within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.

Thanks again for all of those who participated and to HandVibes for allowing me to review this product and offer it to my readers!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

A Giveaway For The Biggest Fans: The Siblings!


During the hustle and bustle of driving to and from therapy and various appointments with our special needs kiddos, we are quizzing and drilling and doing therapy whenever we can to help perfect those speech sounds.
But sometimes, in the chaos of it all, we miss something: the siblings.

These are the unsung heroes when are always along for the ride to therapy.

Who sit patiently (or not so patiently sometimes) in doctors office waiting rooms.

Who are the quiet watchers and listeners.

Who defend their younger brother or sister while educating others on the speech disorder that their family member has.

Who cheer them on day in and day out.

Who are actually heard on many occasions helping out with the therapy and cheering on the little ones when they do something spectacular.

Well, big brothers and sisters...this one's for you!

These vibrant rings are hand painted with contrasting colored letters and feature 25 expressions and designs.
Plus, they are available in two sizes to fit different fingers or toes.
The Handvibes are novelty rubber rings with interesting words on them
in different colors.

They feature words and sayings such as “Rad,” “BFF,” “Epic,” “Dude,” “Boo-Yah,” “ROFL” and many more!
HandVibes are a fun way for kids to display their attitudes on their fingertips!
Adding to the collectability of HandVibes are ten rare black or blue swirl emoticon designs featuring smiley faces, winks, smirks and more, which are randomly inserted into just one out of every six ring packs.
Since HandVibes are sold in packs with two visible rings plus a third‘Mystery Ring’ contained in a hidden compartment, every purchase will have an element of surprise as kids discover if their Mystery Ring is one of the rare emoticon designs.
Nine vibrant colors!
25 unique sayings!
Ten hard-to-find emoticon designs for a total of 235 unique rings in all!
HandVibes are Definitely poised to become the newest craze in kids’ collectible, tradable fashion.


So who has a typical-developing sibling out there that would LOVE to have a set of these HandVibes for FREE?!

Here's all you have to do:
1. Make sure you "LIKE" my Facebook page already.
and
2. Head on over to HandVibes on Facebook, "LIKE" their page and let them know that I sent you there!

That's it!
Simple as that!

This blog giveaway will run from today, December 19, 2011 through 12:00 noon on Tuesday, December 20, 2011(CST).
One winner will be chosen at random.
You will have 24 hours to respond to me when I post your name as the winner.
Contest valid in the United States only.
Sorry, but no PO Box entries will be allowed.
No anonymous entries.
You must have a valid email address.
If the first winner does not contact me within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.

GOOD LUCK!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

The POP for Sight Words Winner!

Thank you all for your great comments and excitement about this giveaway.

And a HUGE thank you to Learning Resources for making this possible!


Now, the winner of the "POP for Sight Words" giveaway is.....


MISTY BARTHEL!


Misty, please email me within 24 hours with your mailing information to apraxiamom@gmail.com


If Misty does not contact me within 24 hours of this posting, a new winner will be chosen.


Congrats, Misty, and thanks again to all of you who participated.

Next week is yet another giveaway....and this one is both unique and special geared towards the older siblings of our special needs kiddos!


Have a great weekend everyone!
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Giveaway Time!

With my daughter's IEP Meeting coming up in a mere 5 days, I thought a giveaway would be appropriate.
One of her goals involves sight words.
And while she is making gains on this goal, she still struggles with it.
Flash cards are no fun, for sure, and pointing to words in a book is so unmotivating.

However, the great people over at Learning Resources have given me yet another avenue to drill these oh-so-important words into her long term memory.

Introducing.......








Disguised as a box of popcorn, you will find 100 pieces of popcorn representing 92 of the most common sight words that are taught at the Kindergarten level.

But what about the other 8, ApraxiaMom?
Well, the remaining 8 pieces have the work "POP" written on them and they are pieces that make this game so fun!

Why are they so special?
Well, as two or more players are playing this game, taking turns choosing a piece of popcorn and saying the word that appears on that piece.
But, watch out, because a random piece of popcorn labeled "POP" may be chosen.
And if that happens.....you lose all of your pieces back to the box!

But this game is more than just learning sight words.
I have found (with my two children) that I have been able to teach:
*turn taking
*they may not always be the winner
*using the word in a sentence
*explaining to me what the word means or represents
*playing fair

I am sure that you can come up with many, many more ways of using this game as both a fun and educational addition to your household or classroom, too!

So, who would like to own this game?

Here is what you need to do.
PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY TO BE ENTERED.

1. You must LIKE Learning Resources on Facebook and tell them that I sent you there from today's giveaway.

2. You must leave a comment on my Facebook page as a separate post stating why this game would be perfect for you!

That's it!
Simple as that!

This blog giveaway will run from today, December 15 ,2011 through 9:00am on Friday, December 16th (CST).
One winner will be chosen at random.
You will have until 9:00am on Saturday, December 17, 2011 to respond to me when I post your name as the winner.
Contest valid in the United States only.
Sorry, but no PO Box entries will be allowed.
No anonymous entries.
You must have a valid email address.
If the first winner does not contact me within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen at random.

GOOD LUCK!

And thanks again to Jenny and the great people over at Learning Resources for this wonderful opportunity!


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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Magic of Christmas

Watching two kids anxiously and patiently wait for cookies to bake.

To decorate sugar cookies with sprinkles of very color.

This is what drives me and fulfills my life.
They are my magic!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten


10. Less than two weeks until Christmas...and this Mama hasn't started shopping.

9. Prepping for Kate's huge IEP Meeting. Yeah, I got this!

8. Having a plan and sticking to it.

7. A successful first swim lesson for Andrew.

6. A second swim lesson for Andrew...with tears. Yes, the newness has worn off.

5. An OT eval that really makes sense.

4. Being on the same page with regards to goals for OT.

3. Continued progress on the speech and language front for both kiddos!

2. Friends, family, and an awesome cookie exchange!

1. I love my kids!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

"I Did It!"


Last week Monday was Andrew's first swim lesson.
The boy is afraid of water.
Afraid to get his face wet.
But the care and compassion of his coach made it so easy for him.
This video was 10 minutes into the lesson.
He went from a boy afraid of water to a boy telling me "I did it!"
Love that little voice!

Yes, Andrew, you did it!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Thank You So Much!


Yesterday, I received an email stating that I was chosen as one of the Top 115 Parenting Blogs from eCollegeFinder.

Thank you so much!
Being a student isn't an easy job, and neither is being a parent. Despite how tough it may be, many of the students who visit our site are the courageous parents who are pushing limits, working hard, and returning to school. The Top 115 Parenting Blogs Award was created especially for you, student moms and dads, and includes a large collection of helpful and encouraging blogs from other parents. Our award winners include blogs that address how to thrive raising children, through thick and thin, while keeping a sense of humor, remaining green, healthy, frugal, crafty, working, going to school, or just staying sane!
I still do not know who nominated me, but I am humbled and for that I thank you again and again.
I am honored to be listed among over 100 other bloggers who share their stories and struggles daily, making the most of what they have and thanking God for the chance to help others in the same situation.

If you would like to see the complete list of bloggers, click here!

Thanks again!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Today's Top Ten


10. Two weeks until our MEGA HUGE 3-year re-eval IEP Meeting for Kaitlyn.

9. And no, I have not started to prep for above meeting.

8. Andrew's first swim lesson = success!

7. Semi-private swim lessons for special needs kids = the best decision ever!

6. More great handwriting progress for Kaitlyn!

5. The end of the first half of the school year is creeping up on us already? Really?!

4. No snow yet...and it's December 7th???

3. Dreaming of sleeping in....yeah right...in my dreams!

2. Haven't started Christmas shopping yet.

1. I LOVE my kids!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A LoudMommy Christmas!


If you haven't met my friend, Loud Mommy, yet....you are missing out!

This is the Mom with a cute-as-a-button boy and together they are conquering the world!
And today, she launched an amazing giveaway!
Click here to see it and enter!
You only have until Sunday, December 11th to enter to win!

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Friday, December 2, 2011

*Frosty the Snowman and Bad Words


I never liked the word "stupid".
Never.
Even when I was growing up and heard others say it, I simply didn't care for it.

But now the word is one hot topic in my house, thanks to the Frosty the Snowman DVD that my children are addicted to.
It is played over and over.....and over.
At home.
In the car.
Wherever a DVD player is, so is Frosty.
It's a cute movie and I get all tickled when I listen to my kids sing along to the catchy tunes.

That is, until my daughter announced one day "Mom, the Professor said a bad word!"
Really?
He said something bad?
I've never heard anything bad, and I've got ears like a hawk!
She insisted that the Professor said a bad word and insisted that I play it back so that she could show me.

And sure enough, she was right!
Right out of the mouth of that crabby old Professor Hinkle!
He's so ticked off that he is a horrible magician and that his rabbit is not cooperating and now has raw egg in his hat....and the kids would rather go outside to play in the newly fallen snow than to watch him.
And just to clarify, he calls the snow "stupid", not the rabbit or any child.
Good choice, Prof!
*And while the actual word "stupid" is not technically a bad word, it is in our house.
Falls into the same category as the four-letter words that had better not come out of my kids' mouths!

In my 3+ decades of watching Frosty the Snowman, I never noticed this.
But leave it to my daughter.....the one with the speech, language, and processing issues to identify it and bring it to my attention.

If you've never heard it before, click below.
You'll hear the word "stupid" around the 2:17 mark.
It's amazing that I hadn't picked up on the word after 30+ years of watching that movie.
But my daughter with special needs did.

Yep, this kid continues to amaze me!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December 2011!


Can you believe December is here already?

Have a wonderful day!
And thank you to Terri Mauro for allowing me to share this!

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