A New School for Vivi!

coesextendedsmall-copy1.jpgI’m excited to share that a few weeks ago, Vivian started at a new school, Connerton Elementary School.  It’s a more appropriate school for her specific needs, as it supports the Florida Access Points program.  It’s been a real struggle to get Vivian placed into a different school, and it all really started last summer.

As a little background, we moved about a year ago from Pasco County to Hernando County.  Hernando County has a different set of practices for ESE classes. This meant Jen’s 504 plan and Emma and Vivian’s IEP’s all needed to be revised to fit the new school’s and county’s ESE protocols.  And, in Vivian’s new Pre-K class, we found that she regressed in many areas.  I also found out that Emma and Vivian would be in the same classroom in the coming 2017-18 school year.  I was unsatisfied and wanted change.

So, I applied for the School Choice program and requested Emma and Vivian be placed back into Pasco County Schools.  They were accepted at Shady Hills Elementary and everything looked great, until orientation day when I found out that Emma and Vivian were both in the same class, a self-contained Autism class achieving the regular Florida Standards.  This class was perfect for Emma, not so much for Vivian.  So, I requested that Vivian be placed at a different school – one with the Access Points program.

However, there were many hurdles to overcome in order to get Vivian into another school.  First, she needed to be formally evaluated by the school psychologist to determine if she was eligible for the Access Points program.  Then, her IEP needed to be re-written (again) for compatibility with Access Points. Then, because we are part of the school choice program, a school still open for school choice this and next year and had Access points needed to be selected.  The two closest schools with Access Points in Pasco county were “full” and closed to School Choice.

connerton elementarySo, Connerton Elementary was selected.  it’s one of the newer elementary schools in the county, tucked in the back of a nice, developing community.  I took a tour of the school as soon as I could and I was satisfied with the condition of the facilities and was impressed by how pleasant the staff was.

 

And so far, I think Vivian is settling in well in her new class.  She is receiving additional assistance, and there is less of a push of standard academics and more of a push on self-care, life skills.  They still complete academic work, just at a different pace.

Until Next time….

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Book Review: 30 Days to Peace: A One-Month Creative Journal by Waterbrook (2017)

30-days-to-peace-large30 Days To Peace: A One-Month Creative Journal is a wonderful and beautiful, hardcover journal that makes it oh so easy and simple to keep a, well, creative journal for a month.

Inside the book of 30 Days to Peace, you will find pages delightfully filled with daily inspirational quotes, creative and artistic prompts, and journaling prompts.  30 Days to Peace also has sections for identifying what peace means to you and to get get more peace into your life.

After reading through the journal 30 Days to Peace, I will certainly be using this journal.  I think anyone who wants to find more peace within their lives should spend the time to pursue 30 Days to Peace.  And of course, its a personal journal, so there are no right or wrong answers to the prompts — it’s all about your personal beliefs and goals.

30 Days to Peace is a glorious and precious gift to give to anyone you care about — as well as yourself.

I rate this book five out of five stars.

Disclosure: I received a complementary copy of 30 Days to Peace to review from Blogging for Books.

 

Book Review: The Daily Question

The Daily Question: My 5-Year Spiritual Journal by WaterBrook, A Book Review

365 Questions – 5 Years – 1,825 Answers

The Daily Question Book Cover The Daily Question is a unique journal made to see how “everything” in life develops over five years.  So, you’ll see your entries for the same question on January 1, let’s say on 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.  I think its a pretty cool idea.

Pros of this book: It’s a nifty little book, perfect size for the night stand, with just enough room for a one sentence entry, which, if you’re like me, is all you’re likely to get in each night. However, if you want to do a five-year journal, that’s the kind of journaling I recommend to keep it easy to adhere to, and if you skip a day a two, easy to catch up on.

Cons of this book: It’s a little book, which leaves very little space for an in-depth entry, if that’s what you are into. It’s a small book, which over five years, may be apt to getting lost. And, it’s a five-year commitment to writing something down every single day.

I found the questions in the journal to range from spiritual to thought provoking and I could imagine myself answering each at the end of a day. As I mentioned though, the space for your entries are quite small, and you would have to write small and concise, which is not always desired when journaling.

Here’s a few of entries you’ll see in this journal:

  • How do you relax after a stressful day?
  • What frustrates you about the Bible?
  • What can’t you forget?
  • Who is on heart in this moment?
  • Who should you talk to today?

I like the art on the cover of journal, and overall, I would give four hearts out of five for this journaling book.

Disclosure:  Please note, I received a complementary copy of The Daily Question: My 5 Year Spiritual Journal from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion expressed within this review on All The Pieces of My Heart.

Until next time…

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It’s Spidey-Baby!!!

spidey baby 3Oh, so many things I could write about, but a quick, um, funny, one first, I suppose.

So us mommas, and really, anyone who has taken care of littles knows that children will put literally anything in their mouths — right? Seriously, anything.

This subject can go along with the canon of things you never thought you would hear yourself saying…. “Take _________ (fill in the blank with the most inappropriate object within arms reach) out of your mouth right this second!!!” 

Let me list my faves:

  • Barbie’s head
  • Barbie’s butt
  • a whole baby (it was a little baby)
  • Pooh (it was a puzzle piece, for clarification purposes)
  • Belle (or any princess, it is a house full of girls); and topping the list,
  • THAT GROSS SPIDER EGG SAC…

So, that bring me to the crux of this post. Yes, my littlest tried and successfully ATE a spider egg sac.  And yes, I get the heebee geebees just thinking about it.

spidey baby 2

Let me take you back to the moment — it was a school day, and I had just gotten back home from dropping Viv and Emma off at school.  After walking in the house, I put Shawn on the floor of the living room (where there is an abundance of toys to play with) and walked into the adjacent kitchen to warm a bottle.  I turned to check on him after a few moments, and saw him next to sliding glass doors with a small, white round object in his mouth.  I knew what it was, as we had just cleaned a bunch of old spider egg sacs from the threshold of said sliding glass door. So, it was a pretty good educated guess, that when I saw a spiky, opaque, white ball in his mouth, it was another old brown widow spider egg sac…

DROP. BOTTLE. RUN. TO. BABY. who. by, then. had. ewwwwwww….. and he had swallowed that thing.  So. Gross.

spidey baby

And who is you call when this happens? Well, I called my husband, the pediatrician, poison control….. The only one who had legit answers was poison control – watch the kid for any adverse reactions (baby spiders don’t have venom, and if my hunch was right it was an old dead sac anyway). So I asked about my adverse reaction – as in I felt like I was going to vomit. So gross. Ugh.

So what was to be done? Nothing, really, well, except watch the baby, and decide he was going to be Spidey-baby for Halloween and have a Spider Man themed first birthday party….

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Yup, that’s MY Spidey Baby… Awwww….

Until next time…

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Look Out, It’s Super…. Achoo!

lofty goalsSo, I had all these fond, super lofty goals (as one often does when beginning something super fun, like, say, a blog) with post at least once maybe even twice a week if I was lucky.  I mean, I wasn’t going to get all over zealous and say they had to be long blog posts with academic-type references at the end or anything… So I made a mental list of awesome things to write about because we have plenty of material to write about, and then boom, I caught the cold from hell.  Said cold put me in a what seemed like a time warp.

On a perfect day, making time to write (and if possible, checking my writing for silly errors before posting) is often quite difficult with what often seems like a gaggle of children. And then I caught that darned cold thing.  Thankfully, I was very careful and no one else got sick.

So there you go.  Seems I turned the corner on said cold, except for the lingering cough, and have pretty much caught back up with life.

So, back to life, back to reality….

back-to-life-back-to-reality-

And, until next time…

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A Voice for Vivi

 

So, as I mentioned in that oh, so important very first blog post, we are having a very difficult time finding a way for Vivian to effectively communicate with us.  And by effectively, I mean a way she is interested in.  We’ve heard Vivian use words before, but it’s been over a year since Shawn or I have heard her use them, and to be honest, they were generally out of context. We’ve tried, with the assistance of her previous Pre-K teachers and Speech therapists, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and have mixed success with the paper PECS format and the ipad format.

 

PECS cards

Knowing this, I researched trying to obtain what the insurance company would consider a communication device, and our insurance company.  The device we are trying to obtain for Vivian is the Tobii Dynavox, an all-in-one speech tablet created specifically for for augmentative and alternative communication, created and designed for children like Vivian who have non-verbal Autism. Since Vivian is a visual learner and is attracted to electronic devices (likes most kids), we are hoping she will take a liking to the Tobi and will use it to communicate.

tobii

Until next time…

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The First Post

Yay! It’s the very first post of the new blog! How super exciting!  Now, what to write about?  Well, what would be more appropriate than to introduce you to my family you’ll be hearing all about in the coming posts, so, here goes…

Welcome to my “little” family.  We’re a nice small family of six. Yeah, OK, I guess for American standards that’s a big family, but who’s counting, really?!? And we’re what you would consider a “blended” family. But as the saying goes,

“Being a parent requires love, not DNA.”

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My husband and I love all of our children equally.  That’s all that matters.  And if you think about it, blended families are brought together by choice, then strengthened further by love.  Other than the fact that three of out children our special needs kids.  Let’s face it, it take a whole heck of a lot of effort to run a household with four kids in the house — then think about it three of the four kids are special needs kids. Yeah, put more effort into it.  But you know what, I don’t know how to do it any other way, and I wouldn’t want it any different.

So, let’s start with a little bit about me – I’m a thirty-something stay-at home Momma of four adorable little ones. They are my life through and through. I grew up in Maryland and in my work outside of the home years back.  My hubby also grew up in Maryland, and actually we knew each other waaaaaay back in those old high school years.  We kept in touch over the years and reconnected a while back and, well, thank goodness we did, because look at where we are now. We fell in love, and made one big, big happy family!  My hubby works outside of the home, and is away occasionally for work (Boo!!!)

And for our kiddos… As I may have mentioned before, we have four wonderful littles, three beautiful daughters, all on the autism spectrum at varying levels, and one handsome rambunctious  baby boy.

Our eldest daughter, Jen, is a gorgeous, creative, thirteen year-old teenager obsessed with the typical video games, everything Lego (currently it’s Ninjango stuff), Marvel and DC Comics.  Jen love to draw comic book and super her characters and she is very good at it!  If you were an outsider, you would not know she had autism, I would say we are lucky in some ways because of this.  However, having an ‘invisible disability’ does have its own challenges.  I’ll talk about about that in another post, though.  I would say her biggest struggles are social interactions and conversation skills.  This is Jen’s last year in middle school and so far in the eighth grade, she is doing great!  With very few accommodations in her classes, and being in all standard classes, I am vary proud to say Jen has all A’s and B’s in her classes thus far.

Emma, our next eldest daughter, is a very, very, active, funny, cute, inventive, and did I mention active seven year-old little girl.  She loves to play video games (namely in her big sister’s room, of course), is excellent at drawing and coloring, and Emma is extremely creative.  She is in the first grade this year and is in a self-contained classroom specially designed for children on the spectrum, however she is studying what all the other children in the school are studying, and is on pace with all the other kids.  Emma is actually doing very well in math and reading for her age (even for a ‘typical’ child).  Just two years ago, she could barely speak twenty words, and now, she is speaking in almost full sentences.  She’s come quite a long way.  We are very proud of Emma.

Then comes our youngest daughter, Vivian.  Vivian is our five-year-old absolutely beautiful little girl who loves to be held, give and be given hugs and kisses.  She loves stuffed animals, little people, Care Bears, and Minnie Mouse.  Vivian is in Kindergarten this year, and although she had about a year and a half of Pre-K as an ESE student, she is struggling in school.  My little Vivian hasn’t spoken any words in over a year.  We haven’t been able to find an effective and easy way for her to communicate with us as of yet. This has impeded many things.  We have found that Vivian is a very visual learner, and that is how she has learned her ABC’s and her 123’s.

And there’s the youngest of the family, baby Shawn.  Shawn is about to turn one in a few days.  Very hard to believe he’s turning into a toddler, already! Shawn is definitely ALL boy…loves to roll cars and trains around on the floor, is beginning to stack blocks and legos, loves to chase his sisters around, and his favorite pastime is pulling everything off any shelf within reach.  He recently had a visit with the developmental pediatrician and he shows no signs of having autism, sensory issues, communication issues, or social issues.

And there’s that.  Our family of six.  With that, the first blog post if done. Next up, our quest for a communication device for Vivian, and other quests our sweet Little Miss Vivian.

Until next time….

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