Monday, October 29, 2012

Thrifting Thrifting Thrifting - October 29, 2012

It's been a while since I had a day to run off and spend time with my friend Amy and hit a few thrift stores. Friday I was back in business! Well, er, except that you'll see that I didn't have a fantastic treasure hunt day - it was mostly kids clothes this time, with a few odds and ends thrown in.

I've found enough make-fun-of-bloggers sites to know that if anyone read my blog beyond the...three of you or whatever...I'd be on there instantly for the following really craptastic pictures, but I'm trying to silence that voice in my head and press on. Because...THRIFTED CLOTHES, right? Right?

We went to three stores but I only bought things in two. That's right - I walked out of one store EMPTY HANDED (except that Amy bought a rocking chair that is gorgeous and that kind of counts because I was there, right?). The first store was a brand-spanking-new Goodwill - so new that the bathrooms were not only spotless but fully automated. Stop giggling! This is important! The fitting rooms were also nice - I tried on a few things but nothing clicked for me, and as I've noted before, I'm not as thrilled with the GW prices as I used to be. But I found a bunch of things for the kid. All kid clothes cost around $3 per piece...

Cute cute kitty shirt!

Hanna! Too big for her right now but in perfect condition and adorable, so I'll put it away for next year. (I found another Hanna piece that was faded and worn, so no, I don't buy every single thing just for the label, I promise.)

Cute Old Navy sweater. I rarely find sweaters that aren't felted or pilly or just plain ugly, so I was happy. It's lightweight, but in Georgia that's usually juuuust fine.

Vitamins shirt. I *think* this is a department store brand, but I'm not sure. In any case, I liked the shiny gold and silver accents so I got it for her.

I tried to put this back a few times but it just was too cute, even if it's the wrong season for it

I also bought...stuff.

Perfection. Certificate-size frames for my Reiki certificate and my calligraphy Reiki symbols. These were about $1.70 each and exactly what I needed.

A combination of stuff from the GW and the Humane Society. The Fox Inheritance is a sequel to the Adoration of Jenna Fox - a book I really enjoyed. I plan to read it and give it away - I'm about halfway done. $1.50. Charlotte's Web was a total last minute impulse buy but I just love that movie so much I had to have it. $3-ish. The heart-shaped candy/baking tray was $1.10 as was the set of tiny Noah's Ark cookie cutters (a set I've considered buying at Michaels with a 40% coupon a few times). I may finally make the melted heart-shaped crayons I've had my eye on...
Then the Humane Society where, shockingly, I barely found anything! Oh well, that's how thrifting works, right? I bought the kid some clothes - 50 cents a piece....always makes me swoony...

Gap jeans and Children's Place leggings that are both too big but in such good shape that for 50 cents, I grabbed them.

Pretty purple skort (scooter?) that I hope she'll wear once or twice.

Peace, dude.
And a skirt for me that is ridiculous - short and tiny, but I thought it would be cute over leggings. Also I wanted to get SOMETHING for me and of the giant pile I tried on, only this kind of fit. $2.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Winners of my Purex contest!

The winners of my Purex contest are now displayed on the Rafflecopter widget in the original post - Ashley, Amanda, and Alison (hee), I will be in touch over the weekend so I can get you your prize!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Her Wicked Sense of Humor (and an AAC update) - October 25, 2012

My kid continues to make excellent progress with her AAC device. Nope, we didn't have overnight magic - I have learned not to hope for that anymore. Things take time, patience, energy, and...well...time time time. And time. But. She takes it to school every day and the teachers work with her to help her find words and participate in discussions. Her therapist is carefully leading us through the maze of how to use it, where words are, and how to help her communicate - and she keeps me in check when I want to move things along too quickly. (Plus her therapist is great at slowly unlocking more words/pages each week--she just added a hippotherapy page!)

At home, the kid uses it when she feels like it and doesn't when she doesn't (to mama's dismay - but I am learning to back off) but she does things like ask for milk vs. juice spontaneously, and she also has been sharing her excitement about an upcoming field trip. Overall, I am just thrilled with how everything is going. I'm so glad we went in this direction with this particular device! But...I want to fast-forward to mastery, as I always do, and I want to jump into sequencing, and...yeah. But when I step back and see how far we've come, I'm bouncing off the walls again.

Meanwhile, she is absolutely obsessed with me taking videos of her dancing. She will take her iPad and put on the song "The Sid Shuffle" from Ice Age 4 (they danced to it at school), carefully prop it up on the couch, step off the couch, and then whine and point until I get my phone out and film her. If I fake it, she knows. So I have lots of short videos of her dancing, falling, wiggling, whining, and more. Yesterday I caught what is probably my favorite, so I decided to share it here.

In brief, she notices her SMOs (ankle braces) on the floor, picks one up, dances with it while standing completely unassisted, and then tosses it aside. That little smirk on her face at the end kills me as my giggles probably reveal. I imagine her thinking, "Pssh. I don't need those, I stand and dance just fine!"

I will leave you with some referral links, if you have any interest in buying or clicking or whatever to help me out a bit...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Contest: Win a bottle of Purex - and maybe win $1,000!

As a Purex Insider, I get to try a lot of fun things (and host contests!). Right now I'm trying out the new Purex plus Oxi, which the company claims is "the most powerful Purex detergent available." I'll share my review of it soon. Meanwhile, you can win one of three coupons for a free bottle of Purex plus Oxi laundry detergent so you can try it yourself!

To win one of the three coupons, use this handy dandy Rafflecopter thing!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest open to U.S. residents only. Contest ends October 26, 2012. Purex provided me with a sample of Purex plus Oxi so I could review it, but all opinions expressed on my blog are my own - obviously.

But wait, there's more! Purex is hosting a contest where the first prize is $1,000! ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS! Pretty sweet, huh? For that contest, you can enter right here or enter through the Rafflecopter widget! (Second prize is $25, which isn't $1,000, but it's not bad either, right?) You'd be doing me a huge favor if you'd click that link, whether you'd like to enter or not, as Purex is rewarding the Insider who drives the most traffic to the contest page with an extra prize. (Hooray, transparency!)

Good luck!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Our AAC Journey - It's here! - October 11, 2012

Let me assure you, although I'm sure you already know, that when you are the parent of a special needs child you NEED to be a squeaky wheel. Squeak squeak squeak! Several times now, we've been on a waiting list of some sort and I've called to follow up and because of simply calling, I've moved us up and/or just gotten us into whatever it was we were waiting on. I hate "bugging people" but I'm always polite and friendly and I just stay on top of it. I have to, even when I don't want to, even when the phone grows teeth and wants to bite me, even when my anxiety swirls. I give myself a bit of love and Reiki, I pick up the phone, I swallow the nausea, and I call and I call and I call.

The talker is just part of that long line of squeaky wheels. Because I was copied on a letter, I was able to make PDFs of that letter and forward them to the proper channels rather than waiting on said channels to receive their own copy of said letter, find it on a pile on someone's desk somewhere, open it, sort it, file it, think about it, and make a final decision. I really believe I shaved weeks off of our waiting period. And now here it is! She has it at school today for the first time ever!

Reality is sinking in now though. This is going to be a long, complicated road to learning how to use the AAC device daily, fully, completely. Despite the fact that my daughter has been using this device for a few months now, she's been using it once a week (and sometimes less, depending on our schedule) and in a very limited context. Now we own this and it's going to be with her all the time. It's not always the easiest system to use, even for me. But we will take it one day at a time, one word at a time, and I believe that soon - soon! - she'll be able to tell us so many things. And I can't wait to hear them! And having this device in our hands makes me so glad we went in this direction, made this choice. Plus, we have already noticed that over the past month or so, she's been saying more words in a clearer way than she was before - a credit both to her amazing speech therapists and to the device. I believe someday she won't need it at all. But someday is someday and now is now - and this is so good for us right now.

(For whatever it's worth, I've seen mockups of the next generation of these devices and not only would we have had to wait weeks or months to place our order but one of the new ones seems too small for my daughter's hands while the other seems too large. We would've made it work, but the one we have right now is baby bear's juuuuust right for now. We'll see what she needs when she's older.)

(Oh. And I am THRILLED that the SFY app lawsuit seems to have been resolved - that app may become a valuable tool for us either when my kid is older or if - heaven forbid! - her device breaks and we have a time period before we get a loaner/get her device fixed. I've been quietly but intently following that closely and I cheered aloud when I saw the post yesterday!)

So for now we're just playing around. I took my first crack at programming last night to update her school's name (her therapist didn't know it) and to add "Good Morning" to a topline level. Later on I'll start digging deeper into the programming - I have a list of things that need to be added either by me or her therapist. But I've found this part of the process, so far, pretty intuitive. I just have a lot to do since she's not yet at the stage where she could do it herself or just type things. (Teacher names! Therapist names! Friend names! Target! Raging Burrito! Signing Time!) (Favorite thing I stumbled on? The device has knock knock jokes and riddles built in. I have to teach her how to access those...)

ETA/Update: Yeah, her therapist just wrote me after I sent her a bunch of programming questions asking me very gently and nicely to please hold off on doing anything else and to let her handle it at first. I actually greatly appreciated that - while I kind of now get *how* to add things via the machine itself or the software, she knows what she's doing as to when to add what, where, how, and when! She's amazing and we are so lucky to have her on our team. So for now...I'm being as hands off as I can stand with this machine. Hard for me as I want to do everything Right Now By Myself but I trust the process and the experts too!

Here's a video of her telling us her name. For the record, she has been able to say her name for a while - but I suspect nobody but me would really understand what she was saying (Ryaoooo! Baaaah!) and now when we're at the grocery store or the park and someone looks at the sweet little girl and asks her name, she'll be able to reach over and answer loud and proud. This morning she also told me her favorite color is purple - while I didn't know this for sure, I had my suspicions, and as you'll see, we chose a purple edging for her device for that very reason. (It's so cool, you can snap various colors in and out, so if she's having a green day, we'll change that up!) Note: We were accidentally sent the wrong keyguard (45 not 60, I believe), so right now we're managing without it but hopefully we'll have the right one soon. She's doing pretty good without it though!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Our AAC Journey - Moving Right Along - October 2, 2012

First, my kid rocks at using a talker when she's at the therapist's office.

Sorry the video is a wonky size - I'll try to fix that sometime in the future.

Her therapist brought her out to us and had her ask for juice with her talker (well, the therapist's talker - I think that's a VL1 and my kid will have a VL2). If you can't hear it, it says "Drink" and then "Juice." Notice that while she needs a tiny bit of wrist support, she needs no guidance to find those buttons. Every time I watch this, I get chills - and further excited about how much more she'll be able to tell us soon. And then we had to model for her by answering using the talker and as you can hear, I didn't know what I was doing at all - so mama has to learn too. And I CANNOT WAIT. (Also, when she gets her very own talker, it will sound more like a little girl's voice, haha.)

Second, at school, she's using a very very very simple AAC device and is putting together two and three-word sentences consistently. Because she's a genius, obviously.

Third, this week after a few follow-up phone calls (I was procrastinating making one more and figured I'd do it tomorrow), I received in the mail the notification from Funding Source #1 that yes, they will in fact cover her talker! (Of course there's the whole "after deductibles and co-pays and whatever else we feel like saying you have to do" part of that letter, and they denied coverage on the carrying case, but I was expecting a full-on denial from FS#1 for various reasons, some obvious and some not so much, so even THIS was exciting!). Meanwhile, I was told by PRC last week that Funding Source #2 had already given its pre-approval. So it's covered - the funding step is OVER.

And that means HER DEVICE WILL HOPEFULLY SHIP SOON! (Next phone call today should shed some light on that bit.)

ETA: And indeed I have the confirmation emails now and it should ship by the END OF THIS WEEK!!!!


Everything is about to change for my daughter. And for the rest of us too.

Stay tuned!