Friday, September 25, 2015

Painting with a Light Box

Doesn't this look fun? This fun idea is shared thanks to our Parent Infant Program at USDB. This painting fun activity uses a simple light box, yellow duct tape, plastic bags and paint. 

This easy peasy activity is so attractive for our little ones and our kiddos with multiple impairments. The yellow tape has a double duty mission responsibilities. First, it holds the plastic bags in place. Second, it has a nice highlight that attracts our kids' attention. You could also use floor tape because it is easier to remove than duct tape. 

The color choices of the dark blue and orange work well because of the way the light  illuminates them. You could also try purple or red and maybe even add some glitter (or something that shines) and see what that does. 

Here is my baby Abigail painting with my older daughter Morgan. Think of all the other ways you can play with this!? 

I met the X Ambassadors!

I had the best experience yesterday because I met the band X Ambassadors! In case you are not up on reading my blog, meeting the X Ambassadors was AWESOME because they are the band that sings "Renegade". The video "Renegade" features some pretty awesome people with vision impairments (see the video at the bottom of the post). 

They were doing a show here in SLC and had a meet and greet opportunity. I immediately thought about how cool it would be to meet Casey Harris from the band (he's the cool blind guy). It was would be fun to bring him a fan letter in Braille. I'm not exactly hip on my knowledge of UEB these days (but isn't that why Duxbury was invented? ha ha). I wrote him my letter and it transcribed and embossed. 

I was the enthusiastic fan that was shrieking with excitement when they entered. I was SO excited when they came in! It was kind of funny because here was the whole band and I basically beelined for Casey. I had to excuse myself to tell the other guys that I was really just there to meet "the cool blind guy". 

The bandmates were great! They were all wonderful to meet. They signed a poster that I can hang in my school. They thought my shirt was cool and we all read it to Casey. My shirt was from White Cane Day 2013 ("I Heart White Canes). 

It was such a rad experience. I invited him (and the band) to my school anytime they had time to make it. I wanted to share the video again. Check it out below!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Keepinig Up With Jimmy...As He Goes Back to School

 My note: I am in complete denial here. Complete. Denial. There is no way Jimmy can be entering 6th grade. It seems like just yesterday I met Jimmy and Kristi for the first time at a library for an activity day for our preschool division. Yes, preschool. Then I would invite them to our holiday skills day and we would make cookies together. I would have to get a chair for Jimmy to stand on so he could reach the counter. Then we started summer camps a couple years later for our kids (in Connecticut). Jimmy was never old enough but I knew that if he came, he would thrive at them. I decided to create a special "junior" camp as a day camp option for our younger students. It was all because of Jimmy. I knew that there was this awesome kid just waiting to be old enough to come to our residential programs. And now, he is in SIXTH GRADE! Kristi hasn't been the only one keeping up with Jimmy. He's had some amazing TVIs that have had the awesome adventure of working with him. I am lucky to count myself as one of those to keep up with Jimmy. Pretty soon he will be working at one of my programs as an intern. Exciting, but scary and crazy that so much time can go by and truly feel like it was "just yesterday...". 
Jimmy on the first day of school
Well Hello there again!!! I cannot believe the smmer is OVER!!! Just to let everyone know Jimmy did NOT have a slow summer, he busted through it like only Jimmy knows how. The short list would include: swimming, waterskiing, a trip to Maryland, going to sleep-away camp in New Hampshire, spending 2 weeks in Wisconsin with family (which also included: tubing, water skiing, jet skiing, shooting guns, driving tractors, 4-wheeling, and one of the best weddings we have attended), and next weekend (Sept 5th) I will be taking Jimmy to his first concert and then we are to get up the next morning and go visit my best friend in Maryland. 

With summer being over it only means one thing our kids are getting ready to go back to school, that is if they haven’t already begun. Where Jimmy and I live they don’t start until Sept 3rd so we have a little less than a week before that dreaded day. Are your kids returning to the same school or are they transitioning to a new school? Jimmy is in his last year in the elementary school (Middle School next year, please say this isn’t true) which helps keep MY anxiety down. But at the beginning of every year there is some anxiety for our kids of who is in my class, am I going to like my teacher, what changes have they made this year and am I going to have the same TVI as last year? For the last question the answer is some years yes and some years no. For us this year the answer is no, and this is ok. I think that Jimmy has to completely learn to deal with change and that it is an inevitable part of life. For our kids it seems like it is a little harder to deal with these changes as they can’t physically see the changes, they have to have complete faith in those around them to help them through it. 
Jimmy had his own requests for hair--punk rocker, bluish/green hair-spiked, nothing but band t-shirts.
Preparing for school each year is easier for me than most parents. They all receive their back to school list and for me there is no list, not gonna lie I LOVE this part of back to school. All we ever really have to get are new backpacks/lunch packs. And maybe a pencil and pen for those once in a while circle questions…you know what I am talking about! All my parent friends are jealous of me for this one aspect, and I will take it. And to modify this for Jimmy we go to a store and he will feel the backpacks and the one that he likes I will describe it to him and then he decides if he wants it or not. Same goes for lunch packs. This year as I said we are lucky because Jimmy is in the same school he has been in for the last 6 years (our elementary school goes K-6) so there is no anxiety for him in that aspect but I can only imagine if your child is starting a “new” school. I honestly don’t even want to think about it until next year because I think I will have more anxiety than Jimmy and worried that the “new” kids entering his school are going to be awful. But that is not this year and we can talk about mommy angst this time next year. For now I am going to just say Yay to kids going back to school (boo cold weather on the way) and I hope everyone’s children have a wonderful School year and kick butt in all their areas of study. Until next time…laters!!!!!!