Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thrifting Trip With Jen

Jen and I decided on an earlyish morning trip to the antique market!
What fun!

LOVE Jen's new glasses!

We found this amazing scarf that has different emotions in each corner - Jen decided that if
the top left corner is left in the prime viewing position during draping, it means the wearer is feeling temperamental, jealous, and superficial.  Whereas, if the lower right corner is displayed, the wearer feels generous, extravagant, emotional, and humble.  Clever!

My favorite discovery was this adorable little desk.
I didn't buy it, but I admired it!

$100 - not bad!

They had a special section for "mantiques"

Where you could get "hammered"!

There was a pedal organ for sale.

And an *interesting* salt and pepper shaker set . . . 

I also liked this wardrobe - but it was HUGE!
my blouse: GAP
my skirt: Target
my shoes: Target

I've been trying to eat more PROTEIN because I have been feeling hungry a lot.
Mmmm!  Cottage cheese!

Anyone have any other good non-meat ideas for protein?

I say "non-meat" even though I eat meat sometimes because meat doesn't usually sit as well with me as do other forms of protein like eggs and plant-sources.

Allistiar has been silly lately (that's nothing new!)

Nice belly!!!

He LOVES yoga time!

I have to give up the end of my mat to him.

You can see how ratty the mat is and why it's on my Target list . . . 
the kittens decided that they needed to use it as a scratching pad
Perhaps I'll give them this one when I get a new one!

Look at Juvy's cute little fangs!  She makes my heart melt!

And so does Stephen, when he oozes over the edge of things!
They're just silly-willies.

And the "kittens" are looooong - Allistair takes up half the couch!

Greg's Mom stayed with us on Sunday night, and it had been a while (um, years!) since I felt well enough to really tidy up my office/guest room and recreate a system for keeping paperwork organized.

It's difficult for me to organize paperwork because, like many people, I have many different responsibilities: work (Chirp), church (1:1 Team), home, research, etc.
Jen said she'd read that having a file for each subject is a good idea (which I have done in the past), and then having an "active" file with the most important things in there that gets dealt with every day.  When the active file gets empty, the next things are put into it from the files from each subject.
I think that sounds brilliant!  And easy.

So I put my main files (that used to be in piles all over my desk) into this standing file:

My desk hasn't been so clean for a loooong time!

And this is my "active" file - 
I called it "stuff to do".

I also organized some toiletries, just in case.  And some water and some candy!

 On Monday, we had a slow morning. 

Then we took Greg's Mom to In-N-Out for the first time!
Greg behind an Ocotillo

Eating at In-N-Out, shopping at Target, & visiting Sprout's with Greg's Mom on Monday, I wore this:
blouse: Target
Skirt: Target
shoes - God-given!

 It's not always dry here in the desert!
On Saturday, it was 74 degress with 78% humidity - kinda sticky! 

And Sunday we got a little sprinkle of rain!

*** Chirp's NEW YouTube Channel! ***

I'm thrilled to finally announce the super-secret project I've been working so hard on -

If you don't know what a YouTube channel is, think of a specialized TV channel where all the programming is by the same person or same team of people.

The Chirp channel's target audiences are 

1.  families of children with developmental or acquired disabilities (including ADHD, sensory integration difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome, behavior challenges, communication delays, cognitive delays, and much more!)  


2.  church leaders who want to make their churches more welcoming for people with special needs.

Here's the back-story . . .

For the last three years (!), I've been working on writing a curriculum that teaches the main tenets of Biblical Christianity at a level appropriate for very young children and people with cognitive and communication disorders (such as Down Syndrome, Autism, etc.)  This curriculum is now complete (hurrah!), but my job of supporting families of children with special needs AND equipping churches that wish to welcome people with special needs is just getting started!  

The first issue I see is that many families have questions about their children's development or behavior and don't know who to ask or where to look for answers.  Most families want to educate themselves on how to support their children's emerging communication skills, how to help their children develop good social skills, how to manage their children's challenging behavior, and how they might better meet their children's sensory needs . . . but where would a family find this information unless they had the time and money to meet with Behavior Specialists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Psychologists, and Occupational Therapists?  Most families do this only when their situation becomes desperate.  Books are available, but do busy families have the time to read those heavy books filled with professional jargon?  How do they know which books or theories will work for their families without professional guidance?  How can they find practical ideas they can immediately put into practice?

A second problem is that most churches WANT to provide support for people with special needs and their families, but they don't know HOW.  It's challenging to train volunteers appropriately, manage students' behaviors, teach in a way that students can access, provide a classroom environment that's welcoming, understand students' communication and sensory needs, and help students assimilate new information.  Churches know that Jesus loves these precious people, but most of us aren't equipped to provide a welcoming, safe, and educational environment for people with special needs.  Sadly, most churches feel as if it's too risky and we'd be better off not trying.  

My prayer is that the Chirp YouTube Channel would be an answer to these challenges!  

Families need creative and loving ways to help their children develop to their full potential, and I want to offer support, education, and encouragement in a free online format.  I have many years of experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist specializing in communication, behavior, and sensory disorders.  I have worked primarily with families in their homes to address the dynamics that make these diagnoses so difficult for the entire family unit.  I will share valuable strategies that can help children learn to better regulate themselves, communicate their needs and desires, and manage their behaviors more successfully.

Churches need that sort of support, too!  Most don't have the budget to hire a special education consultant, so I want to offer video similar training in a way everyone can afford - YouTube!  I have personally founded and developed two successful, thriving special needs teams at two different churches in Arizona (and have supported many other churches as they have done the same), so I know the challenges churches face as they strive to meet the needs of their volunteers, students, and families.  I will share tips on how to structure your classroom, tools you definitely need, how to support minimally verbal students, how to incorporate sensory supports into your routines, and much more.

At this time, all of the training and resources available on the Chirp YouTube Channel are completely free.  At some point in the future, there may be paid subscriptions available, which would allow me to provide extended training in certain high-demand areas (I'm planning a seminar for new parents on early childhood development and how to support emerging skills - you'll want to be around for that, for sure!)  God-willing, I plan to post a new video weekly.  I recommend subscribing to my channel to make sure you're up to date on the latest videos.  

If you are a parent of a young child who frequently has tantrums (meltdowns), you might want to start with this video (it's a long one, but a good one - it's one of my favorite topics!):

If you want to find out more about the Chirp Curriculum, check out this video
it's an introduction for churches that have recently purchased their first binder):

(Don't worry if you're not into Jesus; there isn't much theology or God-stuff in these videos.  The videos are meant as tips and resources recommended by a professional in the field of special education, communication, and early childhood development, not as proselytizing!)

Please pass these links (or this blog post) along to anyone you know who might benefit from the information (e.g. parents of children with behavior challenges or communication delays OR church leaders you know!).
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Forty-Seven Cents

First the BEAUTY:

photos from a recent sunset

and now the BEAST!

Yep, 114 degrees Fahrenheit today!  It is really and truly HOT.
This is why the Phoenix metro is only the fifth most populous metropolitan area in in the country instead of the second (after New York City) - summers are pretty rough.

Not to complain, of course, we have it eay!  I keep thinking of the men (women lived up in the mountains for the most part until a/c was invented) who founded this area (ranchers and miners) and the indigenous peoples who lived here.  I feel sorry for them!  I am THANKFUL for our new and powerful air conditioner.
I am also VERY thankful for my Cube's amazing air conditioner.  It's fast and COLD, and I don't sweat buckets just driving around town as I did before we got the Cube.

On to CATS!

As I was making the bed with fresh sheets, Stephen decided to get in between the blankets.

And then he slowly trickled out, one let at a time.

He is a silly, wonderful boy!

Allistiar has been missing all the snuggles he got when I was sick - I don't sit on the couch all that much in the daytime anymore.  Sometimes he'll just meow and meow in a sad way so I have to sit down on the couch and snuggle him.  I don't mind!

Sometimes he doesn't need the snuggles - sometimes he just needs a nap!

Juvy likes to wedge herself into a corner of the couch

or stretch out with her little feet on the arm!

Well, you had the weather update and the cats update, so here are some finds and outfits!

Outfit from earlier this week.
Shirt: Target
Skirt: Max Studio
Purse: LPS Designs

I found this bag in a little shop in Sauk Centre, Minnesota near my parents' lake cabin.
It's made of beautiful heathered red felt with lovely black and olive poppies on it.

I couldn't find out anything about the designer online - I assumed it was a local person, but I can't be sure.

And now some treasures . . . 

Look at how cute this sweater and pants are!

Usually I buy sweaters on the baggy side, but I took a risk on buying my actual size with 
this one and I really like how it fits.

The pants are actually navy-on-navy brocade!
pants: Old Navy

And the sweater has little rope and knots on it!!!
sweater: Old Navy

I also found this cute polka-dot t-shirt
t-shirt: Old Navy
I like the scoop neck and nice looong sleeves (I love sleeves reaching half-way down my hands!)

I paired the t-shirt with a teal knit pencil skirt as an outfit on Wednesday.
The sleeves were pushed up most of the day, but it's convenient to have sleeves in case of air conditioning overuse in restaurants or similar.

Look!  The pants were $.47 (yes, that's right; forty-seven cents!)

And look!  The t-shirt was $.47 (yes, that's right; forty-seven cents!)

 The sweater was on the expensive side . . . $3.97.
But I love it.

I have been working hard to get a bunch of binders for the first module of lessons complete and stocked before I send out letters and e-mails to raise awareness.  Look how wonderful they look, all lined up and professional-looking!

Oh!  And I found a soda replacement you may be interest in if you're trying to limit GMOs (genetically modified organisms): Veri.  There are a few different flavors (orange, lemon-lime, cola, and ginger ale).

Only 60 calories.

Good stuff in there.

I even like the packaging and graphics. 

It definitely tastes less sweet and less bubbly than traditional soda, but I only drink one when I'm about to break down and purchase a diet Dr. Pepper (my drug of choice in addition to french fries, tater tots, and M&Ms).  My goal is to only have traditional soda when I'm out to lunch with a friend (which happens about once per week).  I told myself I'm not going to keep it in my house anymore.

We are in the midst of a big dust storm RIGHT THIS MINUTE!
Greg isn't home yet and visibility's getting poor - I hope he makes it!

BONUS:  PLEASE don't stack up your truck like this!  
(this one is LESS piled up than most of them are!)
I never saw things like this in Minnesota!
Why do I find it so annoying?

Only in Arizona . . . 
Or Mexico.