I'm A Hot Mess

I wouldn't say that I have let myself go, but I wore make-up for the first time in a month this week and it got me thinking about my appearance and the fact that I've become a hot mess!

I spend 90% of my time dressed in the stereotypical stay at home mom attire, which consists of yoga pants, sports bras, tank tops, hoodies and sneakers.

I have a terrible farmer's tan and the humidity that we have had this summer makes my hair look like a frizzy mop. I have even contemplated **gulp** getting five inches hacked off and working the "mom do", something I said I'd NEVER do!!

I also have several extra pounds from what would have been baby #2 to lose and that never helps. Before I got pregnant, I had lost all of my pregnancy #1 weight and then some and was feeling terrific and working out a lot. The daily walks continued, but there's nothing like an emotional set back to keep you from going to the gym and burning some real calories.

My lack of interest in looking my best has a lot to do with feeling down and therefore only being able to muster the bare minimum when it comes to getting dressed in the morning.

I'm not a slob. I do shower everyday (it may be 8:00 at night before it happens, but it does happen), but I feel unattractive and unmotivated.

I have a closet full of beautiful, functional clothes and love to dress up, but ease and comfort is where it's at these days.

The make-up made me feel better and made me realize that I need to make more of an effort not look like such a train wreck, if for no one else but myself.

The best is yet to be.

This post was written for the word game, Word Up, Yo! hosted by Natalie (Mommy of a Monster), Kristin (Taming Insanity) and Liz (a belle, a bean and a chicago dog).

If you like words too, play along!
This week's word is hot mess.

bidding farewell on day 15

I think today at the John Tracy Clinic was the shortest Friday of all, because it just flew by. It was wise for me not to wear any makeup, because the tears flowed freely. We enjoyed our last circle time with our kids, had a few closing remarks from the wonderful people who organized our adventure, then had a support group meeting with the entire group, where we were given the opportunity to say our closing remarks. We then went to a lovely closing ceremony where we all got certificates and some closing remarks. We picked up our kids, headed to the big tree, and had one last photo taken. Then we said our farewells.

We all expressed open door policies to everyone in the group, so there might be some future reunions in various parts of the world. But if not, we will all stay in touch through facebook or e-mail or some other media. One thing's for sure though, we will never forget the friendships we've forged over the last 3 weeks. Living together in the same apartment building and spending valuable time on the lawn in the evenings brought our lives together for these 3 weeks with one common theme - to help our d/hh kiddos reach their fullest potential, and make sure that we are the most informed part of that equation. We especially cherished those evenings on the lawn when our kids could just be kids without any explanations or funny looks and we could talk about anything we wanted, including hearing loss.

We've said our goodbyes, expressed our immense gratitude and now we are packing and cleaning up while Lucas takes a nap. We are off to a hotel for the weekend, and we fly back on Sunday. It feels strange to leave our home-away-from-home and go to a hotel. We feel happy and empowered to take on the world and spread what we've learned. As the tip of the day said today:

this boy says:

stoyan beach boys 017<<gavin west – month eighteen>>


ready! go!

all of which sound exactly the same.

chocolate chips
in a coffee filter
served on top of luc’s desk.
in that order.

gavin is:
and i love all eighteen months old of him.

Friday's Flippity Flip Offs 5

It's that time of the week again and as always, I am ready to flip stuff off in a BIG way, starting with...

#1 The fasteners on shopping carts and restaurant high chairs that are suppose to securely keep your tot strapped in, but half the time are broken! FLIP OFF!

#2 Junk mail and spam deserve a big HUGE FLIP OFF! How do "they" get my address anyway?! The paper kind is not only annoying, it destroys trees and clogs our landfills and the electronic kind is just plain annoying.

I once spent over an hour calling every single catalog company that you can think of asking to be removed from their mailing list and do you know that only ONE company asked me why. Pottery Barn. God bless 'em. It took two months, but eventually we stopped getting all catalogs... we still get tons of other junk mail that drives me insane.

As far as the e-mail kind, sure, it's easy enough to hit the delete button or take the time to "unsubscribe", but I'd really just rather have an 'In Box' full of mail I actually want to read, rather than a bunch of crap I don't.

#3 People that use 'honey', 'sweetie', 'baby', 'dear' (THE WORST OF THE BUNCH!!) and other terms of endearment WHEN THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW ME! Arrrgggg... so annoying! Please FLIP OFF, love.

#4 Predictive text can FLIP OFF! I realize it is a setting that I can control, but it's so frustrating when your phone turns 'so' into 'do' and 'seacliff' into 'deadlier and won't let me use (type) 'hell'.

Thank you to Gigi of Kludgy Mom for this most refreshing, rejuvenating and really awesome meme.

Happy weekend, everyone!

The best is yet to be.

day 14, our last full day

I can't believe we're here already - the last full day. We've been kind of trying to prepare Lucas for going home, but it's been pretty tough on me. At school today, I saw that they made a poster with a car and an airplane going towards a house, then each of the kids put their picture next to which way they're getting home. Lucas talked about going on a plane when I picked him up, so he at least knows something is up. 

This morning we had a session on phonological speech levels and how to give optimal conditions for carryover of speech skills. We were encouraged to stay positive (not: no, you're saying that wrong, but rather: listen, mine's different) when correcting words. Also a great way to correct words and put them back into the auditory loop is just by repeating them correctly in a meaningful context.

We had our last small group support group meeting. 

We ate lunch for the last time in the sunrise courtyard with our blogging buddies. Then we met with Lucas's SLT to review his testing results and get a copy of a draft report. The report looks amazing, and is very detailed. I can't wait to get the final copy in a few weeks!

This afternoon's session was on supporting siblings & family relationships. Although we don't have a sibling for Lucas (yet), it was interesting to learn about some of the difficulties that typically developing kids have when they are the sibling to a special needs brother or sister. I will keep my notes handy for the future. We also got some suggestions on children's books about kids with CIs and hearing loss.

Our last session (ever... sigh) was on cognition. The classroom teacher who presented it did a really great job of giving concrete examples and showing a video of her class to illustrate her points. She mentioned the scary statistic that if children don't develop a language system (oral or sign) by age 5, they will likely have cognitive impairments. 

We ran some errands after school, and then spend the rest of the evening on the lawn with the families. Everyone stayed out later than usual, soaking in our last evening together. I won't be wearing any makeup tomorrow, because I'm anticipating a lot of tears. 

Hope you're feelin' it on this glorious long weekend. I sure am ♥

an academic day 13

We started our day off with an appointment with audiology. We got some great results last time, and this time, she wanted to test Lucas's left ear with the hearing aid. Much to our surprise (and delight), Lucas got some measurable results while aided. He still doesn't hit the speech banana, which means that he can't hear any speech at all, but he's definitely getting some environmental sounds with it. He's still an excellent candidate for a 2nd cochlear implant, but it's very exciting to us that his hearing aid may be able to help a bit! When we get home, I'm going to make an appointment with our local audiologist to have a new earmold made. He's also been tolerating the aid pretty well. We will continue to encourage him to wear it at home.

We had a very academic schedule today, with four lectures. The first was about social interactions and the child with hearing loss, then phonetic speech level, then advanced auditory skills and then mainstream & inclusion. 

Social interactions and the deaf child was interesting. Many of the social skills that hearing peers develop are not as natural for hearing impaired kiddos. We were given a checklist to reference and use to see how our children are doing socially. At this time, we feel Lucas has some pretty great social skills, but we have some things to work towards as he gets older. 

During the second lecture on phonetic speech level, we learned that speech is an acoustic event, that we speak BECAUSE we hear, and that we speak WHAT we hear. So... it's important that our hearing impaired kiddos are properly amplified and that we acoustically highlight what we want them to hear. Practice sometimes makes permanent! We learned that all speech sounds can be taught and acquired through vocal play, and that we may not ever need to do speech drills with our kids. Lucas's SLT also conducted some speech assessments on Lucas, so we know exactly which sounds he can produce, which ones are still emerging, and which ones he cannot yet make. 

The first afternoon session was on advanced auditory skills. We learned the four parts of auditory training are detection, discrimination, identification and comprehension. We learned 11 principles to auditory training, and were given a checklist of auditory skills to track our child's achievement, that we can continually reference. 

The last lecture was on mainstream and inclusion, which we are very interested in. Although we are not even close to ready to think about Lucas entering Kindergarten, we are able to apply much of what we learned to transitioning him to preschool right now. We also got a helpful list of skills that hearing-impaired students need to succeed in the mainstream, and ways parents can help them. Mainstreaming is what we're working towards for Kindergarten.

After school we met with Ms. B., Lucas's classroom teacher. She is so wonderful, and we enjoy talking with her and hearing little anecdotal stories about Lucas. She really encouraged us to keep doing what we are doing (and more!). She seems very pleased with Lucas's PLOP (see yesterday's post) and feels that he will benefit from a preschool placement this fall. I'm so glad I have one lined up, you have no idea!

Lucas, of course, fell asleep after school today as soon as we got home, because he didn't nap at school. We let him sleep for just a little, then we headed to our favorite playground. We had dinner with some other families and then played on the lawn. Thursday will be our last full day.

I Don't Do Math

I know it embarrasses my husband when I pull out my tip calculator, but I suck at math!

In high school I excelled in English, history, art, music, PE and foreign language classes, but I was terrible at math and science.

In all honesty, if it weren't for the homework and all the extra credit problems and reports I completed, I don't think I would have even earned a diploma. I am not proud of this, I am just stating facts. I am proud to be very right brained.

Sitting in my seventh grade Algebra class, I would get dizzy staring at all the numbers on the chalkboard and when it came to formulas and word problems... forget it!

Tutors didn't help. The summer courses I took didn't help and neither did the knock down drag out fights I would have with my parents. They couldn't understand why I was getting A's and B's in the courses I actually enjoyed and practically failing the ones I didn't. It seemed pretty logical to me, but they were educators and thought my grades should be more "consistent". I consistently argued that I'd never need math in my life.

By the time I got to college, I took the minimum required math courses that I needed in order to graduate and that was that. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't go for a marketing degree because I couldn't handle all the math prerequisites and instead opted for a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis in public relations. I can still put together a marketing budget and successfully stick to it.

I like to think that I have a logical mind that is very black and white because I appreciate that in mathematics, there can only be one solution to a problem. I mean 2 + 2 can't equal 5, right? But numbers have always boggled my mind. I just don't have a head for them and I never have. I know just enough to get by and for everything else, there's a calculator.

I understand the value of math and why it is important to learn basic formulas, fractions and percentages, but I'm already starting to worry about helping Lucas with his math homework. Beyond middle school, we are definitely going to have problems (no pun intended). Thank goodness his dad is a very proud left brainer and will assist in this arena.

Numbers or not, the best is yet to be.

Encontro de Casais

Na Sexta feira dia 23 de Julho, foi realizado pelo departamento de leigos de nossa congregação o 2º Encontro de Casais, com a presença de 10 casais, e como Palestrante tivemos a presença do Pastor Elmer Link.
O momento foi aberto pelo Presidente dos Leigos, Sr. Everaldo Lemke, que chamou a todos bem vindos e agradeceu a presença do Palestrante da noite. O Pr Elmer nos trouxe uma reflxão, baseada no tema da IELB para este ano. "Compartilhando experiencia da vida com Deus" com um enfoque no relacionamento Pais e Filhos.
Apesar do frio intenso todos saimos de lá aquecidos pelo Amor de Deus que nos foi mostrado pelas palavras do Pastor Elmer, e pela comunhão entre os irmãos na fé que tivemos naquela oportunidade.

                                                                                                                                   Pr. Maiquel Hellwig

day 12 and the IEP

I'm a little behind with my posts, but I'm trying hard to catch up. Tuesday was one of my favorite days that we've had so far. Today during morning circle time, Lucas got to be the teacher's helper. I think it's his favorite time. He certainly enjoys the attention. We started the day with support group and a lively discussion about the film that we saw yesterday and the meaning of the word "deaf" to various families.

Then we were off to participate in a school age panel of two successfully mainstreamed boys and JTC grads. This was the highlight of my day. My tears flowed, and I again hung on their every word. What struck me most was the sense of normalcy that these boys have. These early years are so full of wonder, doubt and simply the unknown. The boys were articulate, smart, funny, and oh so normal. Don't take that word the wrong way. I just mean that their hearing loss is just a part of who they are, what they do, what they like. It no longer drives everything they do, like it seems to when they're young. The one boy even said (when introducing himself): "Basically I lead a normal life and I carry my own weight." One interesting tidbit of information I learned was that the one boy shared that he doesn't know how loud he's being when he talks, so sometimes he has a little cue with his mom (that he came up with) to tell him to turn it down a little bit. They talked about their experiences with FM systems - one likes using it, and one doesn't. It was also interesting to hear that when they listen, they have to try to concentrate on one voice so that other sounds don't become too distracting. I thoroughly enjoyed the panel.

We checked in on Lucas before our afternoon sessions started, and but 1 of the six kiddos decided to take a nap for the second day in a row. I hope it's not a foreshadowing of the rest of the week! The topics for the afternoon were US laws and deafness and the IEP, both of particular interest to us as we embark on our first IEP adventure in the next few months. We were given resources and websites to reference and even saw a role play of what not to do. We got to see examples of binders that parents put together about their children for the IEP meeting. My wheels are turning as we speak and I prepare for this next journey. We learned lots of acronyms, my favorite being PLOP, Present Level Of Performance. That is one of the reasons why we're here, to determine his PLOP, so that we can move forward with plans.

We finished the day with a meeting with his SLT. We figured out that Lucas will work better if he's in a room with no distractions and has a snack to munch on. So, this session went much better.

Tonight we decided to head to Santa Monica again. We didn't hit the beach, but walked along the promenade and out to the pier. He enjoyed some of the little rides. We got to watch the sunset too.

an intense day 11

Like the post's title says, today was a pretty intense (but good) day. Lucas barely even blinked when we left, and he's not even attached to his blanket anymore. So EXCITING! The first session today was on behavior management for children with hearing loss, which I listened to very intently. Lucas is at that ripe old age of 2 1/2, where he starts to have his own ideas about the way things should be, so I was looking for some tips. The first tip I gained was prevention, prevention, prevention. If you can prevent the behavior by identifying triggers, adapting the environment, and rewarding good behavior as opposed to always focusing on negative behavior, it can cut down on behavioral issues. The second tip I got was to maintain realistic expectations based on a child's developmental level and needs. Expecting Lucas to sit still for 15 minutes while in circle time is not a realistic expectation, for example. We also learned 8 steps to effectively managing time out, and especially that it should not be seen as punishment per se, but rather as a chance for a child to calm down and self-regulate after performing an unwanted behavior. We made two experience books, one on positive behaviors and one on negative behavior for our children. This session was most beneficial to me!!

After a short break (and a little bit of spying on our kids), we gathered again for a session on expressive language. Since Lucas is doing so well with his expressive language, this lecture was particularly interesting to us. We got lots of ideas about how to encourage further, more sophisticated expansion of expressive language, such as always expanding what you say and adding new phrases, and exposing children to a variety of language environments.

We finished the day watching a documentary called Sound and Fury. We watched it during lunch, and then watched the follow-up to it, which was very helpful. I would go as far as to say that this film is an important part of every family's journey to a cochlear implant. Nate and I saw the film shortly after Lucas was implanted, and there are a few scenes that left a lasting impression. I think it's so important, because it portrays many different perspectives regarding the CI. It portrays deaf parents of deaf children, deaf parents of hearing children, and hearing parents of deaf children. The original film kind of leaves you hanging, but after seeing the follow-up, the story comes full circle. I recommend it if you haven't seen it. Although it is 10 years old, it still provides valuable perspective.

Someone in the group shared a quote today that she read somewhere that had inspired her - "dare to have the conversations with your hearing impaired child that you would have with your hearing child." It was kind of a reminder to continue to dream big.

We spent time with the other families out on the lawn tonight. Our days with them are winding down.

You Know You're A Mom When-sDaze

You Know You're a Mom When...
  • You have snacks in the form of Puffs, yogurt bites, Cheerios and teething biscuits in your car, purse, diaper bag, strollers and for some strange reason bedside table.
  • There's no taking time off for sickness or sadness, motherhood is a full time job (but admittedly, the benefits are pretty great too).
  • You swear you are going to gather up and donate every last little toy in your house if you stub your toe on one of them one. more. time.
  • You know you have lost several socks, bottle caps, toys and burp cloths from the stroller without even realizing it.
  • As much as you love reading to your child, you don't how many more times you can look for Spot, flip through every color of the rainbow or find out how many monkeys end up jumping off the bed.
  • You see parents in a whole new light and have a lot more respect, admiration and love for them...especially your own.
Thank you, Arizona Mama at Our Daze in the Desert for this terrific meme. If you feel like nodding along to lists by other moms just like you, check it out!

The best is yet to be.

Keep Sunday August 8th open!

It's the 6th annual Roundhouse Community picnic in the park!!!
(it's outdoor movie night as well, and the flick begins at dusk)!
This years movie is Back to the Future. For more info on the movie click here

The picnic is from 12-4 rain or shine at David Lam Park on the waterfront!

There will be music, games, face-painting, food, a mothers tent to feed/change babies/cool off in... and all sorts of other fun stuff!

Including free yoga with me again this year!
Yoga for every-b-o-d-y! yeeeeaahhh!

Come and say hi, introduce yourself and most of all..
Have fun! Loads of fun

Walk The Walk

Almost every day, I walk 4-5 miles. Most of the time, weather permitting, it's outside and Lucas is with me, but I have been known to get on the treadmill at 11:00 at night.

My favorite walks are the ones outside. I love our funky neighborhood, being so close to the beach and the fresh air and change of scenery seems to soothe us both.

Here are some random pictures of things in our neighbor that make our walks interesting, fun and worth every step.

The best is yet to be.

Interview with Myself

I recently interviewed myself for the Touchstone Climbing Gym blog that I write. Check it out:

Touchstone Blogger and Bay area rock climber, James Lucas has been climbing for more than a decade. Beginning his climbing career as a self proclaimed "punter", James quickly progressed to a dirtbag rock jock when he moved from New England to Yosemite Valley. He's constantly on the road rock climbing and recently made an ascent of his first big wall free climb- the Westie Face of the Leaning Tower (5.13 A0). Oakland Manager Lyn Verinsky made a poignant observation, stating, "James would have sent his route months earlier if he had taken my advice about apple fritters being the best pre-send food. Instead he had to use hard work and tenacity." He took a moment from his "hard work" shamelessly self promoting and being a rock climbing "Spray lord" to talk to the Touchstone Blog.

What was your recent ascent of the Wesite Face, the free variation to Yosemite Valley's Leaning West Face of the Leaning Tower like?

Well, first of all- I'd like to say that I'm kind of a big deal. If you don't know who I am then you should. I recently wrote one of the Dirtbag Diaries about being Yosemite's Next Top Idol. I'm pretty much the greatest thing to ever happen to climbing. But enough about me let's talk about you. What do you think about me?

Uhh...I think you avoided the question. How did you prepare for the route?

I am not naturally gifted in the least. My tenacity makes up for my lack of talent. I spent a couple months bouldering in Bishop, sport climbed in Sonora, and then tried the route a bunch. When I couldn't send, I took a short break, hung out in Berkeley and tried really really hard to redpoint the green 12c at Ironworks. One of the banes of my existence is my inability to climb well in the gym. I went back to Toulmne Meadows, did some hard sport climbing, then headed to the Leaning Tower. The crux for me was having enough power endurance on the 5.13 pitch. The lead cave at Ironworks really helped. I'm hoping to free El Capitan soon.

How did you get your Valley nicknames?

I have two. The first one, "Peaches" was given to me by my friend Brian "Coiler" Kay. It's after James and the Giant Peach. The second one, "Big Fall James", was due to taking a 100 foot fall in Joshua Tree while free soloing on Intersection Rock. I fall a lot. I prefer "Peaches"- makes for better pies.

Tuna Town whipper from James Lucas on Vimeo.

You spend most of your time traveling and rock climbing. Do you have some sort of dream career along those lines?

Absolutely! I want to be on the cover of Martha Stewart's Home Living. I spend a lot of time baking pies. I just made a cherry pie for the staff over at Ironworks and I'm planning on making a pie for Lyn Verinsky, the manager at Oakland. On rest days, I really really like making pie. Either the Martha Stewart thing or I would be really into winning the lottery. Then I could buy a really nice RV and park it below some rocks for a little bit and move it when I wanted. It'd be way more baller than my station wagon.

Check out more of James' writing, published and unpublished work, on his blog- Life of A Walking Monkey

Cruel Summer

It's summertime? You could have had me fooled. It's already the END of July and I feel like I'm missing it completely.

We haven't been outside nearly as much as I thought we would this season and haven't done any of the other things I had planned in mind.

So far there has only been one
trip to the beach and just a handful of visits to the park. The BBQs have been minimal and trips to the pool have only been for swim lessons. There haven't been any baseball games, sundresses, Popsicles, rides on beach cruisers, strolls on the beach, boat rides, sunburns (which I'm actually grateful for) or lemonade.

The weather had a lot to to with it. It's been unseasonably overcast, rainy and even chilly this summer in San Diego and while I'd rather be cold than hot any day, it's just not summer without the sun...

...or a Dave Matthews Band concert
!! 25 days until we are sitting at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre listening to my favorite band on the planet. I really do hope that it starts feeling like summer for me before August 20. I really need to get my act together or I'm going to regret it!

The best is yet to be.

baby nest

baby three will be here soon.
well… not soon enough in the pregnant count down.
but if i look at the calendar with a get-things-done perspective: 
i’m running out of time.

30 weeks pregnant with lucas jude:   full,  decked out nursery
30 weeks pregnant with gavin west:  clothes washed in dreft, carseat on order

baby three has a small drawer in my dresser filled with a few special treasures.
i’m anxious to make him a little nest.

baby nest

my mom says:  he’s going to be a wanderer -he’ll have an adventurous heart.
and all of the things i’ve found for him so far have this sweet earthy feel to them.
i love him so much already.
baby three is going to have a little spot in our bedroom.
and i’ve been imagining his sweet space.

i’ve got a little list:
1. this print above his bassinet called – the proud one
2. a cozy crocheted snuggle blankie
3.  mr. small - robot pillow
4. i + love + you wooden teether
5. reggae man – bob tee
6. the portland baby booties
7. the argington “bam” bassinet
8. a dachshund
9. a travelling bus suit – to satisfy his wanderlust for a bit

now all this boy needs is a name.

Have you registered for your workshops/classes yet?

The Vancouver Yoga Conference is coming again!


It's from Thursday Sept 30-Sun Oct 3 and it does not disappoint!

It's truly fabulous.

And in my opinion? It's the best thing to happen in Vancouver all year long! (of course I am biased!) And if you are into Pilates there is loads of Pilates stuff too. (did a workshop with Margot McKinnon last year that was incredible and she's there again this year)

$15 buys your 3 day show admission (from Friday-Sunday) and that includes everything that happens on the show floor. That includes 37 floor yoga garden classes and your admission to over 100 exhibits, demonstrations, live entertainment, and the list goes on.

As for me? I am pretty much booked up with workshops the entire time and love every second of it!

You can study or just practice (take classes) with some of the greatest! (I'm talking Seane Corne, Sadie Nardini, Martin Kirk, Maria Garre...and our very own Lou Lynn for kid's yoga)!

I even did workshops with Rodney Yee last year!

Lectures, classes, immersions, literally whatever turns you on yoga-wise. Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned yogi you will love it. Those classes are priced separately and if you register before the 28th are a steal at $19.99 per hr.

To register or see this years line up click here

I love this Conference and wait all year for it. I cancel my classes for the entire 4 days, months in advance (and thats a big deal as I am not one to even sub my classes if I can help it).

I literally camp out the entire 4 days and soak up as much of it as I can.

If you couldn't make it for some reason but were interested in deepening your practice at any other point during the year, luckily we have some wonderful yoga studios throughout town that do a wonderful job in bringing in some master teachers from all over.
Namely Semperviva. Click here

I believe Shiva Rea is coming in December, as well as upcoming workshops with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, MarkWhitwell, Max Strom... just to name just a few.

We sure are lucky living here in Yoga-land!

Maybe I'll see ya at the Conference! They may still be looking for volunteers as well should that be something you'd be interested in.

LA weekend fun

We enjoyed a sunny weekend just hanging around LA! On Saturday we visited the Los Angeles Zoo. The zoo was super hilly and a lot of walking, but we had a great time. Lucas really soaked up a lot of great zoo language. He especially liked the giraffes and primates.

We spent a good 4 hours there, and were planning to see a few other attractions in Griffith Park - Travel Town and the Griffith Observatory, but alas, our little Lucas fell asleep. We kind of knew it would happen, and were glad he did, because he was pretty grumpy by the time we left the zoo. So, instead we drove around the park and looked at these sites from a distance, and then headed to Hollywood. We did a little sightseeing by car while Lucas slept. It was the perfect combination.

We got pretty close to the Hollywood sign. The GPS came in very handy again. I typed in "Hollywood sign" and it took us to this random neighborhood. We kept going and couldn't see the sign any longer. Somehow the GPS knew the exact last spot where you can see the sign before it disappears out of sight because of the mountains. Pretty cool, I thought.

Today we slept in and then went to a picnic hosted by a generous donor of the John Tracy Clinic. There was an In-N-Out burger truck there, with made-to-order burgers. They even made grilled cheeses for people, like me, who don't eat burgers. It was really yummy. There was also an ice cream truck with about 20 different hand-dipped flavors, a clown magician, face painting, games and lots of fun! It was a lovely afternoon spent with all the families and staff at the clinic.

Lucas got his face painted to look like a kitty cat (his choice). He sat so still!

After the picnic, we went with a few other families back to the California Science Center. We think we might still go back another time, because there's even more to see! What a great little gem in JTC's backyard! We had hoped Lucas would fall asleep on our walk there, but instead he fell asleep on our way back, which made bedtime interesting.

But, here I am, and Lucas is asleep. He excitedly asked me if he was going to see his friends tomorrow. I'm just wondering what we're going to do next week when he wants to see them then too. We just won't think about that just yet.

Friday, day 10

Fridays at the John Tracy Clinic always go by so quickly! Since we are done at noon, and the kids neither eat lunch nor nap there, the morning just flies by. After spending the first hour with Lucas in his classroom, where we practiced the tip of the day (sandwiching a word by always beginning and ending with auditory-only input) we attended a session on informal speech acquisition. We discussed such ideas as using vocal play and the learn to listen sounds to encourage language acquisition.

We also got to see a video of Lucas and us working with his speech and language teacher. JTC has done a really great job of using our kids and our sessions with our SLTs to illustrate certain concepts that they are teaching us. They showed an example of an experience book that Ms. M. made for Lucas about locational prepositions, using his favorite stuffed bear, Knut to illustrate various locations. Nate and I were really nervous to see the video, because of how Lucas has been working for M. The presenter showed a segment of the video, where Lucas is completely off task, talking about leaving the room to dump the trash from the trash can into a trash truck (he saw one on the previous day behind his classroom), instead of talking about Knut sitting next to the trash can (as was in the book). Whereas Nate and I were a bit frustrated that Lucas would not stay focused on the book, she gave it a positive spin, showing how much more language the book led Lucas to use. It's always nice to have a different perspective.

We finished our short Friday with support group, where we were given the opportunity to write love letters to our kids. The idea was to write a letter to the older children in the sibling program, and those letters will be read aloud to the siblings next week. If you don't have a child in the sibling program (like us), then we wrote a letter to our children in the program. Nate and I both sealed ours up, and I will tuck them away in Lucas's baby book for a time when he is old enough to read them himself. I will be interested to read it myself again one day too.

After school, we had half a day to explore, but Lucas desperately needed a nap. So, he took a quick nap, then we headed to Exposition Park, which is within walking distant from our apartment, to visit the California Science Center. We were thoroughly impressed by this free museum. There's a rather new exhibit on the world's Ecosystems, and there is so much to do there for little ones like Lucas! One of the areas is a Kelp Forest, with a glass tunnel to walk through hosting kelp, sharks, eels and various fish. It was like a mini aquarium. Lucas thought it was pretty cool too.

We can't wait to go back next week, because we didn't have enough time to see it all. We made a trip to Yogurtland with one of the other families then and called it a night. We're really looking forward to next week, although we're a little sad that our time is winding down. Some topics that we're looking forward to are a school age panel of d/hh kiddos, U.S. laws and deafness, the IEP, and mainstream & inclusion. Stay tuned!!!

Lions And Tigers And Bears

We went to the San Diego Zoo this week with our friends Colleen and Jackson.

Elephant Odyssey is one of the zoo's newest attractions.

Both boys enjoyed getting down and dirty with the goats in the petting zoo.

Jackson really enjoyed watching the monkeys. Unfortunately, Lucas slept through this part of our visit.

Lucas made a hand print animal to document our fun day...

...a giraffe.

By the way, we did see lions and tigers and bears.

The best is yet to be.