Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thank You Google

(Google)
A few nights ago, we were driving home late at night when I had to come from, LETS JUST SAY 60MPH, to a complete stop in the middle of the road to let a group of does cross the road.  The rapid stop (and the few moments of sitting still to make sure no other deer decided to play chicken with my car) alerted Liam that something was wrong, and he started asking those two year old questions--you know the ones like “why” and “where” and “but why!”

Liam: “Why you stop mom?”
Me: “Because there was something in the road Liam.”
Liam: “What is it mommie?”
Me: “It was a bunch of deer Liam.”
Liam with all the excitement he could muster: “WHAT!”
Me: “Deer, Liam.”
Liam: “Why mommie?”
Me: “They just wanted to cross the road.”
Liam: “Huh? What crossed the road mommie.”
 (Insert three more “huh”s here.)
Me: “It was deer Liam, just some deer.”
Then, after a few minutes of racking his little brain, “what is deer mommie?”


It hit me that Liam had never seen a deer and probably would not for a little while since-- let’s face it-- even in Arkansas we don’t take our toddlers hunting. There are also no deer on flashcards (though I don’t know why), no pet deer (at least not in our 15 mile radius), and to this day I have yet to see a stuffed teddy deer at the toy store.
So how to explain what a deer is to Liam.  While at the next stop light, I pulled out my iphone and googled “Deer”, punched “images” and handed Liam my cell phone.
Straight from Google search "deer".

My child went nuts!! The rest of the night he carried around my phone showing daddie and me, “Look it’s a deer! It’s a baby ‘cause it has spots!! Look at that one it has horns mommie, horns!! Ohh that’s a big deer! Look daddie, look at the horns!!!” He kept scrolling through the images of deer and doe and “baby deer” all night long.

All.Night.LONG.

 By the end of the night my phone was dead and Liam was dreaming of deer. He even chose to make reinDEER cookies the next night.
So thank you Google, because without you Liam may still be confused about what a deer is….and I’d still be stuck in the above conversation. J

Now I’m on the hunt for some deer products for Christmas—wish me luck! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sometimes We Forget

I know a lot of people always ask or comment on how living with a visually impaired/blind toddler must have changed our day to day life completely and don’t get me wrong-IT DID/HAS/WILL-but sometimes we still do forget.  I don’t know how or when it started but it did.  I know it’s because we have gotten used to the adjustments—the strips of tape on our steps, the white cane, the sunglasses, the every 3-6 month eye exams, the set-in-stone placement of our furniture, the movie nights with the couch moved up to three feet away from the TV, the vision therapy appointments, the enlarged picture books, the braille blocks and braille books, the giant flashcards and constant need to keep the floor and walkway clutter and toy free, and even the constant bruises and boo-boos from running into corners or walls or off step—but somehow we still manage to forget.

                When I scolded him for what I thought was protest and refusal to pick up his black raisins off the black part of our rug, all the while he was shouting “I can’t!” meaning “I can’t see them”—I’d forgotten.
                When we giggled and then cried when Liam tried to grab the last carrot from his Elmo bowl, but it was really Elmo’s orange nose on the bottom of the bowl—we’d forgotten.
                When we started reading books to him at night, and he had to get within an inch or two of his nose touching the page to see the pictures that were over 3 inches large—we’d forgotten.
                When we started counting blocks and Liam started to skip some of the ones that were too close together—we’d forgotten.
                When Liam told me someone was at our house (in our driveway) and I didn't believe him, though he heard them minutes before I did—I’d forgotten.
                When we were at the church fair and Liam hunkered low to the ground, almost on his belly, and began to sideways crawl to get under a wire fence that was more than 4 feet away, and he kept doing it pausing to see if he had made it under (when he hadn't) because he could not tell how far away the wire was—we all laughed and then sighed because we’d forgotten.


                Yes, some days it is so “normal” to live with Liam’s adjustments that we forget they are there, and we forget there will be more.  BUT this is our normal and normal sometimes makes you forget the hard parts that make life no so normal to the outside eyes. So new moms here don’t worry, sometimes you will forget too.  Some days the differences will stick out at you like a sore thumb, rubbing you raw on the inside, but other days are just plain normal….or whatever your normal turns out to be. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Winners!

Our two winners were Renee and Manda! Thanks to all those who pinned, posted, and shared! Soon we may pair with Blue Lizard to do a mega sunscreen giveaway so if you didn't win don't give up! To the winners please email me your shipping address via the email listed on our contacts tab, and thanks so much for participating! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Giveaway!

I love four day weekends! Labor Day means a lot of our friends, family and our albinism family will be out at the lakes, the parks, and other fun sunny places having some fun in the sun for sure!  So this Labor Day, we decided to do not one but TWO giveaways!

One giveaway is a 5oz bottle of sunscreen, you guessed it, our personal favorite sunscreen—Blue Lizard! 

We are keeping it simple and easy to enter. All you have to do is share about the giveaway on one of your social medias—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, your personal blog, etc.---then leave a comment in the comment section below. 
That’s it! 
So share and comment, then head over to amymeredithatkinson.blogspot.com to check out our second giveaway! Check back with us later this week for the winners!


Happy Labor Day All! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Albinism in the Workplace Series -part 1

I know this is long overdue, but I wanted to make sure we had a good line up for the Albinism in the Workplace Series that was full of several different career paths, and from people of all ages—and let me tell you, I got them. I have to admit though, that I did not expect some of the TRUTH in the submission answers (don’t worry; you will soon see what I mean). So after weeks of collecting more information back from the participants, and then some sick days, some website issues and such, I want to finally introduce our first interviewer!
Erica Evans is a new friend of mine that I recently had the pleasure of meeting at the NOAH Bowl-a-thon in Arkansas.  Since we live in Arkansas, I thought I would start off the series with Erica’s answers as she is the leader of NOAH’s Arkansas Chapter. I gave her a list of questions that I thought I would just list out for everyone to read her answers to. So I guess instead of an interview it’s more of a Q and A. (*Note-On a few I have added my comments that are in italics.) Enjoy!



Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I am a special education teacher at elementary level. *I should add that Erica also speaks on behalf of the visually impaired/blind at several events and conferences around Arkansas quite often, and that is just one of the volunteer things that she does around our community.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job as it pertains to your vision if any? Does your sight make anything more difficult in your line of work?
A: The hardest part of my job is grading papers and having to look over shoulders of students to read their computer screen.

Q: Was there ever a career you wanted to do as a child that you felt you wouldn't be able to do because of your sight?
A: I kind of wanted to be a nurse but my dad said I was too soft hearted to do that job. After that I never really thought about a career until high school and then I wanted to work with persons with disabilities and their families. *I think it’s important to point out that her parents did not discourage her from the nursing career because of her sight but because of other normal concerns that every child faces.

Q: Is there a career you tried but had difficulty with because of your vision?
A: No, I just fell over into the field of teaching after grad school.

Q: Do you consider yourself successful and what is your favorite part of your job?
A: I feel most successful and the most rewarding part is when I see kids make connections with the materials being taught and when I can see a child go from not being able to read to being able to read on a 4th grade reading level.

Q: Was there someone or something that helped motivate/encourage you to pursue your career?
A: I had a Disabled Student Services undergrad school tell me point blank that I worked better with people over computers. I had failed a computer information systems class and was feeling down. My first and only F in college—now that’s motivation!

Q: Do you use any assisted technology / devices in your workplace?
A: I use a hand held magnifier, I use my kindle to enlarge books so I can read them to my class, and I use screen magnification software, called Magic, which reads things out loud.  I also use a document camera to enlarge pages on a smart board in my classroom.

Q: What are your future career goals?
A: I love what I do and when/if I ever reach the point that I no longer love teaching it will be time for me to retire. I have been teaching for 18 years.

Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career like yours with a visual impairment?
A: It can be done. You have to find your way. You have to select books carefully that are large enough to read. Get along with coworkers and find people you can trust to assist you when needed.

Thanks Erica for your willingness to participate and answering all my questions; I am so thankful for teachers like you!


Monday, July 29, 2013

And We're Back!

Please forgive us for this past weeks technical difficulties, but now that we are back up an running here's the next few upcoming posts you can expect.

•Four or more on interviews for the Albinism in the Workplace Series 
•My review and thoughts on the new book-Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan 
•Two new therapy posts
•A list of great movies for the VI 
•Q/A for eye doctor visits as well as our recent update on Liam's eyes 
•Braille books/devices update
And a few random postings from my point of view. Get ready, they are coming! 
Thanks for being patient while the site was down this past week! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Turtle Shape Sorter

I've been organizing all of my interview notes for the series on Albinism in the workplace, but until then here's a new therapy toy to keep you busy.


I found another shape sorter that we just love! It’s called the "My Little Turtle Sorter" and we were blessed with it as a gift at Liam’s 2nd birthday party. The turtle has a bright green shell with bright orange shape pieces, so the contrast makes it much easier for Liam to see and find the correct spots for each piece.  When you open the turtles mouth the pieces can easily be shaken out to begin again. 
It is easier to find in stores than the original house shape sorter I posted about HERE, but both are great for toddlers. Give it a try if your working on learning shapes!