At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hi Isaac,....

Sunday Isaac wore this blue polo shirt to church.

We are still new to our new church, but at the door the greeter said, "Hi Isaac! Glad to see you!"

At the children's check in desk the two women working the computer scanners both exclaimed, "Hi Isaac! We're so glad you're with us today!

On the way to Isaac's class, the security guard at the children's department said, "Hi Isaac, how are you doing buddy?"

The teen helpers at the preschool class were both at the door and they both said, "Hi Isaac!"

The teacher in the preschool class said, "Hi Isaac, I am glad you're here for class today."

Now,...I am sure all these kind individuals would have spoken to Isaac - regardless of him having his name on his shirt,....BUT having them address Isaac by name - has to be reinforcing to his identity and THAT has to be a good thing.

Note:  with apraxia,...Isaac is considered nonverbal, his spoken vocabulary is very limited: i.e. he cannot say his name,...thus the importance.

The little blue polo with the embroidered monogram is pricy - about $10.00 per monogram, plus the cost of the shirt. Thank you for Auntie and Granny for gifting these Sunday shirts to Isaac,...he has three: white, yellow and blue. 

However for everyday I've been experimenting with various techniques: 
1: Iron on monograms - were cute, but the colors would bleed and they un-stuck too easily after several washings. 
2: Sharpie fabric pens, I made one shirt for Isaac, looked cute, and was soooo easy but the colors faded badly in the wash. 
3: Silk Screen printing with screens made with Modge Podge - disaster,...the ink and paints bled, was frankly a mess and waste of time because it was tedious to make the screens. 

Freezer Paper to the rescue or it is also referred to as Butcher Paper, I purchased: Reynolds brand.

The idea is to cut out stencils from the freezer paper.
Iron on the stencils to the shirt
Paint in the stencils
Peel off the stencil and wear.

At first, I used my computer to print Isaac's name in various fonts the size I wanted. I taped these over the freezer paper and would use an exact-o knife to cut out the stencil,...and EXACTING and tedious process, ISAAC would take twenty minutes,...and be adequate but not completely a clean cut.

Embroidery machines are expensive and I knew better to broach the subject with my husband,..especially when we have so much therapy to pay for out of pocket,...but I did research die cutting machines,...and while they are not cheap,...they are cheaper than the cheapest embroider machine and very versatile. Mother's Day gifted such a machine to my arsenal. Mine is a Silhouette Cameo and it needs no die-cut cartilages. As I have design skills, I am only limited by my imagination and what computer time I can find to make designs for Isaac. For those not versed in design - Silhouette does have tons of die cuts that are only .99 cents each,..also you can use fonts from your own computer.  

Here are fonts that I picked out ISAAC and had the die cut machine cut out, took like 30 seconds!

I can use both positive and negative space,...but for this project I used the stencil.

Carefully peeled off the sticky mat,...I ironed on the stencil to the shirts,....note: I am careful to keep the tiny circles for the letter A,...these are also ironed on. 

I used fabric paint and to get the tones and values I want, I mix the colors like adding a little green or gray to make the blues the exact tones I wanted for each shirt. It takes about three layers of paint,...letting the paint dry between each layer to build up the color enough to pop. Then I carefully peel the stencil from the shirt. 

On vacation with a little time on our hands,...I've been on Pinterest hunting for ideas and I saw some really interesting galaxy shirts and had to give it a try. Here are the results. The ISAAC in the rocket ship glows in the dark,...sooo cool. 

I posted a DIY tutorial for these galaxy shirts on one of my another blogs: Functional Fashion,...oh yes, I have more than one,...but doesn't most bloggers?

In retrospect making these shirts, blogging has been therapeutic for me,...I am doing something creative and productive that I know will help my little guy. 

Making these shirts has been a nice break,...and when working on these projects, I sneaked in some  therapy too because Isaac helped me peel away the stencils and it was fun to talk about what we were doing as we worked on a project together. 

Besides, yesterday with all the "Hi Isaac's" - I feel like I am on the right track. It was such a positive experience for Isaac and me.

Note: While researching monograming a child's clothing - I did come across many post that caution against the practice and I completely respect and understand those parents concerns,...however for us with a nonverbal child,...the security risk is greater without Isaac being identified. There are also temporary tattoos for contact information,...which we will most certainly use in the future when we are at large events,...such as a race or an amusement park where there is a theoretical chance of us being separated. 

For the future,...I've lots of planning to do,...lots of telephone calls and emails to make as we incorporate Isaac's autistic diagnosis into our therapy plans,...and lots more shirts to design for my little guy,...and big guys too,...they want a galaxy shirt as well,...just not with a glow in the dark rocket. 

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Now We Know,....

Wednesday was Isaac's last day of Early Intervention.

Yesterday - Thursday - my husband and I went to the Children's Hospital to find out the results of the extensive testing Isaac had two months earlier. 

Apraxia,...yes,...severe Apraxia,...oh yes, surprise.
Autism,,...oh yes,...not exactly a surprise,...we were expecting this outcome,...we just didn't know what degree of Autism,...because Isaac's symptoms are not classical,...he's atypical,...and with the new guidelines just coming out we have to wait to find out exactly what level his diagnose falls upon,...but he is on the spectrum.

So there we are,...our little guy with the double A's in his name has a double A - diagnose.

Stepping into the doctor's office, I was fully prepared to cry, fact I was clutching a wad of tissues, but when the diagnoses was pronounced, I went into full Mommy-Mode and was rattling off questions as fast as I could,...there is a lot to learn here. 

I never thought of crying and I haven't cried yet. 

Autism doesn't change how we feel about Isaac - he's marvelous!

Does he have challenges? Yes, but now we know how to focus our energy for his future, and we are so grateful that the degree of Isaac's autism is not severe. 

Obviously no parent wants to learn their child has - special needs - special challenges. But Isaac is fearfully and wonderfully made and as people of faith we praise the Lord in everything - even this.

Isaac experiences the world in a unique way and he makes sure you do too! That unique perspective is a gift and a strength. When all is said and done, Isaac is a happy little guy. Everyone should be as content with who they are and their abilities as he is.

For us we are on uncharted ground with a dizzyingly array of therapies strategies ahead of us,...and funding. But walking in faith is not about seeing the obvious outcome.

We have so much to be grateful for even double A's pale in comparison. It's not the end of the world it is just the beginning because we know the Lord has a plan and purpose for this little guy. 

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Early Intervention Graduation 2013

Here is our graduate student dressed in his ceremonial white gown,...

So precious to see the students being celebrated for their achievements,...watching these children triumph over their challenges puts a new perspective upon life's difficulties.

However the entire event was slightly sensory overload for most of the children. It was a hot and humid afternoon, the church was very loud and very crowded. Isaac was not the only child WIRED!!!

Notice the antiqued pictures? They are tinkered with because each is slightly out of focus and the iPhoto filters help mask the imperfections. Needless to say Isaac wasn't interested in having his picture taken for prosperity.

Before the ceremony I let Isaac run of some steam, he's fast and I stayed in full chase trying to steer him away from the heaviest crowds. The Methodist church we were in was enormous. Isaac and I took a few turns and ended up in the older part of the building. We heard music and discovered a beautiful chapel with amazing acoustics where a choral group was practicing.

The affect of the music on Isaac was astonishing - he stopped in his tracks and listened transfixed to the classical sounds soaring to the ceilings - just glorious sounds!!!! We listened for quite awhile and I actually got a few seconds of video showing Isaac's fascination. My most precious memory of the entire day!

The ceremony was overwhelming for most of the little ones, Isaac included, a sucker - bribe, and a muted movie on my iPhone - ensured his tolerance. Most of the other mother's were looking enviously at us and I didn't blame them - three year olds are strong and when in full wiggle mode can be a handful. That's were my 21 years of experience pays off, know your venue, know your child and be prepared.

Graduation was Sunday afternoon, is Thursday and this morning is D-day,...Diagnoses Day, my husband and I have an appointment this morning at the Children's Hospital to discuss with the doctor, Isaac's developmental delays.

Already I know I am going to cry - no matter what the doctor says - I will never pretend not to be overwhelmed or devastated by this experience. No parent wants their child to have challenges. 

However in the end, Isaac is Isaac, we love him - as is. We just want to know how to best help him for his future - he has preschool, school, middle school, high school, college, a career and a life ahead of him. 

Even with his challenges - Isaac can achieve whatever he wants to achieve. 

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

End Of An Era,....

A year and half ago,...Isaac had his two year check-up,...and we were instantly dropped into the Alice In Wonderland,...Rabbit Hole,...of Apraxia,...


Lots of Googling,...lots of tears, mine, and lots of prayers, my husband and I, our sons, and family and friends,...and lots of telephone calls,...which were miraculous,...because I picked up the telephone and instantly got an appointment with THE best speech pathologist in our area.

Next I picked up the telephone and instantly got an evaluation for Isaac in an Early Intervention program,...just a few weeks later he was in class,...

Another telephone call yielded Early Intervention help from our state program,...that was a very intimidating call,...I was soooo scared to dial that number, but the lady on the other end was so nice, so kind and so concerned,...she got us started on the path of more therapy for Isaac, speech and Kindermusic,...which led to public school evaluations,...more speech therapy and placement in preschool for this fall,...

This, the way,.. is our tax dollars at work.

Thank you fellow citizens,...thank you,...thank you!

Early Intervention is a worthwhile cause,...think of us and families like us,... next time you see that tax on your receipt,...we are groveling grateful!

But before we started State Funded Intervention, we started at the Bell Center,...and thank you, thank you, thank you corporate donors,...and private sponsors, are heroes to these children....

Last spring there were just a couple weeks left in the semester,...but in Early Intervention you don't have any time to lose, jump in,...

Only Isaac didn't like going to class,...he pitifully cried all that first week and so did I,...

Then, I made him a social story,... 

More sunshine,...less tears,....

Of course,...after class and lunch,...maybe a quick nap,...we were often off to therapy,...

Isaac's been a really good sport about being dragged here and there,...

Introduced to buckle chairs,...and EVERY single new adult he met,...wanted him to sign, "MORE."

Surely it was as bewildering to him, this whole process has been to us,...

However our Era of Early Intervention is coming to a close,...teacher gifts have been made and given,...Isaac's teachers,...heroes all!!!!

Three years old,...and almost graduate of Early Intervention,...Isaac's been through a lot for such a little guy,....he's met lots of people,...made some friends,....

Friday he passed out treats, we shopped for shoes,...and in the morning, he is getting a hair cut,...because tomorrow afternoon Isaac graduates,...white gown and diploma and all,...

A new Era to begin,...lots of prayers,...probably some tears,...and no doubt plenty of laughter and smiles,...because when all is said in done,...Isaac is Isaac,...he's filled with laughter and joy and brings delight to our lives,...often in the most unexpected ways,...with Isaac the only thing predictable about him is there is nothing predictable about him,...but it is aways interesting and fun!!!!

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


My guys are unique
My oldest two so different when our third son arrived
 we wondered where he would fall within their uniqueness,...
but Isaac is not like either.
My husband says our sons are
Each so individual 
With their own angle.
I agree

My oldest,...Teddy
The most patient and compassionate person I know
Also a poet
And computer genius 

My Michael,
a Renaissance man,
Self aware, yet selfless

My Isaac,
the double A in his name says it all!
Extra fun.
He experiences the world in a different way
and makes sure you do too!

For 18 years of motherhood,...our car's backseat looked like this,...

But triangular BLESSINGS can be delightfully unexpected,...

Now I see this,...

Psalm 127:3

New Living Translation (NLT)
Children are a gift from the Lord;

    they are a reward from him.

Thank you LORD for my triangular treasures,...priceless gifts, guys,...

Happy Mother's Day

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wuv U,...

To Isaac:

"I love you," says Mommy
"I love you," says Daddy
"I love you," says Big Brothers

Isaac has heard he is loved his entire life,....

Hug, Hold, Kiss,...have been mandates, verbal, "I love you."

'I love you, Isaac."

How many times a day has Isaac heard those words? Hundreds!!!

Even during the trying times,...hyperactivity, tears, sheer stubbornness and avid curiosity which gets him into mischief, spilling entire jars of instant coffee for sensory play!!!!

Still we say:

"I love you, Isaac."

With apraxia,...Isaac hasn't been able to answer,...but his blue-grey eyes can soulfully gaze, his hugs are hard, his kisses sweet,...and those giggles of delight!!!!!,....Oh yes,...we know Isaac loves us too!

However last night when I was changing Isaac into his fluffernuttersuit, i.e. blanket sleeper pajamas,...he was lying on the bed,...signing like mad and trying to get my attention. I thought he was trying to tell me something about Veggie Tales,...but he wasn't. 

Hugging his chest with crossed arms and then pointing at me,...Isaac kept saying, "Wuv U,...Wuv U."

So stunned, took me a moment to realize,...Isaac was saying, "Love you."

He had said it the day before,...when after my 234th 'I love you' - on Saturday, Isaac quite effortlessly replied, "I love you."

Plain as day!!!!

Oh, the hugs and kisses and laughter and celebrating!!!!

Daddy and our Big Guys barely believed me,...because Isaac being Isaac,...he didn't repeat the phrase, matter how much begging and pleading and sheer bribing was offered. 

Of course, apraxia is cruel that way,...I love you, plain as day on Saturday,...was a difficult to understand "Wuv U." on Sunday,....but we've noticed when Isaac has to concentrate to speak,...his speech is slower, duller and more difficult to understand than when he is able to speak without concentrating on his motor processing,...CLASSIC APRAXIA,...

But we don't care,..."I love you - Wuv U." - it means the same thing!!!

Onward, towards the future and new challenges to conquer with hope and faith and LOVE!!!

1st Cornithians 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Next Things,...

Next things for us this spring have included joining a new church: Church of the Highlands.

link: Church of the Highlands

 Sunday night when we came out of the evening service there was a triple rainbow, my picture you can only see two,...but another faint bow-within-a bow which you can faintly discern in the second picture,...and of course, was easier to see in person. Viewing the rainbows in person was simply stunning!!!

Many reasons factored into why we chose to worship at a new church,...not the least among them was Isaac's special needs. Church of the Highlands has a vibrant and caring special needs community: Highland Havens, which strives not only to minister to the special needs individual, but also to the family and caretakers. So important, for special needs families to feel wanted and welcome,...

Only one more 'speech therapy' for Isaac with is public school therapist before the summer break. Tonight we attend the summer meeting for Isaac's summer classes at the Bell Center. Nothing else is really planned for Isaac's summer,...he'll have private speech therapy every other week, and go to his summer classes twice a week,...with lots of time for just fun....

Later this month we'll learn Isaac's diagnoses for his developmental delays and be able to plan therapies to help address his needs. Potty Training is coming up,...but that is among the last things I am worried about at this juncture.

Before Potty Training we need more communication.

Some progress is being made:

Isaac is letting us read books to him, some.
He vocabulary - speech and sign language is growing.


Isaac still can't say: ISAAC.

Thus, I've been working on his summer clothes,...the shirt in the picture is a prototype as I was testing out Sharpie fabric markers,...I like the effect. I am also embroidering, tinkering with appliqué and dabbling in silk screen technique,...which is tricker than it looks,...but if my efforts yield monograms which I hope look more ARTSY than CRAFTSY,...then I'll try to find the time to post a tutorial.

When I was talking with the other mothers at school about my silk screen attempts,...the mother of the 'typical' children who attend,...didn't get why I was making such an effort to embellish my child's clothes,...until I explained the glaringly obvious:"Because Isaac can't say his name."

The uncomfortable, "Oh" was written all over her face, but I wasn't mad or upset,...because unless you have a nonverbal child, don't even think about the 'what ifs' - even something as simple as being able to answer, "What's your name?"

It's comforting to have ISAAC smacked onto my little one's shirt, helps in so many ways,...its often an ice breaker,...and easy for others to remember,...because his name is there, see: ISAAC and know my little one's name,...before you're aware,...perhaps he has special needs,...and then he's unforgettable.

Here is both my babies,...22 years and 3 years,...the oldest, my 24 year old was at work when I took this or he'd be in the picture. He has a master's degree and a beard, but he's still my baby too.

In big brother's arms,...Isaac looks pretty tiny,...he's still got a lot of growing to do,...lots of maturity and lots developmental, development.

Next things,...taking one day at a time,...

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!