Braces Be Gone

Just over fifteen months have passed since the world of braces became a reality for our family. NHL has had wires on his top teeth since the end of June 2013.

Braces Be Gone

While NHL has had some discomfort from time to time, we only had a few issues that were caused by pesky baby teeth trying to vacate his mouth. Over the months, we had to make two extra visits, and one emergency night trek to the orthodontists office. My kiddo was a trouper with what they did in his mouth and rarely complained. When he did in recent weeks, we knew something was up. A spring had sprung and was digging into his cheek. That resulted in his two front teeth shifting forward. For a few weeks, we were not sure if the braces would still come off as predicted.

The weekend before a scheduled recheck NHL had his first wire pop. Of course, it was after 8:00 on a Friday evening. We called the orthodontist and he tried to explain how to shift it back into place to try to wait until Saturday afternoon. When we tried to do this, the wire popped out even more and NHL could barely close his mouth. So we met the orthodontist at 9:30 that evening. Even at that hour, he was amazing. We were given good news that NHL’s teeth had gotten back into the right position and the braces would still come off on October 6 (TODAY). A stronger wire was put on and we were told that it could not and would not pop.

Care to guess what happened next?

Yes, Saturday morning NHL came running into our room. As he was trying to wiggle a loose tooth, the giant wire came out from the bracket. The message for the orthodontist was pretty classic and one he will likely remember for a while. Wire cutters were bought and never used from Home Depot. Then, after a few hours, NHL figure out how to prop the wire up where it would stay and did not hurt him. Score! We were able to wait until our regular appointment two days later.

Once again everyone in the office was amazing. The interesting part, nobody has a clue how the wire came out of place and did not break the bracket. Go figure!

Now we have made it the last two weeks without another incident and NHL is already planning what he is going to eat once the braces are removed. He has been amazing with following the instructions/rules set. We managed to avoid other more invasive techniques to expand NHL’s palette, fix cross bite issues, and work on the tooth crowding. Thank goodness the braces did their magic with the amazing work of our orthodontist. Now, NHL will be wearing a retainer until it is outgrown and then we will see if a Phase 2 of braces will be needed. A lot will depend on how some of the last teeth fall into place.

So I would love some advice from those who have had a retainer or had a child with one. What tips and tricks do you have to make sure they are taken care of properly at school, worn, and all that other fun and important stuff that I am unsure of?

It's Me

P.S. If you are looking for a fantastic orthodontist in the Capital Region, just let me know. The office that we go to is amazing to work with and everyone is so understanding with children that have special needs.

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Middle School is Just What the Doctor Ordered

For years, I was preparing to send my oldest child to middle school. As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, I felt like I had to advocate even more for this big milestone. One classroom and teacher in the elementary school would be a lot different than nine periods a day with just as many, if not more teachers. Middle schools are much larger, there are many more students, and it is a tough time developmentally for most if not all preteens.

Transitioning to Middle School

Without going into too many specifics, we had an amazing IEP for the start of middle school. Everyone at school greeted us at orientation with smiles and showed us around. The day before school, we went back in drop items off to the locker and make sure the lock was mastered. Each time we went to visit, the individuals at school were amazing. They knew my son, welcomed him, and eased my fears.

The first day of school came and went with only parental nerves on edge. NHL was excited for a fresh start. He was thrilled to already have his schedule memorized. He could not stop talking about having Social Studies and Science every day. He came out of school with a smile on his face and I was able to breathe.

What TechyDad and I experienced the next morning shocked us. NHL hopped out of bed and ran into our room telling is to get moving because he wanted to get to school. There was no hesitation, just energy and excitement to go and learn more from his teachers. This continued the following week. Each day, my son was more excited to go to middle school.

After I sent my son to school for the second full week, I did something that was important to me. I stopped to write a note to every member of my son’s team to let them know I was thankful. The middle school transition could have been a disaster. The reality was that because of everyone involved, NHL was off to a great start.

As I pushed the send button, I was a bit nervous. After so many years of fighting for supports and struggles, I did not want to jinx anything. Still, it was the right time to cheer everyone up and let them know. As a middle school teacher, I know you do not often hear positive feedback. So I sent the email to the principals, several people in the Special Education department, and the guidance counselor. At the last second, I decided to add one more person. Yes, my note praising the team at the middle school for helping my son transition also went to the superintendent of our district.

The responses from various people made me know that I did the right thing. It made me feel wonderful to know that I had made them smile and lifted their spirits.

So why am I writing this post?

My hope is that someone may read it and it will help them as their child is transitioning from elementary to middle school. While I know they are likely as worried as I was waiting for middle school to start, I want to reassure them that it may be just what the doctor ordered for your child. The structure of the day, the fresh beginning for each class period, and the mixture of different students helped my son. My Aspie adores knowing his schedule and not having to worry about changes within a single classroom. The structure of middle school allows that and so far he is doing very well. Sure there will be bumps in the road, but with the support of his team and open communication this experience could open up the world for my child.

It's Me

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When Listening to Audio Books is a Must

#VZWBuzz Disclosure

Being able to listen to an audiobook has become an important part of my life. Sometimes picking up a paper book or reading an eBook is just not possible. There are times that my hands and eyes are working on something, but I am able to listen. Rather than have music, television, or other background noise on, audiobooks are a great solution that allow me to multitask.

The smartphones in my life have allowed me to keep whatever audiobook I am currently enjoying on them for access on the go. Of course, not all smartphones are created equally when it comes to their speakers. A problem I have had in the past is not being able to hear the narrator of a book if I forget my ear buds. The placement of speakers, the limited volume, and other audio inconsistencies mean that I can not always use OverDrive to listen to my audiobooks without my BOSE Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker.

HTC BoomSound on the HTC One remix

I can not tote my speaker with me to all locations, so one of the first features I check out on a new device is the ability to listen to an audiobook without additional accessories. When I received an HTC One Remix, one of the first things I did was to put my reading apps on it. Then, I connected up to the book that I was currently listening to. When I pushed the button to play and had it resting on my bed and face up, I was able to hear it perfectly. The narrator was clear, the volume did not have to go all the way up, and it self adjusted so I did not have to toggle settings as I was listening. I was pleasantly surprised and wanted to know more because it was very different from other phones I have used.

Multitasking with clear HTC One remix BoomSound audio

The HTC BoomSound™ technology is something that I witnessed. The dual front facing speakers allow you to project music, book, or other sounds right to you. Other smartphones have speakers built into the back so if you want to listen to something and multitask, the audio goes away from you.  The phone also has built-in amps that boost volume so that even my kids in another room came to close my door because they did not want to hear my book. In addition to this, there is bass-to-treble balancing software that makes the sound more crisp and clear.

With this phone, I am able to listen to books while driving near and far to shuttle my kids from school to other afterschool commitments. In addition to this, if I put a book that everyone is listening to together, I can place it in the front of my van and everyone else will be able to follow along without any difficulty hearing. Yes, this is a great device to take on road trips, to a meeting to share audio, or anything else that may come up for a busy person that is on the go and relies on audio that can perform solo.

How do you utilize audio on your smartphone and has there ever been a time where you wish it could do more?

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the HTC One Remix to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Sweet New Year Wishes 5775

At sundown this evening, my family will begin to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish New Year is a time to look at the year that has gone by and reflect on things that have happened in our lives. It is also a time where we wish others a Sweet New Year with apples, honey, honey cake, and other special items.

Sweet New Year Wishes for Rosh Hashanah

Not only do we have the sweet items from a Rosh Hashanah basket above, JSL made some fantastic crafts in Hebrew School.

Rosh Hashanah Crafts

Now I leave you with a fun new Rosh Hashanah song that I found while on YouTube. Matthew Rissien made All About That Rosh-Hashanah (All About that Bass Parody – One Man Jewish Acapella) that seemed perfect to share.

To all of those that celebrate, I wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and sweet start to 5775.

It's Me

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The Granola Strolla Portable Solar USB Charger

Imagine having a dream to create a device and making it come true. This is the story of Granola Strolla founders Irene and Benjamin Rodda. The husband and wife team wanted to make a portable USB battery that was affordable and able to be charged with solar power. Granola Strolla Logo

We all know that keeping our smartphone, tablets, and other devices charged can be a challenge when we are on the go. Many locations do not have plugs for us to recharge and if you are walking around an amusement park you may not have time to stop. That’s the beauty of the Granola Strolla, you can clip it on a backpack, diaper bag, or stroller and it will be ready to give devices that extra boost that they may need during your outing.

Granola Strolla on bag

We met three of the four Rodda family members in May 2011. Since that time, I have kept in touch with Irene and she has been featured on my blog several times. I have been able to see all of the steps that Granola Strolla has done to make this moment happen. During this process, Irene and Benjamin have relocated from the Boston area to Tennessee. In addition to this, they have welcomed their second son into the world. Even during tough moments in their personal life, they never gave up. They kept working on the prototype, registering for trademark, and all of the other business milestones.

Granola Strolla charging

Now Granola Strolla has hit the big leagues and they have launched a Kickstarter campaign. Rather than list all of the details about the Granola Strolla here, be sure to read more information on the Kickstarter page. Disclosure: I was sent a Swag Pack with Granola Strolla items for my support, but honestly would have done this post without it. It is my pleasure to help another family to get the word out. This Kickstarter campaign just started and they already have 128 supporters and close to 40% of their funding. Please take a moment to watch their video to learn more about Granola Strolla.

The Granola Strolla Kickstarter campaign ends on October 12, 2014. Please consider donating toward their project and making this dream come true. FYI this is the Granola Strolla Swag Bag that will be sent to those that pledge $25.

Granola Strolla Swag

Wishing Irene and Benjamin much success with Granola Strolla in the future.

It's Me

Disclosure: I was sent a Granola Strolla swag bag as a thank you. As noted, I would have shared this information with my reader to help another family. All opinions are my own.

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