Speech Therapy


My little guy started speech therapy this week at our local elementary school.  To be honest, he was seeing a private speech therapist last year for a few months, but the fit wasn't right.  The place was too far from our house, and his teacher wasn't warm.  He dreaded going.

Last February, my son started showing signs of stuttering.  At first it was very mild, but then it took on a new, very frightening form.  Instead of repeating the sounds of one or two words again and again, it seemed like he was stuck on each and every word (incapable of completing a full sentence).  In May, I decided to do some research after Lewie had a particularly hard day of communicating, and it seemed as if the "experts" were torn.  Some said he would naturally outgrow this since he was under the age of five; others said there was cause for worry since it was starting around age five.  I waited for three full, painful months to see if his speech improved.  It didn't.

After we tried one speech therapist and felt like he wasn't making too much progress, we decided to register him with our local school district.  In November, their speech pathologist did an evaluation that looked like this:

"During the walk from the main office to the speech room, Lewie was talkative and relatively fluent.  However, once he entered the speech room, 80% of his sentences contained dysfluencies.  His dysfluencies included:

16 Part Word Repetitions (as in  may - may - may-be)

7 Whole Word Repetitions (as in  my - my - my)

2 Phrase Repetitions (as in  I have - I have - I have)

10 Blocks (tense pauses where Lewie is struggling to say a "stuck" sound, as in  b-b-b-b-ee)

Lewie also displays secondary characteristics such as leg-tapping, facial grimacing and decreased eye contact."

A favorite picture of mine from our snow day last week.

Her report made my heart drop, but indeed, she was right.  It did get this bad, and as is the case for most children that suffer with stuttering, there is no known, concrete cause, and there is no promise that he will get better. 

He has better days than others.  On bad days, I feel like crying because he's having such a hard time communicating, and I can't do much to help him except to be patient and to give him my full attention.  Oddly enough, he sings without a single stutter.

Over the past week, Lewie has enjoyed going to his new speech therapist.  She's young, sweet, and fun.  He doesn't see it as a chore; in fact, he likes going, and he's already learning how to take long breaths before speaking.  I'm hopeful, and I continue to pray that this won't be a life-long struggle for him.

{FIVE ON FRIDAY} 1-24-2014


Happy Friday Everyone!  I decided to join the Five on Friday link-up because it looks quite fun;  plus, I haven't done a link-up in quite some time...  Thank you for visiting.  Here are five things that I'm loving this week!
{ONE}  My New Blog Design
I've been on blogger since 2009, and well, let's just say that blog designs have changed a lot since then.  My first blog design was very decorative--it focused on my cheerleader cartoon, had lots of widgets, and a very busy background.  I've been wanting to change my blog for a while, and well, now in 2014, I've finally did it!

I'd like to give a shout out to Kreated by Kelsey who did this new design for me.  (She also did my old one five years ago.)  Her blog design business has been around awhile, and I know why...  She's creative, personable, quick, and very thorough.  In less than a week, my blog was instantly transformed, and she allowed me to make change after change after change until I LOVED everything.  (I know it wasn't easy for her to work with me; being a Libra, I have difficulty making decisions on just about everything.)  Finally, Kelsey's blog design service is very affordable.  It was a pleasure working with her again.

{TWO}  Snow Days
On Wednesday, the college I work for actually closed, and I had an unexpected day off from work!  It was pretty cold outside, but I did manage to take a few pictures of my little boy in action.  Here's my favorite:

{THREE}  Valentine's Day
Okay, I know I may be getting ahead of myself here, but I'm looking forward to transforming my living room into a sea of red and white heart decorations.  (We still have our Christmas tree up - gulp- which means lots of pine needles to clean up this weekend.)  I look forward to making heart shaped cookies and especially heart shaped chocolate chip pancakes within the next few weeks too.  Yum!!

{FOUR}  Doreen Virtue's Daily Guidance from Your Angels
A friend of mine introduced me to this book.  It offers a "healing" message for all 365 days of the year.  Here's an example.  Day 351 is called "Listen to Your Inner Child," and the meditation for the day is "I listen to my inner child, taking the time to play, sing, dance, and rest.  I give it excellent care, and as I fulfill its needs, I'm rewarded with energy and joyfulness."  I love the simple yet profound messages Doreen Virtue provides.  Every day this book seems to give me the exact wisdom I need to make it a great day.

{FIVE}  Yogi Tea
Over the last few years, I've been seeing a naturopath who's introduced me to the world of vitamins, supplements, and medicinal teas.  I love Yogi tea...I have one for "Calming," "Stomach Ease," "Cold Season," "Positive Energy," etc. etc., and I have to say that they work like a charm.  I have others too that have a permanent home in my cabinet.  My son doesn't particularly like these teas...yet.  One day I'll convince him.  (Oh, did I mention that each tea bag has a wonderfully enlightening quote too?  I love reading each one of them.)

First Hike of the Year


Last weekend, the snow melted, and we had some 50 degree days.  My son had been begging us to go outside, and to be completely honest, I needed some fresh air too.  The short, cold days of winter have made me pretty lethargic lately--some days I actually come home from work at 6 p.m. and end of falling asleep on the couch by 7!!!

We decided to walk at a nature preserve close to home called the Naugatuck State Forest.  It was one of my husband and I's favorite hiking spots when we were dating.  Since Lewie was born, we've come here a handful of times (stroller and all), but this was our first time coming without the stroller.  (We figured five year-old Lewie could now handle the shortest route in the forest that's just a little shy of two miles.)

I must say that this has been the highlight of my year so far.  The forest always has its own beauty during every season, and this mid January, the highlight was looking at the sun reflecting off of the ice from the two lakes.  Even though it was a warmer day, both lakes at the preserve were surprisingly frozen solid.  (My husband had to test this theory by grabbing the biggest boulder he could find and throwing it at the lake; this, of course, received wild laughter and applause from Little Lewie, who would have liked to do this all day.)

Being the "fun police," I had to remind both boys that Daddy has a bad back and shouldn't be lifting anything heavy.  (Yes, it's fun being named "Nagarella" and "The Fun Police" in my house just because I worry sometimes that someone might get hurt.)

After our walk, I felt this immense peace and happiness.  Sometimes we just need to be a little closer to nature to soothe the soul :)

Like father - like son.  They both had to find "walking sticks."

A picture of the first lake.  Yes, that's one of their walking sticks
in the middle of the lake.  They had to see if the lake was truly frozen.

I forget what they were up to here...

After a series of experiments, they are now satisfied that this lake is frozen.

Still a little slippery in some areas.

How can you not be happy on a day like this?

I love how you can see the reflection of the clouds on the ice.

My one picture of the day with my son.

Okay, so Little Lewie didn't quite finish the hike.  He needed a little help during the final part.

New Year's Trip to Saratoga Springs


This New Year's, we went to Saratoga Springs to celebrate the holiday.  Our goal was to go snow tubing on one day and to their awesome First Night on New Year's Eve, which has all sorts of juggling acts, puppet shows, and music for kids.

Unfortunately, on the very first night of our three-day trip, my husband came down with a stomach virus (the same one my mom and I suffered from weeks ago).  As much as he wanted to go out and explore with us, he was just too sick, and so he stayed in the hotel while Little Lewie and I went out. 

The weather, being very cold, windy, and raw, was not ideal for snow tubing, so we decided to spend one day going to the Children's Museum at Saratoga and another day going to the miSci Museum of Innovation and Science in nearby Schenedtady, NY. 

The good news is that the hotel and both museums ended up being a hit!  Lewie's two big fascinations in this world are elevators and trains, and so on this trip, he was able to have fun with both.  The hotel where we stayed, The Gideon Putnam, is an old resort from the 1930's that had both a modern day elevator and an old service elevator.  Since Lewie has never seen an "old elevator" before, that became the highlight of the hotel...nevrmind the fact that the hotel is unbelievably gorgeous, and that there was a wedding there right on New Year's Eve!  (I so wanted to be a wedding crasher.)

I loved their Christmas display!

A life-size nutcracker.

The old, still-functional, service elevator that Lewie adored.
Lewie was particularly fascinated by the working levers instead of digital numbers/buttons.
Couldn't you just see yourself getting married here?

How about getting married here now?

How about now?

I just love the view overlooking Saratoga Spa State Park.
The museums provided Lewie's second love--trains.  At the Children's Museum, Lewie had the chance to pretend he was the driver and conductor of a play trolley (complete with a ticket booth and actual tickets), and at the miSci Museum, Lewie had a chance to see a huge display of model trains up front and in-person.  I wish I had captured video of his very first reaction to seeing it because quite honestly, his excitement could be heard throughout the entire museum.  For hours, Lewie ran around the big train table following the trains.  (I do have some quick videos to show...)

Driving the trolley...

Tickets?  Get your tickets.

Lewie had fun running up and down the trolley singing the "Hot Chocolate" song from the Polar Express.

Preparing a meal in the "play" diner.

I love a man in the kitchen.

Of course, we had to treat ourselves to milkshakes afterwards--that's what the holidays are for!

Okay, so I had to take one more picture of the milkshake. 

Running into the miSci Museum on a snowy and frigid cold day.

A mini train and amusement park display--so cool.

The town and trolley on the opposite side of the train display.

Here comes the trolley!

Do you see four little boy heads peering above the train display?

Here are those four little heads again.

And one more time.  (They were standing like this for about 30 minutes...)


Finally, for New Year's Eve Day, my husband was feeling a little better, and so we had a chance to visit our favorite restaurants in the area.  We went to the Olde Bryan Inn (established in 1773) for brunch, and for New Year's Eve Dinner, we went to Ravenous, our favorite crepe place.  (Hubby and I came to Saratoga Springs before for New Year's Eve 2006, so eating at these restaurants have now become a mini-tradition.)

Eating at the Olde Bryan Inn.  (Can you tell that my husband still looks somewhat under the weather?)

The rustic restaurant.  I just love this place!

The Olde Bryan Inn from the outside.

New Year's Eve Day is downtown Saratoga.

Our favorite crepe place, Ravenous.

I think this is a private residence in downtown Saratoga.  It's big enough to be a Christmas village.

Ringing in the New Year at Ravenous with chocolate crepes...

All in all, it was a fun trip.  It wasn't exactly how I imagined it, but I was happy my husband was feeling good enough on New Year's Eve to come out to celebrate with us, even if just for a short while.  Lewie told me he would miss the hotel and the elevator, so for me, the trip was well worth it!