In case you didn’t know, Ben and I have been working on teaching Mikayla sign language since she was about 6 or 7 months old. She knows quite a few signs and it helps her communicate with us and us with her. My friend wrote a great post on teaching children sign language here. Signing Time is a DVD series that we use a lot with Mikayla. I was first introduced to it when I worked at KAP last summer and reintroduced this year by our special education teacher at school. Mikayla loves the DVD’s and is now asking to watch them! Hopkins is the frog mascot they use in the series to help teach signs (along with a few other main characters Alex, Leah and Rachel). Here is Mikayla doing the Hopkins Hop!
Posts Tagged ‘KAP’
I am stealing this idea from my friend Dave. I loved his post so much and thought it gave a good account for the year 2009. What better way to ring in the new year than with a list of fun memories and pictures from the past. Without further ado:
January – 100th day of school…Call me crazy, but I think this is one of my favorite days of school, right behind KY Derby week and Dr. Seuss week! The kids all dress up like they are 100 and we do activities all day that revolve around the number 100. It is crazy fun.
February – My birthday, what else!! I also did a fun art project for the nursery with an old student, T-, who is kind of like an adopted son for us.
March – 10 years of bliss (combined dating and married) with my wonderful husband! He surprised me with 10 gerbera daisies (my favorite), throughout the day and even a surprise lunch. He also put together a photo album, with a picture for each year we have been together. There was also a sweet visit from Catherine mixed in there. We had fun just hanging out, driving around forever trying to find a place to get a pedicure, and then painting pottery. It was a great last hurrah before Mikayla was born!
April – The birth of my dear sweet Mikayla…enough said!
May – Ben graduated from seminary…Hallelujah! Three years of no social life, lonely nights on the couch (me) and endless hours of studying (him) were officially over. I don’t know who was more excited, me or him?
June – Lots of mini road trips and first meetings for Mikayla. We traveled to Somerset where she met her great grandparents and adopted grandma (Cindy Kerr). Then on to Mayfield, Kentucky to meet Mignon, another great grandmother. Finally, a trip to Kentucky Lake to meet the extended Kickert clan (great Aunts and Uncles and second cousins). It was an exhausting month, but a lot of fun! She also met T- and his brother, M- (see February for more information on these two)!
July – I finished up my “internship” at the Kelly Autism Program which meant I finished my Rank I (no more school for me)…Can I get another Hallelujah? Sorry no pictures of this for the month, but here is one of Mikayla! This is her classic pouty face!
August – Adventures in Baking and back to school. I spent a lot of time in August cooking. Homemade pizza, salsa, okra stew, stuffed jalapenos, and a first attempt at sushi just to name a few. It was hard to leave Mikayla at the beginning of August and head back to school but we managed. Ben did such a good job of taking care of her, even if he did try to cook her!
September – September was a slow month for me. I worked and when I wasn’t working I was spending time with my family. I guess you could say the most exciting thing about the month was developing my love for BabyLegs. Hey, I told you it was a slow month!
October – Smokey Mountain fun with the Altmaiers and celebrating my five year wedding anniversary with Ben. I have said it before, and I will say it again, these are some of the best friends a girl could ask for. We have known them for so long and it never fails, with each visit, we just pick right up where we left off. There is no awkwardness at all. We could go weeks without communicating and then jump right back in when we do. They are our go to couple when having a marital dispute and more like family than friends! Seriously, it doesn’t get much better! This is perhaps one of my favorite months of the past year. Fall + Great Friends + Five years of wedded bliss = A great month!
November – Another slow month, not much to report besides Thanksgiving. We had a great time visiting with both sides of the family and ate until we could eat no more.
December – My favorite thing about December was starting new traditions with my little family. We decorated the tree, opened stockings, drank hot cocoa, took pictures, ate some Chinese, and enjoyed some wine. It was a great way to end the year. Oh and those yummy cinnamon rolls!
I hope that 2010 brings as much fun, excitement and joy as 2009 did! Happy New Years everyone.
Disclaimer: Nice Sunday at KY lake with Ben’s family (pictures to come) + last day at KAP was insanely crazy (every student was out of sorts, it was basically crowd control) + entertained KY Kickert’s and Steve tonight = One tired Sugar Mamma. Post is going to be short and to the point. The equation above should explain why I am two days behind on this one! That being said, enjoy today: Top Ten Books.
In the past year or two I haven’t had the chance to do much “free reading”. I was working on my second masters, pregnant, and working full time, so free reading was non-existent. However, I do teach kindergarten and so I read a lot of children’s books. I thought I would make this list my Top Ten Children’s books. They are as follows:
- The Secret Garden – I read this book over and over as a kid. I am not sure why I like it so much, but it is definitely a favorite of mine!
- Any Dr. Seuss book – Ben says this is cheap, but I love them all, just ask my kids at school. We actually spend two weeks during the year doing nothing but Dr. Seuss activities!
- Little Women – I just re-read this a couple of years ago, what a great story. I read it as a kid, but I think I missed out on a lot of the story.
- The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein is a great author and this is one of his best books!
- Runaway Bunny – A classic children’s story of a young bunny who tries to run away from his mother, but his mother follows him every step. He discovers that he can’t run from his mother because she loves him so much.
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – This is one of my favorite read alouds, the kids really get into this one.
- Charlotte’s Web – This is another one of my favorite chapter books from my childhood. Wilbur is hilarious, and Charlotte is very sweet. I cry at the end everytime.
- Bread and Jam for Frances – I am not sure why I like this one so much, but I really enjoy it.
- The Polar Express – Another one of my favorites to read aloud. We also make a train and enjoy hot chocolate while listening to the story.
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day – Why? Because sometimes we just have a bad day!
I have several other favorites, and maybe when I am not so tired I will share those, but this is my list for now. This tired Sugar Mamma is going to bed! Night all!
These are my Top Ten Favorite Places to be:
- My bed snuggled with Ben, Shiloh and Mikayla – This one should explain itself. Two of my favorite people, my dog and my comfy cozy bed. Does it get any better than this?
- Waterfalls – I love them all, big or small. I could sit and watch a waterfall for hours. I think they are some of the prettiest things God created.
- Guatemala – Spent a summer here with Amy and fell in love with it, the people and the culture. The food is awesome, the people are so loving and accepting and the countryside is gorgeous. My brother just led a group down there for 10 days. I couldn’t go because of commitments here (mainly Mikayla), but I relived my summer there when I saw pictures.
- Coffee shops – While in Guatemala I developed a love for coffee and cute coffee shops. In college coffee shops were a popular hangout spot with friends and mentors. Today I enjoy heading to a coffee shop with a good book or some good friends and enjoying a nice, steamy cup of joe! In Bowling Green, my favorite coffee shop is Spencer’s on the square.
- Outdoors – I love being outside on a sunny, slightly breezy day. You can do so much outdoors (and a lot of my favorite places are outdoors). In the summer time we love to start a fire and sit around the pit watching movies on the side of the house. In college we would spend an entire day rock climbing. Walking through the woods on a crisp fall afternoon with the leaves crunching underfoot is another favorite. There is so much to do outside, why would anyone want to be glued to a tv screen?
- Anywhere with family and friends – I love spending time with family, even if it is just a quick trip to Target! My love language is quality time and just being together is enough for me.
- On a disc golf course – Steve and Luella introduced me to this fabulous game about three summers ago. I have been playing it ever since. BG has some of the best courses in the state. We actually have 8 courses. If you unfamiliar with disc golf check out this informational video. I have some fond memories of times on the disc golf course – like the time I played disc golf in the rain in Florida with Cat, Dave, Ben and Potter…good times!. Check out these photos:
- In the garden (vegetable garden that is) or a pick your own orchard – As mentioned earlier I love being outside. What better way to spend the day than harvesting fruits and veggies? This is mine and Ben‘s third year gardening. This year we have our garden at our house. Check out this post. I also enjoy a good pick your own orchard. As a kid we would go with my grandma to Haney’s and pick apples. Last summer I went with Dana to The Orchard to pick blackberries (which were made inti blackberry jam) and snagged some blueberries across the street.
- The Farm – My grandparents farm holds some great memories for me. We always argued over which route to take (1, 2, 3, or 4), even to this day I will say let’s go Number 3! Then we would take turns driving up the driveway (this was before we had licenses of course). Even as a little child, dad would put us behind the wheel and let us “drive”. Fishing, family dinners, gardens, blackberries, horses, golden retrievers, cinnamon rolls (but only at Christmas)…so many memories!
- KAP (Kelly Autism Program) – I just discovered my love for KAP this summer (read here). I hate leaving Ben and Mikayla everyday, but I have really enjoyed my time there. Contrary to popular belief I get energized (most days) when working with these kiddos!
Well we have reached day four of our Top Ten journey. Today’s topic is Ten things to do before I die, my bucket list of sorts.
- Deep sea fishing – As a kid we would go fishing regularly on my grandparents farm. They had two ponds stocked with catfish and bluegill. We would catch them and then my grandma would fry them up. Deep sea fishing wouldn’t be quite the same, but I think it would be fun.
- Travel to all fifty states – I have made a pretty good dent in this one, but still have a few to go. I have traveled to 32 of 50.
- Go exploring in old castles – This has been a dream of mine since I was little. I am not sure why, but I have always been fascinated by old castles. Especially those castles in Germany
- Visit historical Holocaust sites – Speaking of Germany…If you know me at all you will know that I have always enjoyed learning about the Holocaust. I can’t really explain why, I just have been. I have read books, watched movies and lived vicariously through Anne Frank and others. To see the historical sites in person would really make an impact I think.
- Travel the world – I love to travel, except for the whole driving or getting there part. I love seeing new things and experiencing a new culture. If only I could see every corner of the world, wouldn’t that be fantastic?
- Live abroad (perhaps in Africa) – Ben and I are actually in the process of working towards moving to Africa in the next few years. If you are more interested in this check out his post here, here and here.
- Adopt a child – When Ben and I first started talking about kids, we made the decision to adopt. To me this seems like a no brainer. There is an estimate of 100 million orphans worldwide. I just can’t imagine not adopting one of these children. I have a passion for helping others and to me this is the greatest gift I can offer to a child.
- Open a bakery or some sort of small shop where I can cook all day everyday – I love to cook, enough said. Even when I am extremely tired from school or stressed out over something, I come home and cook. For some reason cooking relaxes me. For others it might be a nice pedicure or a nice soak in a bubble bath (although I do love a good bubble bath), but for me it is cooking (especially baking). It would be a dream job to get to cook all day everyday.
- Figure out a cure for autism – This one is a long shot considering no one really knows the cause of autism. In case you didn’t know I just recently finished my second masters in Exceptional Education with an emphasis in autism. I have also spent the summer working at the Kelly Autism Program (read this for more information about my experiences there). Autism is another one of those things that fascinates me. It also troubles me. Often individuals with autism are extremely bright, but they struggle with communicating their thoughts and ideas. If only there were a cure, then their brilliance could be shared with everyone.
- Go scuba diving – Imagine seeing the beauty of God’s creation up close and personal…that would be awesome! Plus, fish are cute!
Of course I wouldn’t want to do any of these alone. I would want my wonderful husband alongside of me every step of the way and perhaps even the Little Misses. Even if that means we have to wait fifty years to cross off some of these. What would you add to your Bucket List?
I have found my niche. For the past three weeks I have been volunteering (and when I say volunteering I mean paying to take a class and work for free as a result) at a program here in Bowling Green geared towards working with individuals with autism (ASD). The program is called the Kelly Autism Program, or KAP as the participants fondly call it. This is a place that people all over the nation and world are looking at as a model for helping those with ASD. At KAP students Kindergarten through college are encouraged to be themselves and learn coping skills to manage and deal with their disability. Although I have had to leave my sweet baby every morning for the last three weeks (and three more in July) I feel the experience has been very worthwhile.
For those of you who don’t know, I am currently finishing up a second masters in Exceptional Education (Moderate and severe disabilities) with an Autism certificate. I have loved this masters and learned so much from it. The past two years I have had the priveledge of working with an individual with classic autism. I have learned so much from this student and even found a passion in working with individuals with autism (thus my second masters). I have found my niche! I have always known that I wanted to teach, and have loved every minute (well almost every minute) since I started almost five years ago. However, it wasn’t until this summer, actually this past week, that I feel like I have truly found my niche. I love, love working with students with special needs, specifically autism and feel like I have the skill base to do so effectively. They have so much to teach me and have such a passion for life. They live life to the fullest and don’t care what others think! It is amazing.
Unlike most of my friends, I have always been confident in my job. Several years ago we were in a small group of “young married” couples, all of who seemed to reach a transition point in their lives at the same moment. People were shuffling jobs, moving to new places or just beginning their careers. Throughout this entire time I seemed to be the only one who enjoyed their job and knew they were “in the right place”. I still love my job and have confidence in it, but now I can see a different future with my job. Maybe not tomorrow or ten years from now, but one day I will work daily with individuals with special needs and I will love it as much as I love teaching kindergarten. I have found my niche and couldn’t be happier!