Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Snoezelen Room

So Rory...

In a constant effort to make our home as comfortable as possible and "safe" for Rory as possible, we are thinking of turning a portion of our finished basement in to a "Snoezelen Room."

Snoezelen comes from 2 Dutch words, meaning "sniffling" and "to doze/snooze." Snoezelen rooms are "controlled multisensory environments." They are much more common in Europe. Basically, they are "calm" rooms that appeal to multiple senses at once. They use a lot of light therapy, white noise, comfy spaces, even scent therapy at times.

Rory had a great response to the CME Room at therapy last week. To be honest, I loved the CME room myself!! :) I can only imagine the benefit having a small one in our house would be for both her and Trace. Who doesn't need a safe space, designed specifically to help you calm down, relax and quiet your mind? With both kids facing major life changes (kindergarten anyone?!) in the next 3 years...yep, seems like a good idea to me. (Also, sidebar, if you are ever looking for me once we install this...check the corner with the fluffiest bed near a bubble tube. ;o))

Here's my dilemma...CME Room equipment is expensive. I mean EXPENSIVE. Rory was particularly drawn to the bubble towers in the CME room...

(via 1047.connectradiio.ca)

Beautiful, right?


Anywhere from $350 to $1000. Per. Column. YIKES. Even table top ones will run you a couple hundred...

I've found some smaller things, like a lava lamp, speakers that respond to music with light/water (that'd be good with quiet classical music, I think), a small fountain...that would get us started on the visual sensory elements.

Auditory elements are easy...a white noise machine and a small CD player to play classical music. Easy peasy.

Tactile elements are up next...there has to be comfy places for her to relax and recline. The CME Room at therapy has round platforms, cushioned entirely, with white netting encasing it. I don't think that'd be too hard to make...my dad is pretty handy. I think we could cut a piece of plywood into an appropriate size (Small is good, because it encourages comfort and implies safety) and just put a couple wooden blocks on the bottom for a little height. You can order round mattress that aren't very thick. Then we could add foam padding around the wooden base and "upholster" the whole thing in a comfy fabric...

Holy moly. I just worked that out right on my blog. Well that will be my dad's next project...after he's done with their kitchen renovation!

As far as the tulle "casing" goes...I can make that like a boss. Gimme a bolt of white tulle and a hula hoop, a hot glue gun and a couple episodes of Grey's and BAM. Done!

Oh how I wish these kinds of things were covered by insurance. But no. I am a hard working, contributing member of society who faithfully pays my taxes. My husband is the same. It's extremely frustrating...

I'm rambling, I know. It's late and I'm tired. But I'm motivated. I'm motivated to give my kiddo the tools she needs to lead a happy life to the best of her abilities.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Rory update.

Time for a Rory update...

We had therapy last week with her totally awesome and in high demand (BOO! YAY! BOO!) therapist, Miss Angela. Angela is phenomenal. She has a jammed schedule and works her magic to get Rory in once a month (we're on the cancellation list for any available appointment). I know a lot of people would get frustrated with once a month appointments but I'm choosing to be so grateful Rory likes her and is open with her. Angela and Rory have a great rapport already and I'm not switching again. I know if we work diligently on the things she's given us each appointment through out the month, it will be worth it. Eventually, her schedule will mesh with ours and we will get in to 2x a month or even more. I know it, I pray for it and I trust that it will happen.

This was our second session. Our behavioral health facility is brand new and beautiful. Half of the entire building is different therapist's offices for individual sessions. There are probably 15-20 offices for therapists of all kinds: men, women, young, old...there's someone for everyone, honestly. The other half of the building is home to "units" for different behavioral disorders. There's ADHD centered rooms, sleep disorders, etc. The best is a HUGE autism unit. There's a calm room, 4 therapist offices, special bathrooms and a giant playroom with Autism appropriate areas. Light tunnel, sensory walls, a swing, big soft play sets, a 5 foot by 5 foot ball pit...it's really great.

Last time we were in, Angela showed Rory the autism unit and promised we'd use it at an appointment if no one else was in the unit. Well this appointment it was free! Rory got to play while she chatted with Angela and it was really cool.

They used the ball pit a lot. Sensory wise, it was calming to Rory. She liked sinking down below the balls. (A lot of sensory kids like a little pressure or weight on them, they find it calming. Rory definitely likes several blankets or pillows on her)

The balls were 4 colors: yellow, blue, green and red. Angela used the balls to help Rory identify and put a color with each of her biggest fears.

Paraphrasing her words/reasoning:
Yellow, for Rory, represented being happy because the sun in yellow and Rory is happy when it's sunny. (Not a fear, but a goal.)

Red is people being angry or yelling at her.

Blue is people dying/going away forever because that makes her cry and tears are water and water is blue.

Green is going bald. She's not afraid of bald people but she's afraid of going bald and not having any hair because people would laugh at her.

When she was talking about going bald, I excused myself and cried in the bathroom for a few minutes. Imagine your child living with the fear of having no hair. I can't explain to her that going bald is just part of having a childhood disease like cancer and that people understand it. Because they don't. When I see a kiddo with a bald head, I immediately associate it with cancer and share a smile or hello with them. When you see a kid with a patchy head, pull spots galore...well the judgments are a little different. A kid with trich's baldness/hair loss looks very different from childhood cancer hair loss. It's kinda scary at times, honestly. Very different. Very hard to explain. Very difficult for me to accept, honestly. I'm not a very appearance oriented mom. I love cute outfits but I had to give up control of Rory's hairstyles and accessories long ago. She hasn't successfully worn a bow or barrette in her hair for longer than 20 minutes in 3 years. She can't handle her hair being braided or even put in a ponytail. She has strong opinions and inclinations when it comes to what to wear and what feels good that day. I've accepted it and I'm okay with it. In fact, I look forward to seeing what Rory wants to wear each day. She's 4 and it's a-okay to be "Fancy Nancy" every day. But the looks, the judgement at the grocery store, the head shakes, the flat out statements...ugh. It can be really hard to be mom of a kiddo with sensory issues sometimes.

Back to our session...

Angela worked with Rory on some coping mechanisms to calm her down when she feels the anger or worries bubble up in her belly. They spent a long time practicing angel wings (Deep, consistent breathing with repetitive arm motions) After that, Angela took her in the calm and quiet room.

That room was awesome. I wanted to lay down in there!! They had these individual "bed" type things with white tulle hanging from the ceiling, making like little tents. There was a white noise machine, cool air blowing through, light up headboards with LED lights that changed colors and patterns, LED lights in the ceiling to focus on and floor to ceiling bubble tubes with a very calming bubbly sound as bubbles traveled up and down the tube and the tubes changed colors softly. It was a great room! Rory laid down in one pod and focused on the bubbler for a while, doing her angel wings.

We are thinking about investing in a lot of those things to help her calm down at night or when she gets worked up...

All in all, it was a great session! I'm thrilled with Angela and grateful to have someone who takes us seriously and is willling to work through so much with us now. She specifically said we need to amp up our anti-anxiety efforts after Christmas in preparation for Kindergarten, which I. Definitely. Agree. With.

Another day closer towards Rory leading a normal life...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Notice anything?

Notice anything new around these parts?? Yep! I changed my blog design and name...I was 567Kate for the first bit of my blogging career. Then life and family happened and I needed a change. That's where Dancing in the Minefields came in. But lately...I've been in such a different place in my life and wanted to go back to my roots...

Thanks to the delightful Jenn over at Munchkinland Designs my blog is EXACTLY how I want it to look. A happy blend of bright colors and sparkle. She really is the best, I can't recommend her highly enough. Also I'm really proud of her for adjusting her schedule to make sure it's family first then work. I'm working on this myself lately so I'm always happy to see other business women leading the way! :)

That all being said, I'm back in the blog world. I'm going to be posting as regularly as life will allow. I'm going to try and grow my blog, maybe even turn it in to a little happy place for people. I'm in a good place right now, a better place than I've been in in months and I want to share! :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rimmel London StayMatte Foundation

Are you all a part of Influenster?! You are totally missing out if you aren't!! From time to time, you will get products to try and review. I've had some really wacky stuff and some really great stuff. Until recently, the best thing I'd received was a full 1 second temporal thermometer for my kids. All I had to do was use it and fill out a survey...didn't even pay shipping. WIN!!!

Well a few days ago, I got sent Rimmel London's new Stay Matte Foundation to try out.

I'll admit, I was little skeptical. I'm pretty true to my BeautiControl Wet/Dry Foundation. But this Stay Matte was pretty good!!

I had some gnarly mommy acne right now and it covered quite a few of my red areas without concealer underneath and stayed that way for a better part of the day. It was very light on my face and only seemed to crease or look "splotchy" under my eyes, which is always a problem area for me. I have chronic dark circles under my eyes...thanks kids. ;) It applied very evenly and easily with my regular old drug store makeup wedge and washed off easily at the end of the day. I'd give this foundation a 4.5 out of 5! Definitely a great "bang for your buck" product!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Finding Grace.

"Lord grant me grace" is probably my most common prayer.

When R & T are running amok around my house, screaming and destroying things, in the name of play...grant me grace to see them as creative, growing little beings.

When R & T are fighting like cats and dogs, grant me grace to stay calm and see things clearly.

When Dave is driving me bonkers, grant me grace to see my own cranky attitude and not lash out.

When my students won't be quiet and seem to have 12,000 things to share in class, grant me grace to respond with caring and love, since that's all they really need.

When the bills pile up and the tuition is not coming in, grant me grace to be patient and rest in the Lord's provision.

When my house is up-dumped at the end of the day, when there's 10 chores that need done at the end of my long work day when all I need is my bed and Grey's Anatomy, grant me grace to see my house with gratitude.

I'm trying. So much of my life seems to be backwards right now, but I'm trying. I'm seeking grace and wisdom and some days, that's as good as it gets.