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Light it up Blue!

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Light It Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd!

Autism Speaks hopes to raise awareness and show support to those affected by Autism with their Light It Up Blue campaign. World Autism Awareness Day takes place on April 2nd. Iconic landmarks and buildings around the world will be aglow with blue lights, including the Empire State Building, the New York Stock exchange, Niagara Falls, the Sydney Opera House, and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, just to name a few.

Check out the pictures and take the pledge here-

Click Here

Join us in helping shine a light on Autism, in order to raise awareness of this epidemic.

Buying the light bulbs to light it up blue!

Home Depot is a great place to buy your bulbs…$1 from the sale of every specially marked blue light bulb sold between March 15, 2012 – December 31, 2012 will be donated to Autism Speaks.  The entire month of April is Autism Awareness month, so our family uses the blue light bulbs all month long, in honor of our two sons diagnosed with autism. Seeing the blue lights around town can make a difference to families affected by this lifelong, incurable disorder. It certainly does to our family! Wearing blue clothing in April is another way to show support. The Autism Speaks website has some great items, such as shirts, baseball caps, and car magnets to purchase in order to raise awareness. Autism Speaks Website

There are also Light It Up Blue Campaign kits for homes, schools, and businesses. Light it up Blue

Just how widespread is the incidence of Autism? Check out these incredible statistics…

-More children will be diagnosed with Autism this year than with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes or pediatric AIDS combined!

-1 in 88 children are on the Autism spectrum.

– An estimated 1 out of 54 boys is diagnosed with Autism.

-Autism Spectrum Disorder affects an estimated 3 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide.

The prevalence of Autism is astounding, so chances are, you know of someone affected by it. As a parent, upon hearing those words, “Your child has Autism”, life will never be the same. It’s overwhelming. Experiencing different stages of grief is common. Seeing your child struggle is like having your heart broken again and again. The social and communication difficulties common in Autism can make families feel isolated and rejected. Playdates with typical children serve as painful reminders of what might have been without Autism.

Autism awareness is important for several reasons. Our society has a growing population of people on the Autism Spectrum that will require support. Awareness leads to earlier diagnosis in young children, which makes early intervention possible. Although Autism has no known cure, there are many types of therapy to help individuals on the spectrum. The earlier these are implemented, the better the outcome.

Research now suggests that children as young as 1-year-old can show signs of autism.

For a parent, these are the “red flags” that your child should be screened to ensure that he/she is on the right developmental path.

-No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter

-No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter

-No babbling by 12 months

-No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months

-No words by 16 months

-No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months

-Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

In our family’s case, everything seemed fine until around age 2. The odd symptoms that we noticed included lack of eye contact, lack of response when we called their names, spinning objects, hand flapping, and fixating on odd things, such as ceiling fans. Speech delays and stalling in language progress/vocabulary expansion were other concerns.

Social challenges, communication difficulties, and repetitive behaviors are the three components or cluster of symptoms that define Autism. In many cases, fine-motor/gross-motor skills are impaired. There are often sensory issues as well. We experience the world through our conscious senses-sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. There are also unconscious senses – proprioceptive (awareness of one’s body in space/ joints, muscles, and bones) and vestibular (balance and movement/inner ear) systems, which are often affected, leading to problems with sensory integration. Sensitivities to sounds, lights, and textures are common in cases of Autism. One’s perception is one’s reality, so all aspects of life are affected for these individuals. The world can be an overwhelming, confusing place for them.

Autism is so complex, with such an enormous amount of information to sift through, it’s impossible to do more than scratch the surface in one article. Autism has been an ever-present part of my life for the past 7 years now (my boys are 9 and 5 years old), and to be honest, it’s a lot to keep up with. At times, our family just does well to get through the day! There are plenty of resources out there though. Check us out on the TBB website, and send us your comments. I’d love to answer any questions/concerns and help in any way, if you are new to the Autism community. If I don’t have the answer, I probably know someone who does. Autism moms are a fierce, loyal bunch. The Autism community is a wonderful source of support for newly diagnosed families.

 

My hope is that patience,understanding, kindness, and acceptance will grow for families living with Autism. So please, Light It Up Blue on April 2nd and show your support!  Thanks!

 

 

Art

Rain and Fire in Sedona

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Ange Alex

A rainy day in Sedona? What are we going to do. Everything we have planned is outdoors. I am pretty sure that is why people come to Sedona, for the beautiful OUTDOOR activities, like hiking, biking, Jeep tours, viewing the red rocks and photography. 

What to do, what to do.

Oh, I know. I had the privilege of meeting some great artists that work in fire and glass! The perfect indoor activity when your outdoor plans are washed away!

The Melting Point in Sedona, conveniently located across the street for the Whole Foods (two birds with one stone, yeah!), is a group of artist focusing on creating and teaching others how to create as well.

When we entered the facilities, it was like entering a fine arts gallery. So many beautiful works of glass art. Jordan Ford is the general manager and one of the Artists. He came out of the workshop and told us the rules, then brought us into the fold. 

We were about to become glass blowers! 

Jordan had a love for the natural world from a very early age. He went on to study geology in college but that is when he discovered glass. He currently has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Earth Science/Geology and Visual Arts/Glassblowing.

Jordan says , “It’s the process of blowing glass that drives me. I find the physical act of making glass so overwhelmingly fascinating. I approach most of my work with a consideration for the more classical techniques – it’s the framework that I use as a jumping point for experimentation.”

Not only is Jordan incredibly talented, he is really personable and extremely funny. He made everyone in the room feel at ease and we all often irrupted in bouts of laughter.

Another artist that was helping us is Austin Littenberg. Austin became interested in the art of glass blowing at age 16 after watching a documentary. He spent over 12 years developing his craft and learning the technical precision needed to work at this level.

Austin views the many ways Art presents itself and is in tune with it all, and it shows.

Clearly these two artist love what they do, and I for one am grateful for their expertise and their willingness to show the world their art.

They worked with us to create a beautiful cactus, complete with three flowers, one for each kid, and a Sedona rock like base. We loved the patience they showed and the skill to make us feel at ease. We never felt like  we were about to do something we just couldn’t. It felt like we had been doing this before. That is the measure of a true instructor. 

Our work of art was complete and we left there feeling accomplished and quite honestly, amazing! 

Both Austin and Jordan have remarkable skills but also wonderful comedic timing. They were a absolutely pleasure to meet and I look forward to keeping up with their art in the future.

If you find yourself in Sedona and want to meet some really wonderful people, stop by The Melting Point and say hello! While you’re there, blow some glass!

How could I forget one of them most important things; They have a studio dog! Austin brings his sweet baby girl to work with him and she is an angel! We loved her! Make sure you give her some love when you visit!

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Family Fun

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Legends!

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Behold the living legends! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey brings the unbelievable to Children Of All Ages in an all-new show – – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS. Experience unimaginable family fun as amazing performers from around the globe perform awe-inspiring feats of daring, spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder to summon the mythical and the mysterious visions that have only existed in your imagination and now materialize before your eyes: the Unicorn, Pegasus and a Woolly the Mammoth! Join us for an unforgettable family night of legendary proportions at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS!

Free to all ticketholders, the All Access Pre-show allows circus fans to learn juggling and balancing skills, meet the performers of The Greatest Show On Earth, get autographs, take photos and enter to win a one-of-a-kind Pachyderm Painting.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS SM, playing Amway Center January 14-18, 2016. Save $4 off tickets using promo code 4MOM. Live tweet to us while you are there! @RinglingBros #BestGiftEver  @BackstageBeat

 

 

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NEW Children’s Museum of Atlanta Re-opens December 12!

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Families will soon experience more STEAM-style activities and exhibits when visiting the newly renovated Children’s Museum of Atlanta, which re-opens to the public on Saturday, December 12. This iconic downtown attraction, which has been busy renovating since August of this year, now features targeted science, technology, engineering, arts and math education programming woven through almost every aspect of the enhanced space. Whether children build and shoot their own rocket launcher in the new “Gateway to the World” exhibit or design their dream home in the enhanced “Tools for Solutions” exhibit, the increased focus on STEAM learning enables the Museum to further prepare young children to be problem solvers and lifelong learners.

We got a sneak preview this week and I can honestly say it was the most fun my kids have had in a long time! They amount of things there are to do is mind boggling!

One of our favorite areas was Tools for Solutions – This enhanced, multi-layered zone reaches all ages and explores the science of building through four learning environments: the giant ball machine, Built-It Lab, Construction House and City Blocks. Using six simple machines, visitors can move balls through the Museum’s beloved giant ball machine. Children can also learn how to use real tools and materials in the new Build-It Lab, which will feature building workshops and more. This lab will also house a “Maker Space” to empower young children to harness their own ideas to build inventions and artistic creations. The Construction House, designed to showcase what is “behind the walls,” features a solar panel and incorporates activities on how to attach make-believe wires, connect pipes and insulate walls. City Blocks enables children to create skyscrapers and design the city of the future. Through this revitalized exhibit space, children can hone early and more complex math skills, as they learn the importance of processes and sequencing. They also utilize creativity, social emotional and gross and fine motor skills, while discovering that even the most intricate problems can be solved step-by-step with a solid strategy and through the use of tools.

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