Change of Pace

With a whirlwind trip up to north Florida (Tallahassee and Pensacola) over the weekend and no school yesterday for Labor Day (woo hoo!), I had some time to get caught up on reading for the week so I’m finally feeling like I am prepared for the week of work and classes!  While my Monday was not so productive this week, it was nice to have a little time to spend with my husband and our four-legged child, Penny, getting stuff done around the house and watching the NOLES win!!

Completely lazy and spoiled.

Completely lazy and spoiled.

I also received some sad news today about a friend from the area who went missing yesterday on a fishing/diving trip and was found today by a search team of the coast guard and some of his friends who aided in the search.  Ryan Meyers was quite a character and made everyone smile.  His sister Taylor and the rest of the Meyers family are in my thoughts and prayers during this impossible time.  <3

My opportunity for a change of pace and loss of a friend have definitely helped me to put things into perspective as I work through my crazy-long list of responsibilities for the day.  I’m reminded to take time to enjoy relaxing and am looking forward to spending time with some of my family to celebrate birthdays this weekend and also visit my favorite speechies to celebrate baby CB!!!

Positively Productive Monday

I’ve made it through the first week of all my classes (woo hoo!!) and met some pretty great people in my cohort.  It’s going to be a very BUSY three years…

So far, there is a TON of reading to do, I’m talking 2-4 chapters in text books per week for each class (right now I’m taking two classes).  This is pretty much what my weekend looked like:

So much for Sunday Funday...

So much for Sunday Funday…

I still need to read 3 chapters and write a paper before Thursday, so I have decided that instead of feeling stressed and having a case of the Mondays – my only choice is to make every possible minute of the day productive.  So every Monday, I’m going to post about increasing productivity, motivation, and anything else I can think of to get it all done!

For today, I felt very accomplished by everything that I was able to do BEFORE I got to work at 8:00:

  • make my breakfast and lunch for the road
  • go to the gym and do some cardio WHILE reading 2 chapters in a book for my class tonight
  • get ready for work (anyone who knows me knows that this takes me FOREVER)
  • get blood drawn for my annual physical (anyone who knows me well knows that it’s a huge accomplishment that I didn’t pass out doing this!!)
  • catching up with a colleague I saw in the parking lot at LabCorp
  • going by Starbucks to reward myself for not passing out with a delicious green tea
  • filling up my tank of a car with gas
  • walking into my office with 3 minutes to spare!

Phew!  The pace of my day has pretty much not slowed down one bit with a lengthy CF observation, school visit, MANY emails to return, and several projects to start/finish.

Luckily, I love my job and am looking forward to everything I have on my plate for tomorrow because I will clearly not have much time for breathing over the next few days.  I’m headed out to drive to UCF now – I hope that everyone is ready to have a wonderful week!!

Post in the comments any tips you have to help me out in my quest to be positively productive!


I’m Back!!! And going to be a….

It’s been almost a year since my last post (eeeek!), I have had a guilty conscience about abandoning my fun blog project but have struggled with what to write about/focus on/etc.  Since I’m adding another puzzle piece to my already busy puzzle of a life, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to try this thing again!!

I am starting a doctorate program at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Educational Leadership on Monday!

A few things that are a little surprising about this:

  • I am a Speech-Language Pathologist and have never gone to school in any kind of College of Education
  • I am a Florida State Seminole.  Like a – bleed Garnet and Gold, sing the fight song, do the chop to strangers, go to Tallahassee whenever I can - NOLE.
  • I have a pretty busy job during the day and a couple of part-time jobs I participate in during evenings/weekends.

Why do I want to do this?  It’s really the most logical step in my school district-based SLP position and will open a lot of doors for me in the future.

I had my Orientation at UCF this evening with my cohort and could not possibly be more excited to start on this journey with the impressive group of professionals in my cohort and our FANTASTIC professors.  The program will take 3 years to complete and I’m really looking forward to learning and bringing my perspective to my classmates/professors.

So, I’m going to be a DOCTOR!!  Pretty cool.  I will be sharing my thoughts on this new endeavor and everything else in my life on this blog and we’ll see where this next step takes me!!1005320_10103385283371833_1160707914_n

Crafty Tuesday

Finally getting a few minutes to do a new post!  The past week has been a fun week at work – I’ve gotten to see a lot of my favorite speechies out at their schools and am enjoying getting back into my routine, albeit crazy and a little busy!

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the monogram I ordered from Southern Proper Monograms (read that post HERE) and I was so excited to get it in the mail late last week!

It was packaged in a good-sized box and wrapped very well in paper to protect it – the wood is kind of thin and delicate.  My plan to use this beautiful monogram was to put it on a canvas and paint the whole thing one color (easy enough!) to put on a shelf in our dining room.  I planned to use the best glue ever (super toxic, but works on everything) to attach the wood monogram to the canvas.

I decided to go with a gray paint color, since it’s all the rage right now.  Most of our furniture is black, so I felt like it tied together all the colorful paintings on the wall into the furniture and I mixed black and white acrylic paint to get exactly the color I wanted.

Then, after the glue dried for a little while, I painted the whole thing. Note: it may be easier to paint the canvas first and THEN paint the monogram once you glue it on, it was a little tough to get in all the nooks and crannies of the script font used for the monogram.

All done!  This was a pretty easy one, but I’m definitely happy with how it looks on the wall with everything.  

I also made the pieces with song lyrics, read more HERE.  Is anyone else feeling this monogram trend?  I love monograms (we had ours all over our wedding almost 5 years ago) and I’m super excited that it’s easier to get a variety of different monograms in such fantastic fonts right now!

Crafty Tuesday

Well, I’m officially back to work and it has been an INSANE two days so far!  All of my craft projects have come to a screeching halt, but luckily I was able to start one over the weekend that I’ve been itching to do for a while.  We have one of those classic cheapo wood tables in our breakfast nook that we bought from a Teaching Assistant that my husband had in college (random coincidence) for super cheap:

I’m not a huge fan of this little set, but don’t really want to spend money on anything new… So, I turned to Pinterest and found this blog detailing instructions for a really cute table refinish.  I then spent a long time trying to determine if I wanted to order a stencil like she did or tape out a design myself and I decided to go for the stencil.  I probably could have gone for something a little easier and created my own stencil, but I wanted it to look semi-professional and I didn’t want to mess it up!  So I ordered the Turkish Tulip stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.  You can order most stencils in a small craft size or what they call an all over size (great for stenciling a large area, like a wall) it arrived pretty quickly, was packaged with HELPFUL instructions.  Theses are the stencils you receive with the all over stencil purchase:

Next, I bought some supplies.  For the stenciling, I bought white acrylic craft paint.  I work with this paint all the time so I felt comfortable with this because I know the consistency, coverage, and how long it takes to dry.  I also bought a small foam roller which worked perfectly for the stencil along with sand paper in medium and fine consistency.  After that I started sanding:

This only took a few minutes, but be careful not to miss any spots because then you won’t be able to stain the table evenly later.  After sanding, I wiped the table down with a wet paper towel to get off any excess sanding dust.  Then I got the stencil ready!  I set it on an angle, taped it down using blue painter’s tape, then started rolling the paint onto the table. Surprisingly, it worked without any problems!  

That’s obviously not the best picture, but it kind of gives you an idea of the process.  The instructions suggested that you could immediately place the stencil and complete the next section of your project, but luckily I did not do this because there was some paint on the underside of the stencil.  So, between sections I let the stencil and the paint on the table dry for 10 minutes or so and had no problem placing the stencil right on top of previously stenciled sections.  Here’s the finished product of the stenciled tabletop:

I still need to stain the table and then I’m planning to paint the legs/chairs, so look out for Part 2 of this project (when I have a little time to breathe and complete it!)

Back to School!

There’s always something great about a new school year!  The hope for a year better than last year, anticipation of new challenges, fresh ideas and friendships with new people, and the initiation of another countdown to summer all make it just a little bit harder to fall asleep the night before I go back to work.

I have a lot of great things planned for the Speech and Language Pathologists in my county this year and I hope that it’s going to be an amazing school year!  I’m looking forward to sharing some of these fun things on Read My Lips, so stay tuned for all things Speech-Language, DIY, and random thoughts-related.

Good luck to all of my coworkers and friends as we start another fun-filled 196 days of work.  See you next June, summer vacation!



Crafty Tuesday

I’m staying in the Clearwater/Largo area tonight for the conference where I’m presenting tomorrow and got to venture out to the boardwalk at John’s Pass for dinner and some shopping earlier. The beach is beautiful here and I’m so excited to get out of town for a minute since I’m officially back to work next week!!!

For Crafty Tuesday, I want to share this great website I saw on Pinterest where you can customize and order initials or monograms Ina variety of sizes. I ordered one earlier this week for a project I’m working on and can’t WAIT to get it (it takes a few weeks). Check them out here: Souther Proper Monograms

These would definitely make a wonderful wedding or baby gift or you can customize them to fit your decor with paint, fabric, stain, etc. Love!!!


The Social Express

In preparation for a presentation I am doing with one of my fabulous co-workers at the PEPSA Autism Summer Institute next week, I was researching the latest and greatest iPad apps to share with our potential audience when I stumbled across an amazing (albeit expensive) app called The Social Express (also available as a computer program or an iPhone app).

More information is available here, but what really caught my attention were the screen shots which lead me to believe this app targets some theory of mind skills (the ability to understand meanings behind thoughts/feelings and that others have thoughts/feelings that are different from mine) which is typically an area of deficit for people on with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and very difficult to find activities to target.

Additionally, the description of this app lists that the core concepts addressed are based on the Social Thinking curriculum by Michelle Garcia Winner, who I was lucky enough to see present in January.  Her research and the many resources on her website are wonderful for working with any children or adults with ASD.

Has anyone had any experience with this app?  It looks like a great therapy tool, but not something that I want to shell out almost $100 for!  Maybe I can write a grant???

Scope of Practice

I have had somewhat of a rough day (well, week) as a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Yes, it’s still summer, but between working for the district with little to no pay to complete various tasks and working with some of my private clients, let’s just say I’m thrilled that I am going to the doctor and getting my hair cut tomorrow instead of being physically abused by clients, celebrating “poop in the potty” for children that are not mine, and catching a vomited grilled cheese sandwich with a paper towel just in time for it to not end up in my lap!

In talking with one of my SLP friends and mentors today, I feel like there were MANY things that we were not warned about in our noble journey to become SLPs that would have been nice to know.  I have an entire list that I call “Things I Never Thought Would Happen in My Job as an SLP”.  One of the things near the top of this list includes one of my former students (who shares his name with an infamous pop star), disintegrating a marshmallow heart from his lucky charms on a particularly rough morning when I was accompanying him to breakfast at school and telling me that he was “crushing my heart”.  Another fun day included the student who was embodying the X-Men mutant made famous by Hugh Jackman by placing pencils between his knuckles during the FCAT and then warning me that I should be careful because he was known to get angry, very angry (I think there was some confusion between Wolverine and The Incredible Hulk going on…).

I have many more stories that I’ll be sure to share in the future, but this sparks my quest to let family, friends, and others know what I actually do all day.  The best way to describe this is that I teach people to communicate.  It’s amazing to be able to meet a child who does not know how to talk due to whatever deficit or disability and to work with that child and his/her parents or teachers to teach them to use our verbal or nonverbal language to express their needs, thoughts, and feelings.  Many people think that SLPs can only help one fix their articulation (i.e. lisps, inability to produce /r/, etc.) and that’s part of what we do, but it’s usually the easiest part.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has plenty of information on our scope of practice here.  But a good breakdown is “The Big 9″ that we are required to become proficient in working with during graduate school through clinical experiences, coursework, and the dreaded Praxis exam:

  • Articulation (the way that people produce speech sounds, what most people think we do)
  • Fluency (the forward flow of speech, people who stutter experience a fluency disorder)
  • Voice & Resonance (respiration, phonation, vocal quality and use)
  • Receptive & Expressive Language
  • Hearing (includes the impact of hearing deficits on speech and language)
  • Swallowing (definitely where we get the most dirty jokes, but very important to eating in the oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal phases of food/beverage consumption to avoid aspiration pneumonia!)
  • Cognition (attention, memory, problem-solving, executive functioning)
  • Social (social skills, functions of communication, challenging behaviors)
  • Communication Modalities (includes verbal communication but also assistive technology and augmentative communication devices)

It is wonderful to have learned about so many ways to help people, considering most SLPs go into the profession because they want to help people in one way or another.  It’s kind of a shock to the system of everything that we learn as SLPs to to work in a school setting and constantly be referred to as the “Speech Teacher” or to have students and other professionals view you as an assistant (it cracks me up when students say, “So, when are you going to become a REAL teacher?”).  One of my favorites, Jenn, has an amazing blog in which she recently posed the question to SLPs asking how they handle being called the “Speech Teacher” when we are so very different from all of the fantastic general education teachers I have worked with (you can read her blog here).

For any of my speechies out there, why did you become an SLP?  What is your BEST “Things I Never Thought Would Happen in my Job as an SLP” story?

Crafty Tuesday

New theme for Tuesdays on the Read My Lips blog!  I will now either share a craft project I’ve been working on, share something one of my fabulous friends has done, or something I think is terrific from the internet.  I love making things and it’s a great creative outlet that doesn’t typically involve any of my many jobs, so it’s nice to have a break from all things speechie- or wedding-related.  So, anyone who has a project they would like me to feature on my blog, email me with information and photos to

I finally finished my Pinterest-inspired project with canvas/paint/letters!  It was super fun and pretty easy.  There were several steps in the process and I have some tips for anyone who wants to try it!

The first step is to choose what you want the canvases to say.  I went with lyrics from some of our favorite songs because I love quotes and we love music!  Can you guess which songs I used (title and artist)?

  • Celebrate we will, for life is short but sweet for certain
  • How sweet it is
  • I know she loves the sunrise
  • Love love me do
  • What  a beautiful mess

Then I had to decide what I would use for the background for each canvas.  I decided on pages from a favorite book of ours (I felt so naughty ripping out book pages!), sheet music from one of the songs, a photo collage, and pictures I found online of tulips as well as an Antiguan sunrise.

I used clear school glue to attach the backgrounds and canvases and tried to create some texture by crumpling or ripping up some of these items.  TIP: find some better glue that will attach all the nooks and crannies of the textured paper a little more effectively OR do not try to do any kind of texturing.  My ineffective glue and gluing techniques created the most problematic part of the project because when painting over the letters, it is difficult to avoid painting underneath the letter stickers when they are placed on an uneven surface.  Also, if you are using backgrounds that are on unfinished paper, paint over with a thick layer of Modge Podge so that the letter stickers don’t pull off the paper used for the background.

After the glue and/or Modge Podge are dry, it’s time to place the letters.  It’s better to use thicker, bigger letters because they will show more of the background and be easier to read on the final project.  But, I also really like the look of using a script-type font.  General rule of thumb, you can use script or skinny/small letters if you have a simple background and more contract between the background and paint color.  TIP: think about how you will arrange the canvases if you are doing a grouping before you decide where to place the letters and try to mix up your alignment styles.

Here are the canvases at various stages through these first steps:

Now it’s time to paint!  I used an acrylic paint and mixed white to change shades for canvases in the same color or mixed silver for canvases without texture to add a little dimension.  I also decided to do some dry brushing of the other colors (i.e. teal on red) and added some stenciling in other colors/shades (i.e. light teal) to tie everything together.  Once everything is COMPLETELY dry, you can pull off the letters!  This is the best part and a great activity to do while watching TV (it’s a little tedious, especially if you use skinny, script-like letters).

You’re almost done!  Now, just add one more good coat of Modge Podge, it kind of pulls the whole canvas together since it gives everything the same finish.  Then, put them up on the wall (I know this is sometimes the hardest step to finish, just commit and do it – you only need a hammer and nails/picture hangers and you can ALWAYS move them!).

Here are some close-ups and the finished product on the wall in our dining room:

Now who has suggestions for what I can put on that shelf???