Deal of the Day: Disney Frozen Enchanting Elsa Dress

Today’s deal is the Disney Frozen Enchanting Dress – Elsa, size 4-6X for only $18.50 at Amazon, 7% off the original price! This beautiful dress is perfect for your aspiring little Elsa, especially at a time when Frozen items are hard to come by at reasonable prices! The bodice is decorated with glitter and the skirt features glittery snowflakes. Great idea for Halloween!
Deal of the Day: Disney Frozen Elsa Dress

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**Amazon prices are subject to change at any time. This pricing is valid as of the date and time of this posting.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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What I’ve Learned from Being the Mom of a Cochlear Implant User

As the one-year anniversary of my son’s first cochlear implant activation nears on September 9th, I am filled with emotions as I think of how far Trenton has come and the strides he’s made in his 2 1/2 years of life so far. Any mom who has a special needs child knows how emotional it can be to raise that child. I’ve learned throughout the process of multiple tests, a hearing aid trial, surgeries, and cochlear implant activations that I am growing right along with my son: mentally, emotionally, and every way in between. Here is what I’ve learned from being the mom of a CI child.

What I've Learned From Being the Mom of a Cochlear Implant User

The cochlear implant is an amazing technology.

I had heard of cochlear implants and knew a little about them before learning that Trenton was deaf. Was I an expert? Absolutely not. It took plenty of research and talking to my son’s doctors to really understand how they work. It wasn’t until my son had his first surgery and became activated that I really understood just how amazing these devices are (I mean HELLO! I can hook his “ears” up directly to his iPad or the TV for clearer sound!). Think of it like a messenger inside your child’s head, running from outside the ear to the brain to relay a message. It essentially is a robotic ear, much like a prosthetic limb, only it also communicates with the brain. I only understood the true awesomeness of this once I saw Trenton growing the ability to hear and understand sounds over time.

What I've Learned From Being the Mom of a Cochlear Implant User

I will become a pro at this eventually.

Learning about the cochlear implant is no joke. I’m still learning about and understanding all of the equipment, the extra cables that can be used with it, all the technicalities of his mapping appointments. It really is a learning process for parents just as much as it is for the child. Trenton’s audiologist has been great with making me understand that even many doctors don’t know as much about cochlear implants as we do. There is always something to learn and we will probably be learning throughout Trenton’s life as new upgrades become available, his brain adjusts to new sounds, and advances are made.

What I've Learned From Being the Mom of a Cochlear Implant User

Adults will stare because he looks “different”.

This is a tough one for me and always will be. Since my son has had his implants, I can’t remember one time I went to a store and didn’t get at least one stare at him. The really unsettling part is it’s mostly adults, not children, who do the staring. I understand that people are curious. Have a question? Ask away! That doesn’t bother me one bit. But staring at my child? Please don’t. Staring is something I expect from children, not adults who should be wise enough to open their mouths and ask a question to educate themselves. Unfortunately, in the past year I’ve only had 3 adults who have done that.

I will always have critics.

One of my biggest fears when deciding whether or not to implant Trenton was the backlash from the deaf community. Upon learning about Trenton’s deafness and the options available to us, I was approached by a deaf extended family member who urged us not to implant and got rather offended when I said it was something we were considering. After researching more, I found that many in the deaf community are not supporters of CIs, which really upset me. In no way did I want Trenton to feel unaccepted by the deaf community, and I struggled with this for a long time. Eventually I realized that no one could make this decision for us, and as his parents, we had to decide what was best for him. If we chose not to implant, some people might criticize us for not helping him in any way we could. Ultimately, I had to accept the fact that this decision was not to please others, it was to do what we felt was best for our child.

What I've Learned From Being the Mom of a Cochlear Implant User

I made the right choice for MY son.

And I’m convinced our choice was the right one for Trenton. This past year has been an incredible journey of ups and downs, but when I think about all of the milestones my son has reached and the opportunities we have given him, all I can feel is blessed. I know that we opened up the door for him to make his own decision later in life. If he chooses when he’s older to continue to wear his CIs, great. If he chooses not to and rely on American Sign Language as his main form of communication, I am completely fine with that too. In taking advantage of this amazing technology, I’m confident that we gave Trenton the best of both worlds and the power to make his own decision.

My child will develop and grow on his schedule.

I was so concerned that Trenton would be far behind other children his age because he wasn’t activated until he was 18 months old. Although he is behind in speech, he makes incredible progress all the time and excels in so many other areas. On top of being able to sign and understand over 50 ASL signs, he also recognizes and signs every letter of the alphabet and is currently learning shapes and colors. At 2 1/2 years old, this is pretty amazing to me. Due to his lack of hearing in his early life, his visual awareness is mind-boggling and his intelligence blows me away. He plays and learns just like any other child; he just can’t tell you that himself yet.

What I've Learned From Being the Mom of a Cochlear Implant User

My CI kid will continue to make me proud every day

I’m a firm believer that there is a very special bond between parents and special-needs children. Not that there is any stronger love for this child than your other children, but it’s different. It pulls you so close and makes you extraordinarily proud of every accomplishment they achieve. When Trenton makes a new noise or attempts to say a new word, it’s over-the-top exciting because I know what a huge step it is in his life and shows me that we made a good decision. Every “hearing” milestone Trenton reaches makes me one very proud mom. Showing him that I’m proud of him will hopefully give him the confidence to go out and be whoever he wants to be in life. For now, he is one amazing little man with “Super-Hero” ears!

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Why You Should Consider a Career in Social Work

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a sponsored post, meaning it has been compensated in exchange for being posted on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Social work has taken on an even more important role in the United States in recent decades as the nuclear family has continued to dissolve. Social workers help to fill critical gaps in individuals’ support networks created by any number of issues from drug use to divorce to mental illness. By working with individuals, families and communities, social workers help people to overcome the problems that they face in their day-to-day lives.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, social work is among the fastest growing professions in the United States, and the number of social workers in the country is predicted to rise by a quarter between 2010 and 2020. The rising interest in social work is the result of a combination of factors such as the positive image and increased awareness of social workers, individuals’ positive personal experiences with social workers and simply increased need for social work in American communities. Social workers must undergo extensive training in order to go into the field, including both college programs and supervised field work. Many universities offer programs in social work to help would-be social workers get their careers off the ground such as Case Western University.

Social workers are needed in a variety of settings due to the wide variety of work that they perform and are employed in hospitals, schools, prisons, adult care centers, the military and in many other institutions. Social workers may step in to assist individuals and communities with numerous issues, including those stemming from poverty, addiction, abuse, unemployment, divorce and many others. Some social workers receive specific training to become clinically trained social workers–the largest group of mental health professionals in the country with nearly 200,000 clinically trained social workers in the United States.

Social work offers an exciting career to those committed to making a difference in the lives of others. By providing the support individuals need in the most difficult moments of their lives and in their day-to-day problems, social workers fulfill a vital need in the American social ecosystem. Social work is a direct path for many to take a position of leadership and responsibility in their communities.

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Giving the Gift of Life Through Surrogacy

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Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a sponsored post, meaning it has been compensated in exchange for being posted on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Couples who have experienced difficulties with reproduction have opportunities to become parents through third-party reproduction technologies. Well-established companies, such as Growing Generations, offer surrogacy and egg donation programs for individuals who are looking to expand their families. Surrogates are gestational carriers for would-be parents. The embryos are implanted in the surrogate with the sperm and egg of the mother and father or with egg or sperm donors. The surrogate becomes pregnant, carries to full-term and delivers the infant on behalf of the parents. An egg or sperm donor is someone who previously contributes their DNA materials to an agency. The egg or sperm of donors can be implanted into a mother or a surrogate.

Rather than searching for the right person to participate in assisted reproduction techniques, surrogacy and egg donation agencies provide families with an organized step-by-step process. The surrogates or egg donors have detailed profiles, which include specific personality and genetic traits, and therefore, couples have options to review profiles and select the right one that best fits their goals. For instance, prospective parents can establish online accounts at GrowingGenerations.com and view potential matches. These types of agencies will oversee the procedures and help couples have children without experiencing obstacles in the process.

In addition to utilizing a systematic process for assisted reproduction, there are several benefits to beginning a family with children with the assistance of egg donor and surrogacy agencies. This process diminishes the likelihood that surrogates and donors will attempt to establish a connection with the children in the future. Individuals who contribute their services to an agency for the purpose of assisting couples with reproduction have been previously informed of the stipulations of their participation in these programs. Through informed consent, the participants may be required to forgo pursuing any potential associations with any prospective children that are born. The agency will also handle the process of implanting sperm or eggs in the mother or the surrogate, and trained medical professionals and physicians will facilitate the process to help ensure that the pregnancy is successful.

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