Friday, July 27, 2012

Almigal's First Blog

Almigal’s First Blog

Hi there, it's me...Almigal...and this is my very first blog.  (I am so excited!)
I want to ask you something...Do you know any kids that wear glasses?  How about hearing aids or coke-lee-ur implants? They are sort of like the same cause they are all helpers. Glasses help you to see and implants and hearing aids help you to hear.

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to wear implants or hearing aids (like Penelope and me)?
Well, let me tell's kind of cool cause I do get to pick my favorite color. (And you know what that is...cotton-candy pink...yaaaaay!) But they can be a pain when they hang from my ears when I'm upside down on the monkey bars. I'm also not crazy about taking them out at night.  (You know I don't like to miss a sound.)
Did you ever wonder what it's like to be "hard of hearing"?  (That's what grown-ups call it) Well, when I'm not wearing my "hearing devices" (another grown-up word) I can't hear a thing. (For real...not a thing!)
Try this...put on the TV, but turn off the sound.  Can you figure out what in the world they are talking about?  Well...that's how it is for me without my devices. (There's that big word again.)
Before I got my implants, some noises and voices sounded pretty weird to me. Other times I would hear every other word or I might hear you, but I couldn’t figure out where you were. Were you next to me or were you behind me?  Sometimes people would sound like their mouth was full of marbles (that’s gross). And when I first got my implants, everyone sounded like a robot. (That was fun for a little while, but then it got super annoying.)
I hear so much better now with my cochlear implants (see its really not that hard to say). Would you believe I can even hear rain?  (Penelope can hear rain with her hearing aids, but not me...I need my implants for that.)
And now I hear Lucy snoring. (She does that sometimes...does your dog ever snore?)
The good news is that everybody is cool is that?  (What fun would it be anyway if we were all the same?)
Well, thanks for reading my very first blog EVER...I hope they invite me again...this was fun.
It was nice to meet you and thank you for letting me talk about me.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Let's Hear it for Almigal!

I was recently given the opportunity to review the book Let's Hear It For Almigal which is a recent release from author Wendy Kupfer and illustrated by Tammie Lyon.   This book is a children's hardcover book and is so close to my heart.  Not because I know the author or illustrator but because it is about a little girl who has a hearing loss.  I, too, have a hearing loss.

Not everyone is privy to that information about me.  Only my closest friends and colleagues.  I have always had a hearing loss - I was treated with tubes in my ears when I was in kindergarten - but that didn't do anything to help my hearing.  I have what is commonly known as a "cookie bite" hearing loss which means that I can hear low tones and I can hear high frequencies but that "middle of the road" where most people speak?  Can't hear it.  Know what else?  I have hearing aides.  Yes.  Bionic ears.  And, I'm not even 40.  But, I didn't get the aides until my kids were 2 and 3.  Amazing.  If my BFF's former roommate (and now friend of mine!) wasn't an audiologist, I probably still wouldn't have them.  It took a lot of persuading to get me into these aides.

Now, I am on my second set (just got them last month!) and do not know what I would do without them.  I am still very self conscious about them because not many people are familiar with hearing loss as a disability that affects younger people.  I think the perception is of the old grandma or grandpa with hearing aides -- dead batteries, feedback, all kinds of things that can go wrong, but I really do think that most people think that only older people have hearing loss.  There are many people who have learned of my loss but still can not believe that I have it.  And the strange looks I get when they first see my aides if they were not aware of them?  As I said before, I am definitely very conscious of it but becoming less so as time goes on.  A recent conversation with Dr. Maegan helped me with that.  She doesn't think that people are looking at me funny or thinking less of me, but that they are simply intrigued by the aides -- just because they're curious.  In my heart, I know she's right but it's still feels weird for people to be checking my ears out.

My children are very familiar with my bionic ears.  As well, we used to have a deaf dog who we signed too.  Our dog, Sudz, was born deaf and was a great springboard for conversations about hearing loss.  I miss him terribly but we may soon foster another deaf Boxer pup since we're experienced in this disability in dogs.

On with the book - I loved Let's Hear It For Almigal for so many reasons.  The book was not only about what hearing loss is (for example Almigal couldn't hear her parents say "we love you" after tucking her in at night, even with her aides) but it explains, in kid terminology, what hearing aides are and what cochlear implants are as well.  It also tells how all of the kids in Almigal's class are different - one speaks a foreign language, one wears glasses, and yet another wears hearing aides just like she does.

I think these are the most important aspects of the book.  I believe that children should learn about what disabilities are out there.  I believe that their knowledge is the key to treating all kids equally.  Just because a child wears glasses or hearing aides does not mean that they're different, it just means that they need support to see or hear as well as others.  It doesn't make them any less smart, pretty or joyous.

The illustrations are beautiful as well.  Overall, the book is a winner.  I am pretty sure I'll be buying this book for presents during the upcoming holiday season. Even better?  5% of all sales go to support children with hearing loss.   

Please come back to the blog tomorrow to read a guest post by Almigal!

From the Publisher: 
Meet Almigal, a happy, spunky little girl with a big personality who feels unlucky because she can't hear everything she wants to hear. Almigal wants to hear "every single sound in the whole entire universe" - from the robins singing outside her bedroom window to the soft music during ballet class and her friend's teeny-tiny voice. But most of all, Almigal wants to hear her Mommy and Daddy whisper "We love you, Almigal!" when they tuck her into bed at night. Readers will rejoice with Almigal when a solution is found. Almigal's spirit and her cotton-candy pink cochlear implants will have everyone shouting "Let's Hear It For Almigal!" Endearing, lighthearted and informative, this book can be enjoyed by children with and without hearing loss.

Note:  I received a copy of this book from JKS Communications as well as a digital copy from in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to provide a positive review but I am pleased to do so.  No compensation was given to me for this book review. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Mountain Away

From the Publisher:
With nothing but brains, ambition and sheer nerve, Charlotte Hale built a career as a tough, do-anything-to-succeed real-estate developer. She’s at the top of that mountain...but her life is empty. Her friends are as grasping and insincere as she has become. Far worse, she’s alienated her family so completely that she’s totally lost touch with her only daughter.

One terrifying day, facing her own mortality, she realizes that her ambition has almost destroyed her chance at happiness.
So Charlotte vows to make amends, not simply with her considerable wealth, but by offering a hand instead of a handout. Putting in hours and energy instead of putting in an appearance. Opening her home and heart instead of her wallet.
With each wrenching, exhilarating decision, Charlotte finds that climbing a new mountain—one built on friendship, love and forgiveness—will teach her what it truly means to build a legacy.

What I thought:

LOVED, loved and loved  some more.  This is my first book by Emilie Richards and I will happily say that it sure won't be my last.  I could not put this book down and fell in love with each and every character -- Charlotte, her daughter, her husband, Harmony ... you'll see when you pick it up!!

It could, quite possibly, be a two box of tissue type of book depending on how you're feeling - but definitely a tear-jerker for the sentimental types out there (me included.)  A wonderful story of family, love lost and found, growing up and moving on.  While one of the main characters in this book is a pastor (a woman!) it is not overly inundated Christian beliefs, as some books can be.  There is just enough mention of God for reflection - which can be good for everyone! 

It is my pleasure to give this book a wonderful review here at Family, Scrapbooks and Coffee!!

One Mountain Away will release on July 31, 2012.  You can pre-order this book using the link below.  

DISCLAIMER:  This book was provided to me on behalf of the publisher via in exchange for my honest review.  I received no compensation for this review.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Or Forever Hold Your Peace

Last night I went to a friend's house and we were discussing the woes of life.  Next week we'll probably get to the fun stuff -- planning our (separate-boo!) trips to Disney, etc. -- but last night was simply kvetch night, with a little bit of scrapbooking thrown in for good measure.

But, our conversations reminded me a bit of a book that I was able to read a few weeks ago, "Or Forever Hold Your Peace", the newest release by author Heather Muzik.  This is the blurb from Amazon about it ...

Does loyalty trump everything?

When friends reunite in Atlantic City for the tenth wedding anniversary of two of their own, the summer sun isn’t the only thing that’s heated. Old perceptions die hard, and after a separation and almost-divorce, not everyone feels this is a marriage worth celebrating.

Over the course of one long weekend, friendships, relationships, and marriages are tested as secrets begin to surface…. In the end, these friends will have to face the truth about themselves and each other… or forever hold their peace.
This book was really a lot of fun.  The characters were well developed and each character took turns telling their version of the weekend at the Jersey Shore, Atlantic City style (not MTV's Jersey Shore!)  A little confusing at first, because sometimes I don't pay attention to chapter headings, but once I caught on, I was on board full throttle.  As were some of the friends that weekend.  LOL

They characters were fun, witty, and even romantic with your typical jerks thrown in for good measure. I loved their adventures and escapades during their weekend in Atlantic City!  Being from NJ, I could totally picture some of the events as they took place.

My favorite character was Sistle who is newly divorced but whose ex is at the reunion too because he is friends with the "groom" and Sistle is the sister of the "bride".  Who will be your favorite?  Maybe some will love the hunky British guy Hendrick?   Or do tend to side more with the jerky boys?  You'll have to read it to find out ... and come back to let me know.

I think that Or Forever Hold Your Peace is an excellent choice for your next summer read.  Easy, fun and hard to put down. 

And for today?  If you have a Kindle, you can pick it up for free!!  How's that for a great summer treat?