Tag Archives: Home School

Props To The Old Man In The Car

Deep breath… wow has this week felt never-ending. I wonder why when things happen they continually seem to happen all at once. I cannot remember having a calm moment in months. This week started with me pushing Daniel to do 8 hours of school on Sunday. Yeah, it happened and it was rough. Then, I had to push him Monday and Tuesday in order for him to complete all of his lessons by the designated date. He did it! He did not complete his last two portfolios in their entirety, but he did most of it.

He was exhausted and hit his limits.

He still did his OT, Speech, and reading helps classes. (With a couple hiccups) He was sad that he would not see his teachers and therapists. He does not really know how to process summer break. We hope to get the same therapists next year, but it is not set in stone. It would be very beneficial to his progress if he did. Everyone knows this, but things happen so we just have to wait and see. He will have his Special Ed teacher next year. Yay! She is working on trying to set up Joshua’s assessments  and accommodations too. I am thankful that I know her and she understands where I am coming from. It would be wonderful if Joshua were to get the teacher that Ariel and Daniel had this year for his second grade year.

It would help him because he has met her and ME because she already knows me and I know her.

I am already feeling anxiety about meeting Ariel and Daniel’s new teacher next year. I really hope I can connect to them. However, I am a little freaked out wondering if it will be a man. A man!? Then, I think maybe that would work out better I do tend to get along with men better, BUT what if he is a man that I cannot relate to and he does not understand the needs of my children and he won’t listen to me because I am a woman and he has a voice that gets on my nerves AND he thinks he knows everything in the entire world and and… AND what if it is a woman who is like that and what if she does not understand the struggles my children have and will not listen to me because she does not like me and…

I will stop with the “ands.”

Thursday was the last day of school and my mind hopped on the “new teacher” anxiety train. I did it throughout my entire school career why not do it with my kids too. 😉 OK! We made it through to Tuesday pretty well. On Wednesday, I still had to squeeze five hours of school out of everybody. I managed it, barely. (Same thing for Thursday these kiddos were tired, me too.) However, on Wednesday I scheduled a dentist appointment for all three of them. I know, what was I thinking? That is another post. It went well for the most part.

I planned to have a nice calm day on Thursday.

Um, nope. The floor decided to spew water all over the place leaving nice puddles for Joshua to fall on sliding down the kitchen floor like a Slip-n-Slide. He did not think it was fun. Wet clothes are never a good thing around here for us sensory sensitive folks. As I investigated the matter, I discovered that the kitchen pipe was leaking and it was under the floor causing water to come out through the seam at the base of the cabinets. I had already had a slight panic earlier that day because the owner’s (we rent) sister came by to look at the yard and the frog pond. We told everyone repeatedly that it was bad. We had asked several times for them to send someone out to take care of the landscaping (it’s in the lease) and each time they said someone would – no one came.

I was told NOT to touch the landscaping; we are to take care of the grass and leaves.

We have been trying, but the leaves are ridiculous because we basically live in a forest. The grass is looking good. I was nervous because even when nothing is my fault I take responsibility for it. I feel badly if something is wrong because I feel as though I am responsible for this house because I am living in it. I felt the same way with the kitchen pipe. The frog pond is a mess and we discovered that it was supposed to be covered. The cover is in the garage. No one told us and the gardener was supposed to put it on!

We are not responsible, but I still feel bad.

I felt anxiety about that and because of the anticipation of her coming. She DID NOT come at 8:30 am when her sister said that she would be here. With every minute that she was not here, the more anxious I got. Finally, I told David he had to talk to her. I was almost in tears at 8:49 am when she finally arrived. Then, we had to wait for a maintenance person to come and check out the kitchen. I could not think straight, my head was fuzzy, and I felt panicky and nervous until the guy arrived.

Thankfully, the kids had computer reading classes that they could do.

He discovered that the main kitchen pipe burst and he made plans to come the next morning. (I am getting to the old man part, hold on. I am sharing all of this because these factors contribute to Daniel’s response that I share later in this post.) He had to take out the pipes and replace them, turns out it had a slow leak from the time we have been here or before. I had to make unscheduled plans with the kids because well, it is just much better to take the kids out to do something than to try to explain every single what, why, where, when, how, so and so forth to Daniel. He would have been too anxious about everything going on. The noise and smells would have sent him to a massive meltdown.

I decided to take them to the park, have a picnic, and to the library.

We went to the park and a little boy tried and tried to make friends with Daniel. He asked him his name, and then asked me his name when Daniel would not answer him. I told Daniel to tell him his name and asked him if he wanted to play with the boy. Daniel said, “No, I don’t want to.” So I called for Ariel, but the boy did not want to play with her. I called for Joshua and they were a perfect fit. They played the entire time. Daniel was happy doing his thing – alone. Ariel was sad because she had no one to play with. I decided that she and I needed to play on the bars and the monkey bars.

There were groups of preschoolers coming in and out while we were there.

Daniel loved it because he likes to play with younger children and he LOVES babies. He is so cute to watch. He is very gentle and smiley with them. Another little girl who seemed about Ariel’s age came, she was very shy like Ariel. I decided that I would try to bridge the gap. The girl became comfortable talking to me, it helped that I was doing flips and hanging upside down off the bars. She and the other little kids thought I was the coolest mom. Daniel even started to participate by hanging on the bars and said, “Hey, mom look at me!”

After a little while, the girls took off to play among themselves.

000DRAFT-do-not-criticize-what-you-dont-understandI stayed back helping little kiddies get on the bars and swing back and forth. I thought to myself, I am very good at making friends for others, but not for myself. This has happened numerous times in my life. I have been able to connect people and they become friends then, after the connection it  seems my part is done. Just an interesting tidbit. 

We had our picnic and headed to a store so I could grab something to eat.

I did not have enough time to pack myself a lunch and I was starving. Everything went fine, but Daniel was showing signs of being overloaded. I managed to get him out to the car and that is when it happened. I stopped Daniel from going into the car first because Ariel and Joshua have their seats in the back. They needed to get in first; I had been telling him this all day and he kept forgetting.

When I did it this time, he lost it.

He started yelling at the top of his lungs, “I keep forgetting! I keep forgetting. Why do I keep forgetting?” I looked around not to see if there were people around, but because I was confused by his response. I did not understand why he would be so upset about forgetting something. (Of course, I did! I do that too.) As I looked around though I saw in the corner of my eye the old man sitting in his car right next to us, window down listening to the news on his radio. I ignored him, quickly hugged Daniel, and said, “It’s ok, we forget things sometimes. It is ok to forget.” He was banging his body into mine and then, he tried to pull away from me screaming a blood-curdling scream that ripped through my ears.

He would not get into the car.

He started crying, repeating, “Why do I forget? Why do I forget?” I continued to reassure him that it was ok and there was nothing wrong with forgetting and that there was nothing wrong with him. He did let me hug him and give him some deep pressure, which calmed him enough to get him into the car. When I got in, I asked him if I needed to take him home to have a break. He said, “NO! We are supposed to go to the library!” I told him that we could not go if he felt like that because it may be too much for him. I reminded him of how much we had done and that it was ok if we needed to go home for a break. He said that he was going to be fine and that he did not want to go home.

I buckled the kids, got out of the back, saw the old man, and said, “Sorry, for the screaming.”

I was sorry that it was so loud, I was not sorry for anything else. I must give some props to the man. He did a head nod, a little finger up move without a judgmental face or word. I got into the car took a deep breath, opened up my turkey wrap and off we went to the library. The library went great. A few moments of “almosts,” even though Daniel was tapped out he still wanted to stay. Ariel and Joshua were tired and really wanted to get home. Luckily, grandma was coming over to give me a break so when I told Daniel that she would be there soon he was ready to leave right away.

“Grandma with the white hair” trumps ALL things for Daniel.

I know I shared quite a bit in here, but I had a lot to process. These are outside sources that have affects on me (and the kids) inside my mind there is another whole perplexing and complicated world mixed with emotions, social, sensory, and whatnot. I was happy with the fact that yesterday I had no thought whatsoever about what another person might think, say, or do when Daniel was having a hard time. I am glad that I was able to understand his frustrations about forgetting. I was happy that I could help him and have the situation end with him feeling good about himself. I was VERY thankful that the old man just sat there.

His head nod, finger move, and nonjudgmental silence made me wish a lot more people would do just that.

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Learning About Frustrations

I was prompted to write this post several times throughout the last year. I have not because I was not sure how. (I am just going to go with it and provide resources at the end.) However, last night it came to the forefront of my mind again. I did write something almost a year ago about trying to help the kids understand and accept autism. Here is the post At Home Autism Acceptance. I have watched Ariel and Joshua begin to show signs of frustration with Daniel in the last few months. They are coming into a new awareness of themselves, as well as how they perceive what is going on around here. It has become an issue mostly because of school.

If Daniel is having a rough day, it can disrupt our entire school schedule.

It can cause Ariel and Joshua to lose their focus or motivation to continue through the day. I admit there are times when Daniel gets away with things that Ariel and Joshua are not allowed to. This is not on purpose it is based on understanding. Daniel is developmentally delayed emotionally and socially. He can understand academics, but the other things need to be explained in detail and concrete terms. Many times his frustrations come from being confused by their behaviors or what he deems as me “changing” things suddenly.

Every child is different.

I try to be as fair as possible, but the circumstances can be different and hard to explain to an eight year-old and a six year-old. It does cause me frustration too. It bothers me; at times, that Ariel and Joshua do miss out on things because I cannot take them alone. There is no way that I could take all three of them. The events would be too much for Daniel. I do my best to ensure they all get to experience new things and go places.

My main concern is about how they feel.

I am highly sensitive to the emotions of my children. I believe in part it is who I am as a person, but I also believe that it has to do with my upbringing. We keep open communication with everyone here. We say what we are feeling, if we know what we are feeling, and we all have the freedom to say, “I have no idea what I am feeling, I am just upset.” My kids are allowed to tell me when they think something is not fair. Express the reasons why they are upset with their siblings, David, or me.  We listen to them and we try to help explain things to them.

As I was growing up, I was not allowed to express my feelings.

When I was unable to explain what I was feeling I was made to feel foolish. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from family and others “You have to know what you are feeling.” My mom did not understand her feelings either. She expressed them through meltdowns or shutdowns. I learned how I was supposed to behave based on how my mom was acting. My dad did not share his emotions with me. Many times, I felt as though I never measured up, I would never be good enough, but on holidays, I would receive cards that said things about how much he loved me. It was hard for me to know what both my parents felt for me.

When I tried to talk to them about my emotions, as I got older, I was invalidated.

They did not listen to my feelings; I was simply told that I had it wrong. There is too much wrapped into that to go into here. Because of these happenings in my life, I encourage my kids to say what they are feeling. There have been times when what they perceived was completely wrong. They misunderstood tones, body language, looks, and situations. I make it a point to go back to them after something happens and ask them what they are feeling about it or if they want to talk about it. We talk after a meltdown, and discuss it because it is important that everyone feels heard.

It is important to me that they feel heard.

In recent days, there have been situations where Ariel is getting upset at things dealing with Daniel. She has always been a strong support for Daniel. She has also longed for a certain connection with him that many times is not there. They do connect in a different way, but it seems as though she is upset that he does not reciprocate in a way that she feels he should as her twin. I do not understand sibling connections, especially, with twins. She has voiced in the past that she does not understand why they are not like other twins. Then, she requested to have a baby sister. :-) (Um, no.)

She is confused and bothered that he is getting all of these therapies through the school.

She feels that it is unfair because she “needs them too.”  She has trouble with handwriting; she gets overloaded with her sensory processing, she shutdowns and does not know how to express herself sometimes. She feels that it is not right that he gets all of this help while she gets nothing. Joshua has these similar issues. I have been contemplating getting them evaluated, but at this point, I am not sure it is the best thing to do.

I have explained to her that I will take everything that I am doing with Daniel and apply it to her and Joshua.

She would prefer to have her OWN new teachers/therapists. One of the things that I make a point of doing is letting her and Joshua know that I understand they have difficulties too. I let them know that I am listening and that what they feel is of great value to me. I reassure them as much as I reassure Daniel. This does help most days. As long as I follow through on what I say I will change, or at least they are able to see that I am trying, their frustrations toward Daniel seem to lessen.

I know that it will continue throughout their life.

I know that this will be something that all of us will have to continue to stretch and grow. As long, as we, all understand that then, I think it can work out well. Some days I feel as though I ask a lot of Ariel and Joshua, but each of us are part of this family with our own quirks and issues. I explain the most important thing we can do as a family is to respect our challenges and try to focus on each others positive attributes. It is not easy some days, some weeks, but it is a work in progress. Family is made up of individuals with different needs, desires, and personalities. Learning to be open about our frustrations helps us to find better ways to communicate.

For Ariel, she has many outlets to express herself. 

She writes poetry, she paints, she draws, she reads, she writes stories; I give her the freedom to do that. I encourage her to take her frustrations and express them creatively because it helps her find her words to express them to me or David. Joshua seems to work out much of his frustrations with building Lego’s. He will get frustrated, feel like everything is unfair, but as long as he gets some alone time with David or me, he recovers quickly. He feels heard, goes, builds some awesome Lego thing, and is happy once again.

It is not the same for Ariel.

I do plan to take both her and Joshua to the psychologist that I am taking Daniel to for behavioral therapy. I already discussed with her my concerns about the issue of them having frustrations or other challenges that they may have as siblings. They need just as much validation and attention in their own ways as Daniel. In this house, we respect and enjoy our differences, but we also do not shy away from that fact that it is challenging. It is hard to balance, but we take it one day at a time.

Here are some resources I read that may help others too.

Coping Strategies for Siblings

Children with Disabilities: Understanding Sibling Issues

Taking Care of the “Other Kids:” A Friendly Reminder for Parents of Disabled and Non-disabled Kids

When A Sibling Is Disabled

Help for siblings of children with special needs

Siblings of children with special needs

Special Needs Siblings Have Special Needs, Too!

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Had To Share

We are taking our lunch break from school and I wanted to get this out before we got back to it. I am overwhelmed with some happy mommy moments. Several things have happened this morning. Daniel and I were doing his social studies lesson, and they asked how Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter have made an impact on the U.S. and the world. There were not a lot of details so I went in search of some things to try to break it down in terms he could understand. He was beginning to get frustrated. Finally, he said, “I do not understand.”

I asked, ” What do you not understand the question, or do you not understand what they did?”

He said, “I do not understand what they did.” The information given was about Habitat for Humanity and other issues dealing with people who were without. We ended up in a discussion about how some people are not able to work for various reasons, or do not have jobs, and cannot afford food or homes among other things. He was taken aback and sat thinking about this for a while. He then, needed me to explain the how’s and why’s of the situations. He was clearly upset and worried that others were going without anything. After I was able to get him to answer the question, which was, “They helped people get something.” (I am not sure he will get credit for that.) He said that he needed a break.

We have not talked about it since.

He is currently slowly driving me bonkers with loud claps and stomps. :-)  Wow! Just wow! That was a milestone for sure and I have no doubt that he will be asking me more questions in the near future. Another grand thing that happened was that Joshua was able to read and write all of his spelling words! They are doing short e words, and he read three decoder books for me – so exciting! Yay! This is truly a big deal since he has already had a very rough morning with him and Ariel getting into arguments over the semantics of the word “passing.” Ugh! They are currently in dispute over the way a Hero Factory guy is supposed to look. :-/ Ariel told me this morning that she had a poem in her head from last night.  I was a little teary-eyed when she shared her poem with me and then, requested that we put it up on her blog. (She also asked me to share it with her teacher.)

I will share her poem and picture here too.



Eyes look

Eyes see,

but some eyes

don’t see what is really happening to me.

Eyes glitter

Eyes look,

but the only eyes

that see my world are mine.

She also said, “I am writing this because I have a different world in my mind.”

She has not felt like putting anything on her blog in a while or like writing anything for several months. I was excited that she has her creativity juices flowing again. I was also very moved by her words. I got concerned about her writing, “don’t see what is really happening to me.” I asked her if that was good or bad. She explained to me that it was good because it is her world. She likes that she thinks differently, but that she also can see how she shares similarities with people with other things. It made me feel proud that she accepts herself and sees her differences in a positive way. She is deciding and defining parts of  her own identity and I think that is pure awesomeness! I wish I had been able to learn (keep and express) that at such an early age. I think that it is so awesome how she sees the world – how they all see the world.

Happy mom moments! 😀

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Hopeful Things

First thing, I want to say how impressed and thankful I am for the teachers at the virtual school we are enrolled in. They have been so helpful and patient with me. I mean really, anyone who can reply with ease and the “right” words to an email from me with the subject titled “I am freaking out” is impressive. :-)  (I cannot remember if those were my exact words, but I definitely said something about me freaking out.)

Now that we have completed three weeks, I am seeing hope. 

There are still days we struggle, lessons get behind and it can seem intolerable. Daniel and Joshua both need extra help with reading and Daniel needs a lot of time with word problems. If I take all of the words out and ask him directly, he knows the answer within seconds. It is a challenge since I have such a struggle with word problems as well. I think I may go in search of helps. Maybe Khan Academy or TED Ed has something. I am going to throw this out there and see if any other parents deal with the same struggles with reading/math problems and ask for help/ideas. Please let me know if you have any resources!

I have found different ways to help the boys. 

However, both of them differ and I am not sure how to help them retain words. If Daniel looks at a word, he has a problem saying/reading it. If I spell it for him aloud, he knows it immediately. For instance, I show him the word “good” he looks at it, rubs his eyes, begins to get frustrated, and wants to quit. He has refused to read most of the time. If I say, “Daniel what is this word?” while pointing to “good” and then say, “g-o-o-d” he can read it. You can guess how time consuming it is to get through a story. If I sound out each letter he gets it in a matter of seconds. Joshua cannot do that.

He does not get it when I spell words. 

It takes a while for him to connect the sounds. He mixes up sounds, and letters. He then, gets so tired, frustrated, and cranky. His teacher has already started him on several reading helps and she plans to have him evaluated for dyslexia. I have already voiced my concerns about that from the beginning. I believe he has some form of dyslexia and I have tried to each him from sites that help. I have him using Reading Eggs as well. I am very happy that his teacher has listened to me from the beginning and is giving me resources/ideas to help him. Last year, the boys were reading decoder books and Daniel would surprise me with reading words like electricity. It seems as though they have lost all of their reading skills from the few months of a break we took.

I feel that I must keep school all year round to help these guys retain their skills. 

We still worked on school stuff, but I did not spend as much reading to them, or having them try to read to me while I was packing up the home, preparing for the move, or in the month of July while I was getting us settled. It is clear that I need to stay consistent with them. They have not lost their math skills, or comprehension of science concepts, and seem to understand social studies as well. When it comes to phonics, writing complete sentences, grammar, and such it is hard to maintain. They all struggle with writing. However, Ariel has shown a huge improvement this week. She got a boost of excitement with learning because she tested at a third grade level for reading.

She is excited to be placed into a gifted class. 

It has given her this enthusiasm to learn ALL things once again. They are all doing well in their classes, but the boys are not enthusiastic at all. It is taking a lot to get them motivated to do anything. I am working on making it more fun now that I understand how everything flows, and I am not as anal as I was in the first two weeks. I felt like I had to do everything and then, got overwhelmed. It is getting smoother and I am finding our groove. It will still take some time. It has helped that I am able to let go of my “perfectionism” feelings in this area. It still creeps up, but I am able to see it and redirect my thoughts.

There are just so many positives with our school situation.

I cannot bombard my mind with perceived negatives. We are waiting for Daniel’s evaluations to start up it looks as if there will about 10 or more. I am feeling hopeful with these and feel that it will bring about some answers that I was not able to get from past evaluations. It helps tremendously that he is becoming so communicative. On Thursday, after school, we went over to visit my grandma. My dad had called and he had to pop into town to take my sister to the doctor and my niece to her first volley ball game. (She won! Yay!) He asked to come by for a little bit, but he had to head back home because he needed to work the next day. Daniel seemed fine, he was happy from visiting grandma and all the kids were overjoyed to see “Pap Paw.”

I think Daniel ended up being overwhelmed with excited anxiety. 

Then, he asked me if he could pour the noodles into the pot for dinner. When it was time, he was running around and I forgot. It triggered him into a meltdown. This was the first time my dad had witnessed a meltdown. Long story short, dad had to leave before Daniel was able to calm down. It took two hours, David, Ariel, and Joshua left to go to the store, while I was with Daniel. Daniel has voiced that he feels that David is angry with him all the time. He has a hard time feeling as if David likes him some times. When he is unable to control himself he feels as if people no longer love him, or they are upset with him. This is one of my traits – I thought that I had learned to do this, but now I think it may be predisposed, possibly.

Anyway, during his meltdown I laid him in his bed and sat next to him.

I am sharing this because I think it is important to share. He was beating his head, and was trying to hurt himself in other ways. This is new behavior. He stopped most of his self-harming behaviors years ago, but then they were directed toward me. I think that since I have set firm boundaries lately he does not know where else to direct the energy. I had a moment where I felt outside of my body and I was watching him. I could literally see in my mind a script running through his as he was pounding on his head.

He would at times hit his head and say, “Stop it!” repeatedly.  

I stopped him gently and tried to calm him asking, “Boo, can you tell me what you are thinking right now?” He said, “I don’t know” I continued to help him calm down, and said, “Ok, just try to tell me when you can.” After a few minutes, he was not completely calm, but he was able to say, “I did the wrong thing, I did the wrong thing.” With that, I was able to discover that he was upset because he tried to control himself, but could not and did not know how. He was worried that my dad and David were upset with him and did not love him. He told me that he wants to stop, but does not know how.

I can work with this. 

I know now at least a few negative scripts he has and what they can sound like. Things need to change in ways of helping him feel reassured even if he is doing behaviors that can be harmful to him or others. He gets very upset when he makes a mistake, or feels as if he has done something wrong. Such as, on Friday, he went to wash his hands in the kitchen sink and the faucet broke spraying all over him, and the kitchen. He came to me almost in tears because it broke and he thought he was at fault. I explained to him that it was an accident and he had nothing to do with it. I had to explain why it broke, how it broke, and let him know very directly that he did nothing wrong.

All of this is huge progress. 

I can find ways for him to redirect his energy, he just did that the other night. I can find positive helps before he tries to do that again. He has been asked to do a new curriculum, schedule, be more social, go to new places, talk on the phone with his teacher, sit through online classes twice a week, and adjust to a new environment all in the past two months. Hot dog! He is doing fabulous!

They all are really.

When I step back, I can see all of the changes and how hard they are trying – it amazes me. It gives me that “umph” to keep going. I want to add here as well that I had no idea how my dad would respond, I know that he would love Daniel no matter what, but I did not know what to expect. I texted him and let him know how Daniel felt. My dad texted back and told me to tell Daniel that he loved him and that he was not upset at all. I was so happy that my dad did that. I had words to validate to Daniel acceptance and reassurance instead of me just saying it.

There is so much that is good and I am squeezing onto those hopeful things. :-) 

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Greatest Day! And It’s Gone… (Then Back Again?)

Holy cow!! This week! After I wrote on Wednesday, I was so ecstatic to have one of the best school days on Thursday. We completed an entire day with everyone. Daniel was happy, proud when he completed his assignments, and even told me a couple of times, “I like school.” I was rather shocked by the whole thing, but it was an amazing day. We had plans to go visit my sister and niece to see their new house here, later in the day. I was able to convince Daniel to go by showing him their cool spiral stairs to a loft above the open living room/kitchen area. He got so excited and could not wait to go after looking at the pictures.

He did talk about it all day.

He was so excited that when I was getting ready he came in and said, “I cannot wait to see those stairs.” I asked him, “Are you excited to see Aunt B and Cousin K too?” He said, “Yes, I like to see them too.” He said it in a way as if it was a silly question because I should already know that. :-) We headed out and this is the part that is really starting to irk me. I got lost and confused again! Here I am in my own town, where I grew up for most of my life and I get lost, again? I know all of the nooks and crannies of this town. It is becoming extremely frustrating for me.

I am trying not to get upset with myself, but it makes no sense…

Until I put the pieces together. All of the changes are a lot, it had been a very tumultuous week, trying to establish a routine, learning this new curriculum, helping each child individually, seeing how much they are not conformed to regular school… that is another whole topic. I kept reminding myself that “it is the first week.” The FIRST WEEK, come on! Then, Daniel refused to let me drive over 10 miles per hour. I am not joking. I managed to make it to the entrance of my aunt’s neighborhood and parked the car and tried to call my sister.  I was so flustered and disoriented that I could not manage to get her number to work.

Finally, I called my aunt and she guided me until I was almost there.

I was right around the corner when my sister called to make sure everything was alright. I had gotten turned around again because I missed my turn talking to Daniel because I had gotten to 30 miles per hour and he started pointing at the road yelling, “Mama, mama, mama!” Which means too fast. Anything that looks remotely like a hill he does this with. We got there and it was an awesome time! The kids loved it. They played with their cousin up and down those stairs – they had a blast. My sister and I were able to talk too. It was very good, but we were there for several hours.

Though it was a fabulous time we should have left sooner.

The kids did not want to leave they were having so much fun, and I did not want to either – I was having fun too. However, I pushed us beyond our social capacity, we had a full school day, and we also had to go to the store. On our way leaving a storm came in and the sirens were going off. The sky was blackish green; by the time we got to the store it was raining so hard that we got very wet. We had to go to the store because I was out of some of Daniel’s staples and believe me it is far better to face a rain storm than to be out of any of his staple foods.

The kids did an awesome job.

We had the whole store to ourselves; it is a Fresh Market right by our house. As we were at the check out the rain was out of control, there was thunder and lightning, but I had to get them home because we had already missed our normal dinnertime. The check out girl offered to keep the kids while I went to get the car. This was the first time I felt comfortable enough to do so. I explained to the kids in detail what I was going to do and the girl looked at me oddly, I told her without a thought, “He is autistic and it is important he understands what is going on, and what I am doing.”

She got a look that seemed a bit terrified for a moment.

I noticed that after I said that she took extra precautions in watching him and staying with the kids. She even helped bring out the bags with an umbrella over the kids. I was a soaking wet mop! The cashier gets many props in my book and I believe I am going to write to the store about her. She was wonderful. The rest of the night went great; we were exhausted and went to bed. The next day started out great. Daniel completed his Language Arts assignment, but then something triggered him. I am not even sure what it was.

It turned into one of our top ten worst days ever.

It took everything out of all of us. We couldn’t complete school, but we tried all day. We took many breaks, I did not try to make Daniel do much – he had already put in enough time. I truly wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. Instead, we went outside in the back and played. I cleaned back there and they ran around playing basketball and just ran around and around. The evening was much better and I explained that we would have to do school work on Saturday since we had not finished. They were alright with that.

Yesterday ended up being another grand fabulous day.

In the morning the kids and I painted, Daniel even asked to paint with us. He was very busy walking the perimeter of the house with his handheld recorder so for him to stop and paint with us was a big deal. I will show pictures. Joshua said he painted the “Eye of Sauron” and Ariel drew a “Jelly fish that eats Yin Yang’s, and then gives birth.” She painted herself in the lower corner with Yin Yang wings. Daniel said, “I want to paint mine all yellow.” Then he said, “I want to paint another one all gold.” So he did. I have several paintings in the works – I am not sure how they will end up. One of them I am calling “Yin Yang Bubbles” at the moment, but I do not feel it is complete.

After that, Ariel and Joshua were able to complete all of their work and play Lego’s.

Daniel completed another assignment, writing a plan for visiting somewhere and taking a test for Language Arts. I had to let him type out the plan because he was just unable to write with a writing utensil and I did not want to push too hard when he was recovering from the day before. He was pushing himself trying to do school work the next day, and I wanted him to have a positive experience. I am very happy that he agreed to jump right in and try again. I do not know if the teacher will accept it, I explained a little in a note to her. In her welcome back video she mentioned how she believes that hand writing is very important and this will be a focus in her teaching.

Let me just say I am totally freaking out about how the words, phrases, and language structure of the test questions are!

I remember now why I got so upset in school. They make no sense! They are awkward and confusing, ugh! There is no flow or connection when you read them. All of the kids have gotten wrong answers to things they know because the questions make no sense, or get jumbled in awkwardness. I do not know how other kids know how to read those things, or the parents for that matter. Though I like the structure and the way the curriculum is set up, but it is very much public school based and my kid’s need to have it flow and connect in a much more cohesive way. The curriculum does tie in with each subject – it is hard to explain, it still feels choppy.

We are used to it being like a smooth ride, and this feels a bit jagged.

It will be up to me to help it get flowier. :-) Note to self: You just completed the first week! I do not know why, but I feel like it should all be going the “right” way. Awww! It is going the right way. We have accomplished so much this week. The kids have done an amazing job and I am so proud of them. They are proud of themselves too. Daniel was unable to complete the rest of his work yesterday and I told him that he would have to do it today because I do not want us to start Monday behind. He agreed as long as we could go outside and we went outside.

We played outside and had a blast.

We played in the trees, hide-and-seek, they ran and ran all over the yard while I tried to gather the huge limbs that have fallen because of recent storms. Our poor brittle trees are losing their limbs from the lack of rain this year. We had another great day yesterday and are planning to go to the Fortress of Fun today. We also have to go to the store so… I hope all goes well. I will try not to push it too much so we can start tomorrow off in a positive direction. When I write all of this out I see how great things have gone this week.

I want to keep all of the positives at the forefront of my mind.

I want to stop the thoughts that tell me that I am failing because of this or that, or feeling like I am not doing enough because the house is not up to my cleaning standards, and I still have laundry. Those ludicrous thoughts that tell me that I should be able to keep all of this up AND do school, and feed the kids, and go to the store, and, and, and, and. There is always something that needs to be done and I should be able to do it all. Those thoughts and that attitude can take me away from my kids. I am turning my thoughts into a new direction and just like yesterday and I am going to enjoy them. I am also working on trying to enjoy this new adventure with school, I know it will get so much better and we will find our way.

 Pictures! :-) (The lighting in the house was not good for these pictures. Bummer.)

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Could We Be Anymore Social?

I have had to take breaks from many online social outlets this week. I do not know how people do it. I do not know how they stay on read all kinds of things, comment, post, tweet, email, and continue in real life too. While, I am much better with online socialization, in the context of not having as much anxiety, stress, and able to read people without too much confusion for the most part – I still go into social overload.

Especially, when there are copious amounts of what feels like media stampedes. 

It feels like I am being assaulted from all sides with words, and images. It causes my brain to shutdown, and my soul to hurt. I have had to put into practice mindful thinking a lot this week. I have been sent into spirals about friendships, relationships in general, wondering about political agendas, personal agendas, people’s motives on a large scale, wondering what is productive, and counterproductive in society… humanity as a whole and how it still proves to be very similar to all of recorded history. Humans, myself included, can be quite the predictable creatures. (When it comes to certain patterns, but I do not feel like going into all of that.)


Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

I tried meditating… again and again…and again.

I think I got about five minutes in! Lol! I keep trying though. This week I watched two days of videos and took the review quizzes at the end for the kid’s virtual school. TWO DAYS! I could not stop, I just wanted to get through it and make sure I understood everything. I got upset when I missed several questions – I made it clear in their comments section that the wording of the questions and answers were hard to comprehend at times. I am not sure, if it was the way my brain read and interpreted the questions, or if they were actually written poorly.

Either way I missed some and I did not like that!

Apparently, there is going to be teacher calls with me and the children about every two weeks. There may be more interactions for Daniel once his IEP is set in place. They may offer services online, or send us somewhere close by for therapies. I have not spoken with his teacher yet, he will have a specific special needs staff handling that. I will be quite virtually social. The kids will be too. They will have live sessions with the teacher and other children. About 45 days into the school year clubs begin, and there are field trips along with other forms of opportunity for socializing. I will pick and chose what opportunities will fit us best.

The three boxes of curriculum arrived yesterday.

The kids and I were ecstatic! My grandma was here, (Speaking of social, yesterday was quite a social affair, I will share later.) and she said, “It’s like Christmas in July.” She had never seen kids get so excited over schoolbooks. Ariel wanted to start right away. Their first day of school is actually the day David leaves for several weeks. I think that is good because they will have something to focus on and we can start our new routine. We pulled out everything, made sure it was all there, and explored. It is familiar curriculum styles – I used many actual schoolbooks that I had found on Ebay for homeschooling.

The math curriculum is one that I wanted to start several years ago, but it was too expensive. 

We have Discovery Education through the school resources – free!! (Well our tax dollars are paying for much of this stuff, I am ok with that.) We wanted to get that several years ago too, but we just could not pull the funds. I still love Khan AcademyTed-Ed , and YouTube EDU – I plan on continuing to use them on a regular basis. Along with many other resources! Can you tell that I am a little excited? I read the school handbook, and I am now going over our state supplement for the handbook. Ok, I will stop before I go into complete details about all of the curriculum and the operating system that the school uses. Ariel already read her entire first reading book, and has started her second one – I am talking about her textbook. I told she is going to have to read it again and go in a much slower pace. She said she understood I hope she does not get annoyed with having to go slower and do the lessons.

My point, we are going to be more phone, and webcam social, as well as physically social. 

After several meltdowns/shutdowns from change, social overload, sensory overload, and emotional overload, we all seem to be moving in a calmer direction. We took some social time off last week – I still cannot get Daniel in the car. However, I will get him into the car this Sunday for a barbecue thing at my aunt’s house. My cousin is in town! He and several of my other cousins came over last night for a little while. I have not seen any of them for about five years. I am the oldest cousin so it was quite a treat to see them as grown men. One now married, the one visiting went into the Marines and has been doing an amazing job.

He is here for several days and then off to Japan in August for two years.

It is my aunts son, and I know she is both elated and heartbroken at the same time. There were six of them that came over last night, five of my cousins, (All guys ranging in age 13 to late 20’s, I believe, I am so bad with remembering age everyone looks the same age to me!)  And my Marine cousin’s girlfriend. She was in boot camp with him, if I recall correctly. I was excited and nervous I was anxious and happy. I enjoyed myself very much, the kids just ran. They ran all around the yard, while we stood outside and enjoyed the scenery – the AWESOME yard! So happy here, so happy. :-)  We have a tree swing too so of course; everyone had to try it out.

My one cousin said his wife bought him a trampoline and it has been the greatest thing. 

He mentioned that he has gone back to some childish behaviors like enjoying swings again, and his trampoline. I said, “I always engage in childish behaviors, and I do not care!” Lol! I think more adults should try to swing for a while, or get on a trampoline. I was very happy with how respectful they all were about coming over. My one cousin called a couple of days ahead of time to set up a good day to come over. Yesterday was agreed upon, but the time was still not set. I continued to prepare the kids, and talked to Daniel specifically. They were all feeling the same way I was, excited and anxious. It was a good thing having grandma here first because it helped alleviate some of the “anticipation anxiety.”

Then, when the curriculum arrived, that was a bonus distraction. 

I finally got the call for when they were coming, and at first, the plan had only been my two cousins, and the girlfriend, possibly my aunt. The plan changed to six of them, which included a couple more of my cousins. I was hesitant because of the change, and my cousin said, “If it is a problem I completely understand.” I only had to adjust my thoughts, and prepare the kids and myself. I told him it was no problem and to come on over. I am glad I did.

It is starting not to be such an intense emotional frenzy for me.

I am remembering that I do enjoy being around many of my family members, though I still need down time. I enjoy the diversity in my family’s beliefs as well, my Marine cousin is an Atheist, my married cousin is a Orthodox Christian, (I believe I have linked to the proper beliefs that he is following.) my other cousins are non-denominational Christian, and Baptist, or Methodist it has changed at some point.

We will see how Christmas goes. :-) 

Daniel helped himself all day yesterday with the anxiety by playing the iPad, (He and Ariel love this vectorpark.com on the computer and the iPad.) and playing with his hand recorder. I let them watch My Little Pony, (Any Bronies out there? :-)) and then we had fun with our new school stuff. So far, today is looking good. Although, Daniel is stomping around the house, to make noise, and walking the perimeter of the house because the iPad battery is charging. I am going to take them swimming later that should help all of us. We all love to be in the water!

In a way, I very excited about all of our new social adventures. 

I am happy that we are having actual physical encounters that have been very positive. Even with some of the things that have upset me with family, the overall experiences have been positive for the kids. (Even for me.) My sister got the house she wanted for her and my niece and will be moving out here in a few weeks. More social adventures awaiting us in the future. I am very thankful that my fears are not gripping and causing me panic attacks like they used to with all of this stuff. There was a long period after any social encounter, which I would talk about it for days. My mind would be in complete confusion, or I would fear that I had said or done something wrong. In reality, this has only gotten better in the last year. It heightened when I was not in many social situations.

It gets easier the more I am social – as long as I remember that, I cannot push my limits to the extreme.

I need breaks, and I need to prepare – the same goes for the kids. I realized just this morning that the longer I cut myself off from people virtually, or physically the more my mind gets confused by the relationship and I start to feel like they are going to leave me. I begin to read into things that simply are not true, and create negative loops trying to prepare for the pain so it will not hurt so much when it happens. I may have expressed this before – my brain does forget… well it takes many things to connect in my brain sometimes for me to finally grasp it. I do have many negative scripts for relationships. However, going back to mindfulness – I do not know enough about it being path of enlightenment in the Buddhism context – I think it is a good way of thinking for my brain. It seems to be a healthier way for me to think.

I am reading information about it on a regular basis. 

I find it very interesting and helpful. I see many positive things about it. My main goal has been to keep my loops under control and not fall into spinning negative thoughts. I know my patterns – when I am overloaded, I immediately start to see things that could or could not be happening. I lose my ability to discern properly, and I lose my understanding of how people feel about me. The relationship becomes confused for me, and I begin to think that they care nothing for me or they are done with me. I am stopping these loops by staying mindful and directing my thoughts and energy on positive and productive things. I need to feel like I am being productive with my thoughts, and time. If I do not I tend to start feeling purposeless. I am not sure how my more socially active life is going to affect me – at least I am gaining tools to handle my anxieties better.

School curriculum pictures!  


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Delirious! Mind Dump Post & Clouds, Of Course!

I would categorize my mood as delirious. However, no one get too concerned, I am only trying to help my brain get organized. Sometimes the best way is to go research the random thoughts that fill my mind. I have been utterly chaotic in my brain. I am disorganized, unable to focus, feeling my emotions fluctuate from one extreme to the next; I have not been able to sleep – as a matter-of-fact I do not want to. It feels like I am being forced by my own body to go get rest and I have so many things that are gyrating around in my neurons that I want to get them settled and organized.

I have been annoying myself with not being able to get on a schedule. 

My consumption of documentaries lately has gotten my brain into a thinking, connecting, wanting to fix everything in the world frenzy. The last few days I have been working on the kids schooling and loving it! I have been in a state of euphoria with learning the virtual system, reading through the curriculum, checking out the resources, learning about the school’s operations in great detail, and it has made me incredibly excited for school.

I cannot wait for it to start. 

I was a bit a put out when I started the orientation not knowing that it was HOURS of video watching and then, short quizzes afterward. Now, I appreciate what they have done. It only helps my confidence in the school, but I was thinking, “Seriously, someone does not know how to use a forum, or how to use email?” and we need a five to eight minute video with visuals and someone talking, as well as a quiz at the end. I quickly reminded myself that not many people adore the computer or internet as much as myself, or their jobs do not require these types of skill. Others may not even have a computer!

People forgive me, I forget sometimes, OK!

I admit I have rather enjoyed watching the videos and taking the quizzes because I am getting them all right. HA! Seriously, the whole operation going on is quite user friendly and very detailed. Yes, yes I am completely sidetracked. It all ties into my delirious state. I realized that I am feeling like this because school has been our life. The past three to four years straight have revolved around me planning school, and working with the kids all day long, all year long with school. I did not have strict regiments, but school was an all day affair. It was my focus and direction for all of these years.

I have felt lost not doing school.

I have felt in limbo for the past few months. I have not done any school with them since we got here because I have been unpacking, getting the house organized, cleaning, helping the children to adjust, dealing with all of our social and emotional meltdowns(shutdowns), I have been too overwhelmed to even think about coming up with school ideas. I have let us all relax and play outside, or stim on whatever we want to. AND it is making me delirious in the context of the word’s several definitions.

What made me think of this morning? 

I had been looking at old pictures of the kids when they were babies, and around two years old. I found lovely pictures of them and of the sky that I obsessed over with the video and digital camera while I was stuck in our three-story apartment by myself for most of the day. (Evenings as well about two nights a week.) The balcony had an amazing view, and the storms that rolled in created some of the most brilliant art pieces I have ever seen. The rainbows would take up the entire landscape and some nights I swear I could reach out and touch the moon.

They were my closest friends – they have been my whole life. 

As I looked through the billion pictures I had captured, my eyes filled with tears of joy and sorrow. So many emotions I cannot describe. The happiness of that time with the babies and nature, and the sadness of isolation and feeling so alone. As I sat there looking at the images all of the memories flooded me, both good and bad. My exhaustion and fears, my jollity that I had captured so many smiles from each of them. The hardwired personalities that I saw then that are now manifesting into word and actions with clarity.

I just got delirious with emotion. 

I have so many thoughts flooding my mind and I have so many posts that I want to write, but I cannot. My mind is chaotic and unable to filter into a clear message. Until I heard, this song  Delirious by Prince (This is the only version I can find.) flood my brain out of nowhere as I sat at my computer only a few moments ago.  Have I written this before? I am having déjà vu – yikes! We know what that means, right? Then, I thought of Eddie Murphy Delirious stand up show and thought, “What was my mom thinking letting me watch that?” Of course, we spent many a Saturday nights watching SNL so I can see where it would not be much of a stretch. I did not understand most of it anyway. I just really liked Steve Martin being King Tut and would do the whole skit for my audience, whether real or make-believe. :-)

Speaking of Steve, here he is with Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka Banjo HDTV The Crow. (Awesome) 

See I keep going off in all sorts of directions. My mind is linking and laughing, crying and hurting, singing and quiet, and trying to gain some sort of balance. Which led me to look up the word delirious, wondering if people or even myself truly understand the definition and comprehend the word’s meaning? Here we go…

de·lir·i·ous  (d-lîrs) adj.

1. Of, suffering from, or characteristic of delirium.

2. Marked by uncontrolled excitement or emotion; ecstatic: delirious joy; a crowd of delirious baseball fans

 delirious [dɪˈlɪrɪəs] adj

1. (Medicine / Pathology) affected with delirium

2. wildly excited, esp with joy or enthusiasm

Leading me to Delirium:  

Delirium or acute confusional state is a common and severe neuropsychiatric syndrome with core features of acute onset, meaning it has been present from hours to days, but not months or years. Delirium represents an organically caused decline from a previously-attained level of cognitive functioning. Delirium typically appears suddenly with a readily-identifiable time of onset, such as a time space of a few hours, or overnight. It is typified by fluctuating course, attentional deficits and generalized severe disorganization of behavior. It typically involves other cognitive deficits, changes in arousal (hyperactive, hypoactive, or mixed), perceptual deficits, altered sleep-wake cycle, and psychotic features such as hallucinations and delusions. Delirium itself is not a disease, but rather a clinical syndrome (a set of symptoms), which result from an underlying disease or new problem with mentation.


In common usage, delirium is often used to refer to drowsiness, disorientation, and hallucination. In broader medical terminology, however, a number of other symptoms, including a sudden inability to focus attention, and even (occasionally) sleeplessness and severe agitation and irritability, also define “delirium,” and hallucination, drowsiness, and disorientation are not required.

There are several medical definitions of delirium (including those in the DSM-IV and ICD-10). However, all include some core features.

The core features are:

  • Disturbance of consciousness (that is, reduced clarity of awareness of the environment, with reduced ability to focus, sustain, or shift attention)
  • Change in cognition (e.g., problem-solving impairment or memory impairment) or a perceptual disturbance
  • Onset of hours to days, and tendency to fluctuate.
  • Behaviour may be either overactive or underactive, sleep is often disturbed.
  • Thinking is slow and muddled but the content is often complex. [4]

Common features also tend to include:

Indeed by definition I would assess myself as being in a state of delirium. (without hallucinations and delusions… wait does déjà vu count? ) 

However, I am feeling deliriously free from negative thoughts, and limiting my intake of negativity, which is helping my brain to gain its proper and “normal” state, whatever that is. All I know is that I do not feel so sad, or helpless when in my brain’s proper state. :-)  I think I have gotten enough out to help me get back to a calmer mind. I enjoyed so much looking at my pictures. I am going to share some of them. I am sharing a few of the kids too, I only got up to Joshua being a few months old in my picture rounds – I had to start breakfast. I found a picture of my cat Alexa; she always made her head flat. I do not know why. She was a silly kitty. She looks kind of like a dragon. Click on the pictures to make them larger.

Hope you enjoy these photos! 

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Meltdown Mornings Turned To Productive Days

This past week everyone was off. All three of the kids were having their moments. Normally Ariel is quite calm, and able to get upset, stomp off to her room for a little quiet reading time, and relax. It normally works for her. It did work for the most part this week, but her temper was flaring. She got very upset at how Joshua spoke to her, and had random and sudden mood swings. Joshua was exhausted all week. I am not sure why. He was tired, cranky, speaking aggressively, not speaking and thinking that he had. He was then getting upset with all of us because we didn’t do what he wanted or answer him. Many times he did not tell us what he wanted. He got frustrated with Daniel and yelled at him on several occasions. He yelled at me. Then would shutdown completely. However, his spurt of anger would lead Daniel into a spurt of anger because Daniel was confused.

It didn’t help that I was confused too.

Joshua will usually go to his room on his own when he is like this. He knows that he needs to calm down. He did not this week, I had to tell him to go to his room on several occasions so he could calm down and we could talk. In the meantime I was trying to stop a complete meltdown from Daniel, or right in the middle of a wrestling match with him. And also trying to save his favorite toys because for some reason he wants to destroy the things he loves when he is angry. Then, thinks we should replace it after all has settled. Anyway… This was all out of the norm to have it happen every single morning this week with Joshua. He is normally a calm little guy, he is loud, authoritative speaking, and “right” all the time, but he is a gentle, sensitive, compassionate, and loving little guy. It was very much out of character. It was for Ariel too, she does correct the boys a lot, but this week it was off the charts and felt dictatorial though she did not mean it that way at all.

Everyone was confused by the others words and actions.

When Daniel is confused about social dynamics it is very hard to get him back to a calm state. He thinks that he has done something wrong, but he does not know what or why. He gets very upset because he feels like he hurt someone, or they hurt him on purpose. So familiar…I think helping him has helped me a great deal to see and understand this in myself. I just want to add how funny I think it is that every time I am learning a lesson about myself it seems to come in many different scenarios, for social confusion this week FB helped give me a nice dose, then it gave resources to clear it up.  I had people in real life confuse me completely with their words, and had to work through that. I had the kids go through it this week everyday. AND I found out that the autism symposium I have gone to for the past couple of years is all devoted to ASD and social vulnerabilities, effective ways to help with social skills, and research, those are a few.

I will be going by myself, and I am feeling pretty good about it. (For now, anxiety will come later.)

How was I able to bounce back and actually accomplish school this week? The grace of God. :-) I tend to shutdown after mornings filled with meltdowns. I allowed myself a little downtime, and then went back to it. No one wanted to do school this week. We were all spent after the mornings, but we had to do school. I decided to do school after lunch instead of the mornings. Some days we didn’t start until 2 pm. We managed to pack full school days into a couple of hours. Why? Because that is how we work. I do this a lot, I have days when I can consume large amounts of information and apply it rapidly. Other days I consume the information and it takes days, weeks, months, even years for me to see a connection, or apply it. It all clicked for me this week and it clicked for the kids. How did I win them over?

A mechanical bird and clocks!

We went over the story The Nightingale and we learned all about clocks. The idea came to me because we are using a book that goes through composers for each era. You read about them and it has a CD with a song from them so you listen to the music as well. (I use much more than the one song.) One composer we learned about was (Franz) Joseph Haydn when I saw the title “The Clock” (shortened) I thought that was it we will learn all about clocks, time, and some math concept. I decided to teach on symmetry because I could use a clock to show symmetry. It worked! Everyone got involved and we had a great time listening to music, writing poems, talking about how clocks work and learning how to tell time. I have been working on telling time with them for a while it finally clicked. They know how to tell time on a digital clock, but it didn’t make sense on an analog. I still have a hard time with that at times, I don’t know why.

Every day after meltdown madness, I reminded them that we were talking about clocks.

I would tell them about a cool new video I found, or a clock craft, or music, or an opera about The Nightingale, or poems that had clocks. Hickory Dickory Dock was able to deter a miscommunication meltdown one day. I felt like I had not really accomplished a lot because the days were shorter.  However, after I wrote down some of the things we did and put up the links on my home school blog I realized that we accomplished a lot. We had a large amount of multisensory learning going on. I tend to forget that we all learn better using multisensory when I take a look at assessments, or typical school schedules. My guys do not thrive in that type of environment. A really great thing was that the kids did get along better after school. They have continued to have their moments, but overall it has been much better after school. I think all of this may be delayed responses to the full social week we had during the week of Valentines Day.

Now that I write all of this I think it may be why I am feeling a little down.

Could be that I am tired and I haven’t even realized it. Lol! I have a mind block to all of the things I do. It never feels like I have done enough or accomplished enough in a day. Why do I have to sleep? I got a lot of things to do! Like come up with another plan to take over the world. Oh, wait. I am the other one “I think so, Brain, but this time *you* put the trousers on the chimp.” Seriously,  I am able to notice all that the kids accomplish, but I tend to think they achieved it all on their own. OH! And guess what? Daniel is completely potty trained! In the past month he has worn big boy undies all day and all night. He has done such a great job and didn’t get discouraged when he had an accident one night. That could have started us back to the beginning of potty training, thankfully it did not. (I am still a booty wiper for all three of my sensory sensitive kiddies though.) So now I will brag a little because they are my rock stars.

Here are some of their awesome accomplishments on our Home School Journal.

I have discovered that we learn very quickly, with more comprehension, and ability to apply things when it is all connected somehow. It’s the way I learn, and it’s my teaching style it works for us. When I separate subjects it doesn’t flow. I guess my guys learn the same way I do. Regular school was never for me and caused me constant meltdowns/shutdowns. If only someone knew this about me back then…at least I know this for my kids.  I failed to mention that none of them wanted to do school until I came up with fun ideas and visuals for the topics. Here are few videos that helped pull us into a school focus.

A Clock Story

The Clock

Poetry in Motion • The Clock of Life

Yea! We had a productive week even though it didn’t feel like it. :-)

P.S. My last FB post really released from my issues. I decided that I do not need to be affected by other people’s issues on social networks. I will use it happily for my purposes and let them happily use it for theirs. Yea! I finally get FB…How old am I? Ha ha ha





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Llama Llama Llama Llama Llama

The title is from an Animaniacs cartoon I watched years ago, I actually watched it again this morning with the kids. The title of this particular toon is “Wally Llama”. Here is an episode summary:

(Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Short) ”Wally Llama who lives on top of a mountain in the Himalayas is the wisest creature in the world. After he grows sick of answering questions he vows to stop for the rest of the day. The Warners arrive and pester him to answer one question. Eventually he gives in, but when he hears the question he goes crazy because he cannot figure out the answer. The question is why do hot dogs come in packages of ten, and hot dog buns come in packages of eight?

There are numerous reasons why I relate very much to this episode.

One being the question that the Animaniacs ask at the end “Why do hot dogs come in packages of ten, and hot dog buns come in packages of eight?” This is the type of question that I get all day long from my own little Animaniacs, but sometimes it is a bit too much. :-)  The main reason why I chose to talk about this today is because I took Wally Llama’s coping skills as my own years ago after watching the episode. I was a supervisor in a stressful job, living in a stressful environment and when I would get overwhelmed I would close my eyes, plop down on the floor, (I did not care if it was the middle of the store or if I crossed my legs in a chair in the middle of a restaurant.) place my hands up, and repeat “Llama, llama, llama, llama, llama” Yes, I did. I would not always plop down, but I would hold my hands up in meditation position, close my eyes, and repeat llama.

Most people would laugh and that would help me laugh.

Once I started laughing I was able to cope. This week has been a bit rough at times and our 2319! Plan has not been working. I was at my wits end with the boys the other day because they are having such miscommunication that it is was causing some serious meltdowns.  I was getting so frustrated at not knowing how to deal with it that out of desperation I said: “Come on boys sit down criss cross applesauce. Let’s close our eyes, put our hands up like in Yoga, and you say what Mommy says.” I then said: “Llama” over and over and they said it with me within a few minutes we were all laughing and calm. After that, we were able to talk calmly about what had happened and everything was cleared up.

I have been doing it for days now.

It is working! (For the moment.) I can only find the clip of Wally Llama in Spanish which makes it sound even better. :-) We purchased the episode off of iTunes. This week has been a huge week of progress as well… so I am not surprised by the meltdowns. All three of them have been practicing their handwriting, which is extremely stressful for them. They all have to use a lot of concentration and effort to practice writing, but they are doing so awesome. I started the Autism & Reading Comprehension this week as well and the boys are doing great! I was very surprised at how much Daniel does comprehend I shouldn’t be. All three of them comprehend, but they all three also show their comprehension through different ways. Ariel is way beyond in her reading and comprehension although — she is still enjoying doing the lessons with the boys. I really like the book and the lessons being laid out. I have to constantly try new things with the boys to keep them focused on reading.

Ariel reads all the time.  

Daniel likes to read, but he can forget words. If I do not continually stick to a reading program he will lose interest and the words that he has learned. We then have to start all over again, not for all words, but the bigger ones. This also can be quite taxing on them, and cause meltdowns. They are doing great at many of the math concepts, but need more work with subtraction. I decided to focus on subtraction this week as well. I think that may have been a bit too much to add while starting something new with reading this week. Even though they are doing well with subtraction — I did not think through all of the new things that were happening this week…for all of us.

I get kind of freaky when I know that their evaluations are coming quickly.

I have several months, but I go in hyper-drive at times wanting to make sure they are at level and learning everything they need to be learning. AND I think that is why my mind pulled out Wally Llama. I need to make sure that I am not pushing too much. These guys are above-average in many of their academics and are constantly asking questions. It is so easy to miss the progress and things that are accomplished  sitting right in front of you when you are constantly focused on the things you feel need to still be accomplished. I need to sit back and appreciate how much these guys know, and enjoy the way each of them see the world in such awesome and unique ways. I also found some Yoga DVD’s for kids that have been fun for us. We started them about two weeks ago. That is probably what triggered Wally Llama for me.

Maybe you would like to try it too, let me tell you sitting down and repeating “Llama” over and over can be quite amusing.

Here are the Yoga videos I am using with the kids.


Junior Yoga by Annette Lefterow (They are not as “enthused” with this one.)

AND I thought this was worth sharing as well. Everything You Thought You Knew About Learning Is Wrong







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Hard Questions From Ariel

I would really like to have Ariel ask me questions about autism, our body, the inner workings of our intestines, or questions about our galaxy. We have covered a lot of those topics, and she seems fairly satisfied with the answers, if she is not she digs through and reads the many books that we have on the topics, or we look for things on Discovery or the History Channel online, or YouTube can have some very resourceful things. We learned several words in Arabic and Italian today. :-) However, that is not what she is asking about.

Nope, she is asking me “Why can’t I hear God’s voice?”

Why did Peter stop looking at Jesus and fall into the water? What does covet mean? Why can’t I walk on water, I have faith as small as a seed. Along with saying things like “I don’t know if God exists, I can’t see him.” She has been reading Bible graphic novels for a couple of weeks now, Genesis to Revelation. She has also read several of their Children’s Bibles. She knows every story in great detail and is asking about each one. She says that she knows what special power God gave her it’s “Science” she said: “I know and understand science, but I wish God would give me the powers to speak animal.” She told me that she knows that God lives in the clouds, but he also lives in us, so she doesn’t understand why he doesn’t talk.

Yesterday (still today) she was completely fixated on a dragon fortress that she wants for Christmas.

She started praying for it, Ariel does not like to pray. She says that she is too shy, so it is a big deal that she started praying. Many Christian parents I have been around would feel proud, and excited about some of what she was saying and asking, but to me it is hard. Well they may freak out because she wants a dragon fortress. :-) I cannot legitimately look my little girl in the eyes on Christmas morning and say that Jesus brought her a dragon fortress.

God is not a Santa Claus figure.

He is not a simple pray and get what you want kind of character. I am fairly certain that is the wrong message to be taught about him. He is hard to understand, I cannot with a clear cautious say that I hear Him at all. Why? Because I have mixed my own personal feelings, fears, and agenda’s into my prayers and managed to convince myself of things so I could feel like I had the answers. I am not denying God or that he answers prayers, I am challenging my own perceptions and acknowledging my ability to fool myself. He has answered many prayers for me, but the fact that I was able to convince myself that my voice sounds a lot like His is something that needs to be dealt with. I am.

I do not want to pass that on to my little girl.

She is reading every word quite literally, and I know how damaging that is because I have done it. The Bible and things of God need to be taught differently to my children. Example, Ariel and Joshua spent the other evening and yesterday afternoon discussing Bible stories, and the gospels, I let them have their conversation and would challenge them when they were taking things a bit too literally. They are 5 and 7 discussing these things.

It is important that I help them not get stuck in literal thinking.

A good reason for this is because later in the day I walked into the living room, and Joshua was on his knees with his hand clasped. He stopped when I asked him if he was praying and he giggled and said:”Yes”. I asked him if he wanted to tell me what he was praying for he said: “Oh, I was praying that I would make good decisions.” The churches we have been in, and certain family members would jump on this saying how wonderful he was, or how he had a gift from God. I do not have a problem with him praying, I think it is great if they want to pray, or seeking spiritual things.

The concern I have is that they all tend to fall into black-and-white thinking.

Making good decisions implies that something that could turn into a deeper issue, the feeling that there is only right and wrong. For many people that is not an issue, for me and my kids it is. There is the constant challenge of not falling into guilt, or feeling like being wrong is the worst thing in the world. When it comes to God I have suffered a very long time with feeling like God thought badly of me or I had to do things to be good. I will not allow that to happen to my kids. Maybe I am a bit sensitive, but the other night when Ariel and I sat her room hanging out talking, she looked at me and said out of no where: “I wonder why I can’t hear God’s voice.” I asked: “What do you mean baby?” She started to tear up and with a shaky voice said:”I don’t know why I can’t hear God’s voice. I try to hear him and I can’t”. She is only 7 years old darn it! (I later discovered that she had read 1 Samuel 3 when God speaks to Samuel as a boy.)

I fought back my own tears, I was not going to allow my baby to go through that.

I scooped her in my arms and just held her as she cried in my lap. I was more angry with God than I had ever been in that moment. Even with many of the things that I have struggled with dealing with churches, other Christians, or my own personal issues, none of those had a hint of meaning as I stroked her hair. Nothing else compared to what she was feeling. I knew that feeling, I have been feeling it for months, years to be honest. And just because I say that doesn’t mean I lack faith, I have so much faith it makes me angry! I can’t get rid of it, even if I want to, believe me I have tried. I mean no disrespect to God or people who have faith, know that this is my own rantings. I cupped her face in my hands and I told her: “I don’t hear God either.”

She busted me!

She looked straight at me and said: “But you said that God gave you our names before we were born.” D’oh! She was right. I told her the truth. The truth is, I felt like their names did come from God, but I did not hear some audible voice from heaven or in my head. I saw their three names flash in my head and heard them in a voice, it’s the same voice that is talking now as I type. The same voice when I read, the same voice that writes poetry and everything else. Maybe I just hear God in my voice. So I asked her if she heard a voice that possibly told her right and wrong. Or other things. She said: “Yes, I hear a voice and I think that it is Jesus, but He always says yes.” We laughed together when she said that because we both know that Jesus does not always say yes. After I explained that I do not hear a voice, and shared the ways that I see God or feel like He is talking through nature, friends, songs, books, or the many other things that can reach us, she was all smiles. The pressure of hearing Him was lifted, and she was fine with my response.

It is hard to discuss spiritual matters with kids.

I shared with her that I may not hear God all the time. However, I do feel like when I see rainbows in the sky, or things like a pair of Converse that I have wanted for so long, and carry a huge significance to me suddenly appear in my size at a very cheap price, seems like God is there. She has witnessed many things like that happen for me, they have happened for her too and I reminded her of them. These things tend to happen during my lowest of times. For me it seems like God is saying “Hey, I see you and your are going to be alright. Here is a little something that will bring you a smile.”

Is it Jesus?

Is it the Universe, my Dragon friend I left in Germany, or an invisible friend? I do not have a clue. I feel like it is God, and I will stick with Jesus. Although, I am not going to carry all the baggage and confusion that has been looming my life for almost 13 years, about who or what it is.  I got really messed up when I walked into the strange world of churchdom. I mean no disrespect, but our brains are not wired well for church in this household. It causes more confusion than answers, at least right now.

My kids bring up some hard topics.

They ask us about what we believe and why. They ask about divorce, why people lie, why people don’t like people because of their race, or religion. They want to know why, a lot of these questions come from Ariel she is always thinking and observing these things. I want her to feel safe when she says I don’t know if God exists. I have seen kids get yelled at or have seen parents respond in fear when their child said that. For me it was a moment that made me feel good, she is thinking about it. She is reading the bibles around here and pondering the stories and questioning. When she gets older I will introduce her to church history and more details about other faiths. I am not afraid of her not believing what I believe.

I am afraid of her not having her own faith.

Or finding her own beliefs and becoming shaky because she was not able to discover herself. I have more trust in God’s ability to reach down and convince her of Him, than forcing her myself or worse yet using fear to make her believe something. I feel that way for all of the kids. The boys are not really pondering about spiritual matters yet, but they have asked their own hard questions. Not like Ariel, not yet, but I know that it is coming. These kids think, they ponder, they reason, and they do not stay quiet about it. They do not settle for simple answers. I don’t want them to believe what we have told them without thought, or feel like our authority as parents trumps their valid questions. I want them to learn and grow with us, I want them to feel comfortable challenging and questioning. I want Ariel to develop her God given superpowers of Science! :-)

I want them to feel safe talking about things, and never feel like they are wrong if they don’t agree with us.



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