Life And A Little Update

Hello all. It has been quite some time since I have posted here or on my social medias and I do apologize for that. It seems I have been struggling with a thing called life, and laundry but that’s another story.

In the past few months we have had our first hospital trip for a piece of metal in Bug’s eye (how in the…??!!!!), readjusting our school days and teachers, have had more than enough sick days to last a year, had the first kid-free overnight in six years, and so much more. So many meetings and classes and presentations and places to be and things to do. It is hard to do all that and run a blog/social media, so I took a break from it before it broke me.


I may continue to take a break from documenting our homeschooling, especially on Facebook since the algorithms were changed and small pages like mine may not be seen much anymore. I am focusing more on my first responder presentations and contacting people to get them involved with trainings as well. I can’t do it all, and I don’t want to push too hard in several directions at once.

So there is a little blog-y update, a little life-y update. But there is an update I would like to share with you. An update that has just reaffirmed my belief that homeschool is what is best for Bug. An update that has answered a lot of questions, and has made me breathe a little easier.

While I have known for a while I have a laundry list of issues including anxiety, depression, OCD, dyscalculia, and onychotillomania; I never really thought to delve deeper. After many sessions, it has been determined that I am on the autism spectrum, specifically Aspergers. Daddy is going to be evaluated as well because we are very similar and he shows a lot of the same characteristics.

A weight was lifted when she told me that. I have always know I was different, I never fit in, I was weird (which is a good thing!), I thought differently, I did things differently. I am different. I just like to have a name for it. A label if you will.

So with life being the way it is, it looks like I will be back with you guys intermittently. I still strive to share our homeschool, autism, feeding issue journey with you and will share when my head isn’t moments away from exploding. I may choose sleep over writing a blog, but it is always in the back of my mind.

I enjoy this, I love to share and I will continue to do so, but I won’t beat myself up if I don’t publish something every week.

Enjoy the ones you’re with, I have been. ❤


Our Favorite Story Time

Do you listen to podcasts? Do your kids listen? I have found such great learning experiences with many podcasts, I talk about some in this blog post and how we use them in our homeschool. That particular blog was written before I stumbled across the podcast I will be talking about today.

Circle Round Podcast. Great for adults who love to listen to stories and great for kids to build Theory of Mind as well as something everyone can agree on!

I am always on the search for podcasts. I have a few favorites, but I am always hoping to find something fun and interesting that I/we can learn something from. I have my just-for-mommy podcasts and I have some that I will gladly play for the girls any time they ask.

We listen while playing in a sensory bin, instead of me reading out loud at bedtime, in the car, while I make dinner, on no-tv days where they are getting too worked up, while they play outside, or even while they take a bubble bath!

With Circle Round, my girls have been asking for episodes by name! I surprise them every Tuesday (sometimes Wednesday if I haven’t been online much on Tuesday) with the newest installment. I always get a little bit giddy when it shows up in my RSS feed.

Personally, I love folktales and stories. I love being transported to a world where I need to think and ponder the events, to get out of my own head. I have yet to find the perfect just-for-mommy version of this, so I just love how Circle Round is not just a kids podcast. It really does rope in the grown ups as well!

I also love that at the beginning of each podcast, they say where the story is told. We have had to look at our world map to see where Thailand, Sweden, Nigeria, and Asia are located and I explain that people live there who have had the story told to them by their great grandparents (It is hard to explain generations to 4 and 6 year olds who have no concept of what day it is let alone the concept of time!).

Bug’s favorite story so far is called Onions and Garlic. She loves the actors’ intonation and silliness. This has been the go-to when we get in the car and I ask : Story or Music? and they respond with: STORY! 9 out of 10 times. I will then ask which story. Sometimes they want to listen to Stella And The Dragon, or The Princess In The Mirror. The Rice Cakes And The Oni sparked her curiosity to learn about mythical beasts and we went to find a book on mythical beasts at our local used book store. We learned about how it is mean to make fun of people in The Barber’s Secret, and we heard a folk tale about Why The Ocean Is Salty.

There are so many things to learn while listening to this great podcast. My girls ask a LOT of questions…why did she do that? Why is he talking like that? Why isn’t he happy? They are learning to think and question the world around them.

This is what Theory Of Mind is.

Theory Of Mind is how someone thinks and responds to other people’s thoughts. It is “the idea that each child develops an understanding of their own thoughts, desires, and beliefs—and can recognize that other people have their own thoughts, desires, and beliefs”.

Story telling is so important for building this skill. Asking questions is important for them to be able to understand other people having different ideas in a situation.

I know at leas, or especially, with Six, I can tire easily from all the “why” questions she throws at me all day every day. But I take a deep breath and remember that she truly does not know. She is still trying to understand the world around her and asking why to every.single.thing is her way of learning.

Bug is still learning that she can ask questions. When she starts asking, boy, she just won’t stop! Building Theory Of Mind in kids with autism can be a challenge. People with autism can sometimes not understand that other people around them have their own plans, thoughts, points of view, beliefs, and emotions. I am certainly no expert in how to help everyone with that difficulty, but every single article I have read of Theory of Mind, has said that reading stories can really build that skill.

I love that Circle Round was created for kids but is engaging for the grown ups as well. I love that it makes us all thinks and ask questions and maybe even learn a lesson in among the tale.

Not only do they produce a podcast every Tuesday, they also have coloring pages* for each of their stories available here. So for those of you homeschoolers out there, having your kiddo color one of these pages before/during/after listening to the podcast, can count for Social Studies and Art!

I hope that by sharing this podcast with you, I have helped build the desire to listen and learn. I wish for all of you to be as excited about this podcast as we are every week. Keep answering all the Whys, keep telling stories, and keep the spark to learn alive.


*If you do a coloring page and have an Instagram account, tag #CircleRound so they can see your artwork!

The Cure For Autism

I recently read a post by one of my favorite blogger/FB peeps, the wonderful and hilarious Mama Fry.

Mama Fry is wonderful. She finds the humor and tells it how it is. She was the first autism page on Facebook that I liked and followed after Bug got her diagnosis. Mama Fry has been in the autism world longer than I have, and I have learned so much from her and I enjoy and look forward to her blog posts.

This post was about a cure for autism. You can read about it here. And Mama Fry hits the nail on the head: “Your kid has autism and that doesn’t change a damn thing about them. It just explains their neurology. That’s it”.

I don’t believe there is a magical “cure” for autism. If there was, don’t you think everyone would have heard of it? Wouldn’t you think every doctor, speech therapist, feeding therapist, occupational therapist, resource teacher, behavioral therapist would be sharing the “magical cure”?

Essential oils do not cure autism (or ADHD or feeding issues).

Bleach enemas do NOT cure autism. Just no.

Rhythmic movements do not cure autism.

And while I’m here:

You cannot catch autism.

Vaccines do not cause autism (follow the link for SCIENCE) (Edited to add: this awesome info as well as more science, some Q&A, a Japanese study, this, even more science here, and more info on ASD specifically. Although I know that if there is any anti-vaccine person reading this blog, these articles will to them be poppycock, but I am aware we can all have different opinions so you do you ❤ ).

You did not eat some non-organic carrot that caused your kiddo to have autism.

I may have gone off on a slight tangent, but I am passionate, it is relevant, and it is important.

Bug has autism. So what?! It doesn’t change who she is! It is a label to get her help she needs to grow and learn to reach her potential.

The reason I say all of this, the reason I am so frustrated is because I have heard most every “cure” and every “reason” she has autism. And it hurts, as a parent, to hear “oh you must have not eaten organic foods that were pesticide free while you were pregnant” or ” oh it is because you vaccinated her, vaccines cause autism”. You know what I hear when someone callously TELLS me their OPINION? That it is something I did, that I failed as a parent, that I did this to her. That is not fair. That is not the truth.

I spent so many anxiety-filled nights till 2, 3, 4 am researching, doing my homework, trying to find out if it was truly something I did. I spent YEARS doing this research. I happen to trust peer-reviewed, scientific evidence when it comes to things I am not a PhD in. So I trust that if there was a cure, we would know about it.

That being said, even if there was a cure, I wouldn’t use it. Bug is the best kid I know. She is truly amazing, hilarious, loving, kind, smart, and so many other things. Autism does not define her.

So let me tell you a little story of why Mama Fry’s post really struck a chord for me.

When we started with occupational therapy back in September, I was expecting some fine motor games, some hand strengthening exercises, some techniques to use with pencils, writing surfaces, writing materials, games to play to promote writing skills, and things of that nature. What I have been told to do with Bug, however, is far, far from what I was expecting.

Rhythmic movements. I call them jiggling, because that is literally what it is.

Our OT at school has told me about her teacher/mentor who is apparently quite big in the OT community, or at least with a certain type of OT. And somehow I wound up on this lady’s email list….to this day I truly have no idea how. Now, I ranted and raved about cures for a good long while to get to this story that made smoke come out of my ears.

The subject line said: “I am usually skeptical of miracle cures but…”.

Before I even clicked on the link I was rolling my eyes so far back in my head I almost fell over. Remember, this is the lady that our OT seems to idolize. I clicked on the link despite my better judgement. It was screenshots of alleged emails this lady has received saying that the jiggles CURED someone’s ADHD, another one’s depression, someone else’s anxiety and someone’s kid’s autism.

I wanted to scream.

Firstly, how many other interventions and/or medications did these people have, how many YEARS were they involved with these other things? And you are solely crediting these movements for “curing” these diagnoses.

Secondly, what is the {scientific} proof that these movements do what you claim they do? And to be clear, they are claiming it can cure things ranging from anxiety to autism here. I have found little to none. Research on this particular topic is sparse. There are mainly claims to success with no real backing. And like I said above, I really like science and trust peer-reviewed, scientific journals.

Thirdly, is this particular form of therapies (not used by every OT, I should clarify) designed to be NOTHING BUT the movements? Because that is what our OT experience has been. We have been doing nothing but the movements in the 30 minute session once a week and I am expected to do them every day. We haven’t held a pencil since October, and that was for the initial evaluation.

I call hokum. Balderdash, nonsense, malarkey, poppycock, twaddle, drivel, bunk.

Wouldn’t every OT be using this form of therapy if it helped kids with Downs Syndrome, autism, ADHD etc?

Shouldn’t we be doing fine motor games, hand strengthening exercises, learning techniques to use with pencils, utilizing different writing surfaces, writing materials, games to promote writing skills, and things of that nature, not just waiting to see a result from the movements before we continue?

And I have no doubt that these movements could help build some reflexes and help overall. However…..THEY DO NOT CURE AUTISM.

Bug has shown some improvements in her writing skills. Want to know why? Because I went back to my anxiety-ridden self from four and a half years ago and have been staying up till 2, 3, 4 in the morning researching what OTs go to school for years to learn about.

Puddy play to promote hand strength and form, butcher paper scribbles to engage full body awareness that builds up to control of their body, weighted pencils, inclined writing surfaces, tiny pencils, pre-writing shapes, games involving hand-eye coordination and crossing the midline, and so many more.

pre-writing shapes

This was me.

A modified tripod grasp (I believe). Wrist down, elbow down.

Not jiggling her on the floor. Me.

I’m not even trying to brag here. I just don’t want credit for my hard work and dedication to Bug’s learning and development to be credited to this jiggling that I do occasionally, when I have 20 minutes with just Bug in the house and I remember.

I have to give credit to our wonderful aid for gifting Bug this game for Christmas this year, it has helped tremendously in building her tripod grasp as well as strengthening those fine motor muscles! ❤

This is something that could take years to “see progress from”. Meanwhile, we have an IEP goal date of May and I had expected to see more progress towards that (reachable) goal by now.

I fail to agree with the large expectations being placed on these movements and am very disappointed in the lack of evidence that they truly help with anything but reflex integration.

So to get back to my main point here today, there is no magical “cure” for autism. These comments and thoughts are still very prevalent, especially among those WITHOUT children on the spectrum.  But if you want to  improve your kiddo’s quality of life, their future; love them, support them, if possible, get them into any early interventions you possibly can, fight for them, believe in them, and be okay with them being their own person. Be their support, their rock, their shoulder, their cheerleader and their mama bear. Throw a drink in the face of anyone who thinks there is or wants to cure your child. They are amazing, you are amazing. Keep on keeping on.


The Christmas Season

Whether you celebrate “the true meaning of Christmas”, Hanukkah, presents, or Festivus, you probably experience the busy, illness-filled, crazy-hectic month that is December. There have been many events and happenings crammed into this month and I just want to lay down and hibernate for a few months! Stick a fork in me, I am done!


December for us was so busy. So. Busy. So busy, in fact, that I ignored all of my social medias almost completely. I am sometimes asked how I “do it all” and the fast answer is: I don’t. I fed everyone, made sure we all had regular showers, and got us to appointments on time. I did not spend hours on Facebook, I did not look for the perfect picture in every activity we did to post on Instagram, and I forgot completely about Twitter.

I tell you all this to share what actual real life is. Real life is busy and stressful.

But, as all this crazy business is starting to slow down, I am slowly getting posts ready and working on future blog posts (I have some really awesome reviews in the line-up so stay tuned!). But I wanted to share some of what has happened in the WDWW house during the holiday season.

The month of December started with a Bang. I was planning another meet and greet complete with Santa and gifts, when I was graciously given a donation for even more gifts than I had already planned for. It was a wonderful way to start out the month!

We didn’t slow down at all and we bundled up to go and see the world’s largest living Christmas tree be lit up with lights! It was a great event, but there were WAY too many people for me with both girls sans daddy. But we stayed and watched from a slight distance, then we went to get pizza! I had the girls eat it in the car on the way to get daddy at work and while we waited in the parking lot, we had some nice warm hot cocoa to warm up. We played “questions” and ate yummy pizza and drank hot cocoa till daddy was done then went home and collapsed!

We did throw in some math games and a sight word snowman!

Along with the regular weekly classes and therapies, I took the girls to an excerpt of the Nutcracker at a local theater with our Charter as well as a truckers parade where local truckers decorate their trucks with lights and they drive through town. It was a great night but so chilly!

I also took Bug on a special mommy-Bug date to see her first ever play at another local theater. She loved it! I was almost in tears watching her smile and giggle and be so well behaved! It was truly an amazing experience and she still talks about it and shows anyone who visits the program.

We made erupting snow! If it isn’t going to snow here, then we will bring snow to us!

Bug was also able to come to the meet and greet I hosted. Gwama hug out with her then walked her down to the fire station when there was a lull. Gwampa volunteered to be Santa for my meet and greet and Bug instantly knew it was him! She also got to ride in a fire engine, talk on the loud speaker of the Highway Patrol vehicle, and try on turnouts and a helmet. I will make a post specifically for this meet and greet because I believe more of these need to happen!!

We grew magic growing crystals! Which, if you haven’t done so already, should be at the top of your to-do list!


Here is where things started to go wrong. The Sunday leading up to the last week of school before winter break, every school in the local area was hit with a nasty flu. So bad in fact that many public schools closed in the middle of the week. Bug was hit with it Sunday, conveniently after a sensory screening of Ferdinand (great movie, by the way!). She was down. Bug doesn’t get sick often, and if she wants to lay down, you know she is very sick. Bug wanted to lay down around noon on Sunday and she didn’t move till noon on Monday afternoon. Then Six got hit Wednesday-Friday, then I was hit Friday and Saturday which was also convenient because Auntie Fred flew in for Christmas and got in Friday night and came to the house Saturday. Daddy was the only one in the house who got out of being sick!

To keep them calm and occupied I had them play the very rare game Eye Found It Disney. It is a special occasion game.

We got to go ice skating this year too! We do not live where it snows, unfortunately, so a local town rents an ice rink and sets it up in the parking lot of a park. Bug was her normal self and ran before she could walk and fell down quite a few times. Thankfully, they had walkers that Bug and Six were able to scoot along with by themselves. Hot cocoa was needed afterwards to warm up frozen (but intact!) fingers.

Ice Skating!! Break time!
Remind me again why I chose to brave Target by myself with two kids three days before Christmas?!! At least they both still (barely) fit in the cart!

We managed to drive around Christmas Eve to see all the light displays. There were some really awesome set-ups for sure! We saw so many inflatable decorations and lots of bright lights!

Auntie Fred was here for one week, we had planned to make cookies and do Christmas dinner with my grandma and a great uncle. We exchanged gifts and ate cake. We even went to a few shops a few days after Christmas to see the sales and I was able to grab a few odds and ends that were 50% off! Oh, how I love sales!! We had another set of relatives come over for some sweet treats and more presents. Then we sent Auntie Fred home. Boo. Six LOVES Auntie Fred, she was talking about what she wanted to tell her when she finally got here, what games she wanted to play. So many things!

Gwama got each of them their own dream tent for their bed, but they refuse to let us put them on their beds, instead they have to be on the couch. Because, of course!

So we didn’t escape December without getting sick, but we did make it through fed and mostly happy! I will even admit that I really slacked on our weekly worksheets, but we were learning the entire month! And that is why homeschooling wins during the holidays. Baking cookies? Math and Science! Family coming to visit? Social Studies! Caught the flu? Health! Singing Christmas songs non-stop? Language Arts, Speech, and Music! Learning is happening all the time if you talk to your kids about what is going on around them.

I hope you all had a festive, illness-free, somewhat relaxing holiday season, no matter what you celebrate (if anything!).

I hope we all can have a happy New Year! ❤

A Great Memory

When I was in third grade, I hated one particular time of day. I don’t actually remember what it was or why, I just remember I did and wanted to get out of the classroom at that time.

I found out I could be a buddy in the (known to me at the time as) special needs classroom. I jumped on that opportunity and every day I would head over to the other side of our small elementary school to this classroom.

I never saw any other kids without a special need in that classroom and I later won an award for something…probably being a good friend; my mom still has it, I could find out if I really wanted.

We painted and read a lot during the time frame I was there. It was a lot of fun for me and I hope my being there was a good experience for the other kids.

I tell you all this because now that I have a beautiful daughter with autism, ADHD, and a feeding disorder, I have been thinking a lot about my behaviors to those who were different than me as I was growing up.

I am not proud to admit that I stared, but I asked questions, I wanted to know more about why these kids were different. Not in a negative way, I would be just as friendly to them, but I wanted to know about all the differences that are in our world.

So thinking back on my time in that classroom, I can’t help but smile. Those kids were so welcoming to me. One in particular though.

We will call him C. C was a little different, he wore the exact same red turtleneck every single day, the exact same pants and shoes every single day. I remember he had trouble going across the monkey bars after watching me at recess.

I don’t remember much about him other than those few things. I don’t remember much about my life before I was about 10 and it makes me sad because I remember I liked C.

All of this thinking about C and my time in that classroom made me wonder if I went to that classroom for a reason. So that I could be more understanding to differences and to learn compassion and kindness. Those are all qualities that are important in my own life and now very important for me to teach others for my Bug.

As the mom of a wonderful kiddo on the spectrum, I can say that all I really want is for Bug to be safe and for people to be understanding and kind. You don’t have to “get” why she does what she does, but you can be kind and know that she is an individual just as you and I are, with independent thoughts, feelings and opinions. Be kind to those with differences, being kind costs nothing but can be priceless to those with differences.

Be kind always.

Maybe This Is What I’m Supposed To Do?

In high school, everyone was so concerned what we were going to be or do after we graduated. What school we were going to, SAT or other tests, scholarships, majors, jobs, resumes. It was a lot to deal with, incredibly overwhelming and stressful. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but everyone wanted me to make a decision.

I did make a decision. I didn’t participate in the SAT or ACT tests, I didn’t apply to colleges or for scholarships. I still don’t regret that decision, but it did eat at me. For years, people asked what I would do once the girls went to school; get a job or start a business. The stress was back. Should I do something more?

Well, then autism happened. Homeschooling happened. It felt like I was working, a job I loved with bosses that tested me to my limits then told me I was pretty.

Being a mom is a job. It is many many jobs in one. I am happy with where I am. I am with the tiny humans I love, I am married to a great, supportive guy, and we are molding future generations.

Being a mom, wife, teacher, cook and so many other things can be extremely hard to juggle at times. Often, my attention will go to one or two subjects and I will ignore the others. I do not “do it all” every day, heck, there are even some days where I am forced or I allow myself to do nothing.

I often think about the future; a room just for our classroom with sensory items everywhere, presenting to a meeting room of first responders on autism, laundry that is folded and put away nicely, a book published. Maybe my life is supposed to be filled with many things I can be good at. Not one job I go to daily. There are many things that I am good at, many things I have practiced, overcome and persevered, I am a Jane of all trades, master of none.

I am okay with that. My life is full of things that interest, inspire, drive and delight my heart and soul.

I would not have overcome my discomfort of speaking in front of a group of people if I had not believed what I was doing made a difference. I would not have taken on homeschooling if I had not known I had support, I would not be here had I made other life choices at a time where life was so uncertain and scary.

I have never seen a conversation involving a high schooler that didn’t have the question “so what are you planning to major in” or something of that nature. At 18, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Had I been forced to choose something and go into debt following a subject I may or may not have ended up using/liking, I would be in a totally different place than I am now, not necessarily for the better.

I am 26, I still barely know what I want to do with my life. But maybe this is it. And maybe I am fine with that.

I want to raise my own kids, I want them to have quality family time, I want them to feel loved and important. I want them to know they are important, that they are smart and clever and silly. I want them to look back and remember all the fun times we all had together. Together.

One day I may have a “job”, but for now, they are my job and I love them.



In Defense Of The Short Order Cook

Eating is hard. No joke.

I have been taking for granted how easy most eating was for me for years. After marrying Hubby, and after Bug’s eating habits changed at a year and a half old, I have now seen that my slight-pickiness is nothing.

My pickiness? I like pretty basic foods. I don’t like almost any spices in my food. I do not like hot/spicy food. I do not like tofu/fake meats (yes, a vegan who doesn’t eat tofu! le gasp!).

Hubby’s pickiness? He does not like condiments (like, wouldn’t let me have mayo..vegan or not…in the house till recently). He does not like foods that are combined: soups, casseroles, most stirfrys. He does not like onions, peas, strong flavored vegetables, anything with lots of spices. He is pretty much one step away from having his foods on separate plates.

Bug’s pickiness? Anything that isn’t one particular brand/type of mac n cheese, bean and rice burritos from two specific restaurants, one type of pizza, cereal, one type of smoothie, a sandwich with just jam, and lots of breads and crackers. We recently lost spaghetti… will be missed.

I thank the universe that we have Six who will eat almost anything I make and prefers raspberries over cookies! (And yes I checked her temperature just in case 😉 ).

So eating in this house is just a stressful activity. I have written other blog posts about our trials and tricks that you can read here, here, here , here, or here and a recipe here. But we have since had Bug stand for dinners, she stands on a stool when she eats and surprisingly, she will stay still and eat more than if she were sitting! We have also included her in not only meal prep and making, but the girls are now in charge of putting their clean dishes away and setting their place for meal times.

We are getting another, more specific feeding evaluation done with our feeding therapist to get a diagnosis for Bug so we can continue with therapies. We are looking into a food class provided through our charter that teaches gardening, food safety, where foods come from, and trying new foods. No promises that she will taste test, but being in another environment besides our house with another person presenting foods to her in a non-threatening way may be a great thing for her.

Ninety three meals per month. Sixty two snacks per month. Bug cycles through her same four preferred meals each week. We have even started to go to one of the preferred restaurants at the end of the week at closing to clean them out of their rice because it is the ONLY rice Bug will eat.

After almost six years of this limited diet from Bug and eight years of the pickiness from Hubby, it is safe to say I am thoroughly exhausted of feeding people. So I have given up.

Hear me out.

After working with our feeding therapist, we decided to just take a break from trying to introduce new foods to Bug. Okay, I would like that break. Done.

After seven years of making foods that just weren’t quite right, I stopped making most meals for Hubby and he made his own.

So I am already not making food for Hubby most nights, he will make his own while I am making myself and Six food, Bug has so few foods, she is either capable of getting them herself or with some assistance. So I am now half as stressed. Hubby and Bug help themselves with meals.

I make foods that I need to stay healthy and share them with Six. Sometimes she steals food from Daddy or Bug, but we split most meals. So yes, I still make sure everyone is fed and full, yes I still make foods for Bug and Hubby, but it is better for everyone if the picky eaters stick together and the non picky eaters stick together.

Now Hubby shops for Bug and himself and then I go shopping for Six and I. Two shopping trips, split the budget, everyone is happy and will be well fed.

I went through years of being the short order cook. I spent years making sure everyone would eat. But I realized it wasn’t just my responsibility. Hubby is an equal part and I was trying to do it all myself. I feel most moms out there can relate. We had no problem being short order cooks, yes it was exhausting, but everyone was eating food to help them grow, everyone was happy at the end of meal time, and everyone was eating. No tears, no running away. Eating.

Because fed is best. I would rather be a little more stressed out about keeping track of 2-3 different meals than know that one or two of my loves are hungry. We will continue to do what works for us.

We Do What Works
A hangry kid will not be fun to be around. I would rather them fed and happy.

Occu-what? Another Therapy

ABA, Feeding, Speech, and now Occupational therapy.

We have a FULL schedule. It’s a wonder I make 3 meals a day some days.

Bug has been having some discomfort and hatred towards doing worksheets and writing for quite some time. Long enough we saw a need for an evaluation.

The evaluation took a few 30-minute sessions, followed by a team member IEP meeting that determined that yes, she could in fact benefit from OT.

She cooperated for a few of the sessions, and came around during two of them when the therapist brought out the slime. Slime is magic. It is my secret weapon at home during worksheet days.

We are still in the beginning stages of this new and interesting approach to helping Bug to write. So very much in the beginning that I may need some time to comprehend what the actual heck is going on.

Now, I mean no disrespect to our therapist. None at all. I am just beyond confused and a bit frustrated at the research I have done.

Our therapist is having us do what is called rhythmic movements. It is apparently a reflex integration to help “wake up” reflexes that are still left over from the baby stage. You know when you put your finger in that brand new baby’s hand and it closed around your finger? Or if you put your baby’s arm up, its head would turn? Apparently, Bug’s reflexes didn’t integrate completely and could use some of these “rhythmic movements” to help build them up.

I have done some Googling, and I have not found much in the way of studies or research on this and it all just feels a bit strange to me. How is jiggling Bug on the floor supposed to help her write? I just don’t understand.

I have even made a few phone calls to a couple other OTs in the area (which is very few actually), and had them try to explain to me just what these movements were doing. One said there hasn’t been much clinical research to support this method. I like science and research and studies so this makes me even more concerned than I was when she showed us these movements for the first time. Another mentioned that our particular OT has seen great results with this method for many other issues. All well and good.

I just fail to agree that not doing these movements is the reason Bug was having a hard day. She has hard days on school and gym days. It isn’t because I didn’t do the movements, this has been happening for months longer than I even knew the OT.

I just fail to agree that the only thing we should be doing is these movements. We have had Bug hold a pencil maybe three times total over the course of 3+ months of sessions.

And I fail to agree that I should be the only one practicing writing with Bug. Our wonderful resource teacher would be a fantastic support for not only Bug, but for me as well.

It doesn’t help that I am terrible at communicating so I struggle with asking “what exactly is this doing?” or “will we be working with a pencil soon?”.

So, because I have been having these struggles, I have taken it upon myself to learn as much as I possibly can about fine motor skills, pre-writing, pencil grips, types of pencils and pencil tools.

I have created sheets upon sheets of pre-writing shapes and lines to practice, I have made weighted pencils, found really short pens, made extra big grip pencils, and found activities that include a vertical surface and crossing the midline. I have found fun Christmas themed fine motor activities, workbooks with pre-writing support games.

This is what I had I guess expected from occupational therapy.

Yes, the reflexes are a valid concern. However, one that I didn’t think would be the focus of our short sessions.

I will continue to do the movements, but if Bug starts showing progress in writing, I will know in my heart that it was because of my dedication to her. Not from jiggling her on the floor.

I will continue to Google “rhythmic movements” in hope there will one day be some empirical evidence on the subject. But for now, I feel like I have just been handed a candle and told to light it every day and it will cure my allergies.

Does anyone on this world-wide web of ours have any suggestions for me? I could use them right about now… ❤

Oh My Gourd! Be-leaf Me, Fall is A-maize-ing

Hay there! Happy November! Anyone else in disbe-leaf that it is already NOVEMBER?! What happened to April, June, August?! Sheesh. Okay, I’m done with the puns…

I shouldn’t complain too much though, October is my favorite month. Not only is it my birth-month, but also Halloween and when the weather starts getting crisp in our neck of the woods. I love the change of colors on the trees, and going for drives to see all the amazing colors with hot cocoas and a podcast.

Plus, it is the lead up to Bug’s favorite, my second favorite, season: snow. Well, not where we live, we plan to take a snowcation to play in the snow. But I am jumping ahead now!


This past month was a bit crazy. Busy with appointments, classes and meetings. We had an IEP amendment meeting to add occupational therapy officially to our already busy schedule, we had some fun field trips, we had some bad days, and we had some really awesome days. And cake, we had cake.

So in addition to our regular Monday and Wednesday classes/therapies, Thursday morning gymnastics and Friday afternoon ABA sessions, we crammed a lot of fun and learning into one month, and the best part? It was all fall themed…some was spooky, some smelled good, but it was all fun!

We started out the month with a ride with Gwampa in the milk truck. We climbed on some marshmallows, pet some calves, found a kitten and ran off some energy in a field. Gwampa just got a new truck…his old one kind of exploded, it was a lemon; so we had to break it in with muddy footprints on the dashboard and slimy handprints on the window. As you do.



Being October, the start of apple season, one of the local festivities was an Apple Harvest Festival. An entire town overrun with vendors and activities and chili cook offs and welcoming faces and good food and tractor rides. The local fire department even had an open house with so many fun games and activities and even a helicopter landing! Fire truck rides and candy and police officers letting little kids setting of the sirens. Oh this was a fun day. Bug did so amazingly, too! She did get overstimulated at the fire station because of all the commotion, but we used her calm-down techniques and we were golden!

We did a lot of art this month. We did some pinecone painting to start out our October art. We did this on 18″x12″ paper and I hope to make this into a book cover later.

Pinecone Painting

I also made some new sensory bins with colored rice (how-to video on my Facebook page!) and some fun additions. We had to make a spooky bin, hence the eyeballs, and a fall themed bin with fall colors and scented pinecones.


If you believe in the old wive’s tale, we predicted the coming winter when we went on a hike and I let the counting-obsessed Bug collect woolly caterpillars. There were so many caterpillars!!! We also painted with snails, You can read about this weekend here.

It also happened to be fire safety and prevention month. I created a week-long, autism-specific safety plan which you can read about in this post. It was not intended as a week only learning plan, but for a very broken down, make-it-fun, learning time to help you teach your kiddo fire safety.

Along with the sensory bins, we also made a sensory/iSpy bottle. There is some debate in the WDWW household of what the black things are. I intended this to be a spooky Halloween bats sensory bottle, but half of us think they are spiders, the other half, bats. What do you think???


On a perfect fall day, I took the girls for a little stroll through a very sweet little town about 20 minutes away from our house for some leaf collecting.  We packed a paper bag full and then went off to have the best pizza in our county. The next day though, we did a lot of leaf activities. Leaf stamping, painting and shadow-ing. I love this so much. They did the leaf stamping on 18″x12″ paper so we can use it as the cover of a book or something like the pinecone painting.

And of course we had to go to the pumpkin patch. This year though, we actually did pumpkin carving with help from BOTH of the girls! For the past few years, Bug has not been okay with the smell/look/feeling/sound of pumpkin guts. Overall she has been extremely opposed to all things pumpkin except picking one out. So this year when she was so excited to carve  pumpkin and play in the guts, we jumped on that. The pumpkin patch trip was so needed, we needed to get out of the house and it reset all of us.

We made applesauce with apples from Gwama’s trees, used one of those apples to make jack-o-lantern stamped artwork, made bird feeders for our non-existent birds, and we made yummy sweet tortilla chip jack-o-lanterns. We made green-apple pie playdough (recipe below!), read spooky Garfield books, broke out the boots, and had one too many spooky-sprinkle-covered vegan doughnuts.


Also trick-or-treating, of course! Bug went as a fire fighter ❤ Thanks to a friend, Bug even got to wear real turnouts! Thank you, Thank you!

Halloween 2017

It has been a great month. Busy, but fun. So, before I write a play-by-play novel of our month, here is our recipe for green-apple pie playdough!

This recipe was adapted by my wonderful aunt’s recipe for cooked playdough that she gave me from her time as a teacher.

Green-Apple Pie Playdough

1 cup water

pea-sized blob green food color or healthy squirt liquid food color


1 tbsp oil

1/2 cup salt

1 cup flour (mine needed two extra tablespoons)

2 tsp cream of tartar

2 tsp cinnamon


1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/8 tsp cardamom

Combine salt through cardamom and mix well, set aside for a moment and in a large saucepan, heat oil and green-dyed water till bubbling slightly.

Pour in dry ingredients into the pot and mix very well with a wooden spoon. mix till a dough forms and you cannot see any more dry bits. Remove from heat, place the dough blob on a cutting board to cool for a few minutes.

If it is too sticky, knead a bit more flour in.