Thursday, March 31, 2016

Logic of English Essentials Review

For the past several weeks my son has been working through Essentials Second Edition from Logic of English we received for review. Logic of English is a grammar program that doesn't just teach the rules of English but also the WHY behind those rules. When we know the why, we can often remember and grasp the rules.

Logic of English Review

We received the Essentials Second Edition set. This comes with everything you could imagine or want for a grammar program.
You get:
  • Essentials Teacher’s Guide
  • Volume 1 Essentials Student Workbook
  • Volume 1 (student consumable)
  • Spelling Journal (student consumable)
  • Morpheme Cards, Set 1
  • Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Spelling Rule Flash Cards
  • Grammar Flash Cards
  • Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Phonogram Game Cards: Bookface
  • Phonogram Game Cards: Manuscript or Cursive
  • Phonogram Game Tiles
  • Spelling Analysis Card Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference

This is a multi-level system that allows you to customize where your child is in his grammar journey and also allows you to use it for more than one child at different grade levels for just the price of the two consumables.

You have three levels in each book (A, B, and C). The best place to start is with the placement test. Don't assume. I assumed incorrectly with one of my sons and would have done him a disservice if I kept him at the spelling level I thought he needed.

Each level has it's own spelling this. You have the same rules and games but with level appropriate spelling lists so your older kids aren't bored and your younger kids aren't frustrated with words they can't spell no matter how much they try.


READ THE TEACHER'S BOOK. Well, you don't have to read the entire thing, but the beginning portion before the first lesson will teach you so much. If you just try and dive into the first chapter with your kids, I think you will be pulling your hair out by midpoint in lesson 1. It's not complicated, but there is a technique and some terminology you will want to know. Take the time to read the information.

Also, I would suggest mentally working through the first small part of lesson 1 so you can get a grasp on what it's like. It's not mandatory and you could easily teach it without doing this step, I just think it would help you see the flow of the lesson better.

Work at the pace your child needs, and you need. If you can go faster because you have a child that's does well in grammar, by all means move ahead. Don't skip, but move ahead. If your child is having an issue with a particular lesson, Essentials Second Edition is great in that you can just slow it down and take your time making sure he has a solid understanding of the concept before you move on to the next step.

Don't get overwhelmed. Yes, there are a lot of components to this system, but it's not crazy busy. You use each item in a logical manner and not all at once. Each lesson takes between 30 and 45 minutes, but it's not draggy and boring. You move at a nice pace with fun activities to keep your kids engaged and wanting more.

My thoughts:

For your struggling reader or speller, this is a nice curriculum. It doesn't just say "A says a and A but sometimes it also says ..." Instead of having tons of exceptions, they teach the exceptions as a rule so you just get it from the beginning.

It's also is nice to have a set that kids of all levels can use to learn, not just your struggling readers. Kids who take to reading or spelling easily won't get bored and ask "grammar???? agaaaaaaiin?" They will be ready to participate.

Other views"

Logic of English is online, so check them out at:

Also, you can click the link below for other review crew thoughts on Logic of English products.

Logic of English Review

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Salvation Can Be Yours

With so much going on this weekend tied to easter bunnies, easter eggs, and chocolate, I wanted to take a moment to share the real meaning for anything we do. If we celebrate this weekend, let's forget those extras and just focus on what we claim to be honoring, the resurrection of our Savior. Salvation can be yours if you believe in Him who made all the days. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Our Week in Pictures - LOL Version

 He likes inequalities in math so much. Who knew?

 Scrabble, Scrabble. We play often. We usually use real words. LOL.

 Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Onions. My new favorite books for working in the garden and with our chickens. My little onions all sprouting and growing. We now have more than that sprouting after all the rain.

Because when Mom says put on your shoes to go feed the animals she didn't say put on matching shoes.

 My newest addiction. Trim Healthy Mama's homemade ranch dip. Seriously, if you knew how easy this was and how tasty, you wouldn't buy bottled anymore.

Yes, that is a spoon in the pico de gallo. Yes, he did eat it like a meal. Yes, I love my little crazy pico loving monkey.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Purim is Here!

Tonight is the start of Purim. (sundown 3/23 - sundown 3/24) Though we are not Jewish in our faith, our Savior was and, we love to celebrate and honor the times He did. We find such a richness in the holy days and celebrations tied to Biblical history and those days commanded of the Jews to celebrate. It's amazing, when you look at Jewish celebrations and Holy days, how they all point to the need of a Savior and to the beautiful Savior that came to us so long ago.

If you don't know the story of WHY Purim exists, let me share that with you now.
A long time ago there was a King of the Persian Empire named Ahashverush.  At a very lavish and decadent party, while rather drunk, he gave an order to his Queen, Vashti. She denied his order and he had her executed for her disobedience. This left him to search for a new queen. 
Eventually the woman chosen to fill the role of Queen was a Jewish woman named Esther. As a principled and morally sound woman grounded in Jewish values, Esther did everything she could to avoid being chosen. Nevertheless, the King favored her above all and she was chosen to be the next Queen, all the while hiding her Jewish identity. 
Esther had a very close and loving relative named Mordechai who remained supportive of her through her tragic situation.  Mordechai stayed close to the palace in order to hear news from Esther and it was there that he overheard of a plan to assassinate the King.  He quickly told Esther of the plan and Esther, in Mordechai’s name, told the King.  Although the King had chronicled that Mordechai the Jew had saved his life in his Book of Chronicles, the good deed was quickly forgotten. 
Enter Haman- King Ahashverush’s anti- Semitic and narcissistic prime minister who required the people to bow down to him. When Mordechai refused to bow, Haman became enraged and devised a calculated plan to destroy Mordechai together with the entire Jewish people.  In order to convince the King to allow him to carry out his plans, Haman went to the King with his anti-Semitic propaganda and lies thereby making the Jews appear worthless in the eyes of the King.   Influenced by Haman, the King permitted him to kill all the Jews on one day, the 13th day in the Jewish month of Adar, as per Haman’s plan. 

Once aware of this horrific plot Esther and Mordechai set in motion a very risky plan to save every Jewish man, woman and child in the vast empire.  Esther had to put her own self in mortal danger in order to save the lives of all the Jewish people.  The plan would take time and it involved her having to reveal her Jewish identity, appear before the King uninvited and make special preparations in order to expose Haman’s lies.  Only then could she petition to the King to annul the decree.  They were working with a deadline of the 13th of Adar and used their time wisely to plan, pray, fast and repent before attempting to save the Jewish nation. 

One night, the King was having difficulty sleeping and to pass the time, had his Book of Chronicles read to him.  Upon coming to the section regarding Mordechai having saved his life, King Ahashverush realized that Mordechai had never been royally honored for this! Meanwhile, as the King was thinking of ways in which to carry out the honor, Haman was on his way to visit the King.  He just couldn’t shake his hatred for Mordechai who had again refused to bow down to him.  He came to request permission for Mordechai to be hanged in advance of the 13th of Adar. Haman had it all worked out and would hang Mordechai on the gallows he had built for this purpose.  Upon Haman’s visit, and before Haman could ask for permission, the King asked his loyal prime minister for his suggestion regarding a suitable honor for someone whom the King favored.  Haman thought that he was the one in favor and thus suggested that it be regaland publicized.  The King agreed and instructed Haman to take Mordechai out on the streets of Shushan and show him this honor!  In other words, Haman had to be the one to carry out the King’s request and show Mordechai honor- on the very night he intended to have him killed!  
 All the while, Esther had strategically planned a feast for the King and Haman set for shortly after this.  Haman was looking forward to his private audience with the royal couple as it reconfirmed his importance, however, it was there that Haman’s demise began. Esther used this planned opportunity to reveal herself as a Jew and petitioned to the King for her life and the lives of her people who were destined to die due to the decree Haman had influenced the King to sign off on. The King, having been previously unaware that his beloved Esther was a Jew, was angered at having been duped by Haman had him hanged on the very gallows that Haman had built to hang Mordechai!  The King then made Mordechai the new prime minister who then set a new decree for the 13th of Adar - allowing the Jews kill their enemies instead!!

If you don't know this story well, or are interested in more of the story's details, check out the Book of Esther in the Bible. Yep, the whole book. Really, it's not long.

So, what does one do to celebrate Purim? Let me start with this.

As with our celebration of Hanukkah, we do not celebrate these days to put ourselves under the law. We are redeemed by the sacrifice Christ made on the cross and His defeat of death by rising from the grave. Under His grace are we given eternal life.

No, we celebrate as a way to honor Him. If you look at all the holy days and celebrations in the Jewish history, you will see one thing. You will find they all point to a savior, and, more importantly, to Jesus as that Savior. Add in that our Savior celebrated Biblical holy days, and we want to walk as He walked. We don't have 100% proof He celebrated Purim since it's considered a minor feast, but He celebrated Hanukkah (as noted in the Bible) so minor feasts were something He took as important. There is some evidence that He probably celebrated and that it was the feast mentioned in John 5.

Now, on to the fun of Purim. Yes, it is known as a fun celebration.

  • Normally time is spent in worship service if your church has one. Since ours doesn't, we will spend the evening at home reading God's word, singing songs of worship, and celebrating our need for a Savior and that fulfillment in Christ. When the reading of Esther happens, it's fun to boo or stomp your feet when Haman is mentioned and cheer when Mordechai is spoken about.
  •  The eating of the Hamantaschen. Yummy. Jelly filled little cookies, also known as Haman's ears. 
  • Gifts for others. This is usually food, already cooked food. It's common to deliver these yourself, and often on the way home from your worship time. These are frequently tasty treats. 
  • Charity - giving to the poor is a big part of this feast. It's a way of expressing thanks for our Salvation and deliverance. 
  • Purim meal - party in the dining room. Kids often dress up, you light the candle, and eat fun and festive foods at the meal. This should be a joyous time. Don't forget more Hamantaschen. 
There are three blessings of Purim that are recited during worship services.

So, take a moment to thank God for His only begotten Son today. Without Him there would be no true deliverance and salvation. There would be no reason for celebration. There would be no reason for hope. 

By the way, want a simple tutorial on Hamantaschen? Check it out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 Movie Review of Agenda 2

My family was given the opportunity to review Agenda 2: Masters of Deceit for My husband and I settled in for a movie night on the sofa after the kids went to bed. Hey, what's better than date night with a movie all curled up with your sweetie.

See his end all warm and lonely down there? Yep, his blanket as well. We are having some chilly nights suddenly.
My hubby just got up to shush some little boys, so I thought I would take a minute to share what he and I thought about it and also a few words about

Agenda 2: Masters of Deceit is a documentary by Curtis Bowers. It starts with him talking a bit about his time serving our nation politically and how his eyes were opened to some pretty scary trends in our country that affect not only the political scene but every aspect of our daily lives. 

Education. Freedom. Environmentalism. Economy. Corruption of the Evangelical Church (that's right). The list goes on with topics this film and it's maker discuss, dive into, and break open the startling realizations of their common starting point. It shows the clear lines leading back to communism in our government from many years ago and how those small sparks have ignited a firestorm in our nation today. 

Our Thoughts:

I want to start with what my husband said about the film and it's message. I will share my thoughts in a minute. 
I really enjoyed it. I felt it could have been presented in a different way. But, considering what their budget probably was, I thought they did a very good job. 

I never realized there was a correlation between environmentalism and communism and the dissolution of our freedoms and the influence of non-christian people at the direction of the U.N as pretty much a direct onslaught on the Christian community.  

I was shocked to know the U.N. was so heavily controlled by Russian and China influences. 

I liked the schematic showing how certain people were connected with groups and pushing their agenda but would have liked more facts and details showing that relationship.

On to my thoughts. First, I thought it was well done considering it was an independent film. We try very hard to financially support Christian films and film makers. So I was pleased with how well this one was pulled off considering it's genre.

I felt,as did my husband, that the movie leaned a bit too heavy on the "communists are causing all these issues" instead of really diving into the true issue, our running from God and His word. Communists are merely pawns in this game and the players are much, much bigger than a few world leaders could ever dream to be.

I did like that, at the end, they brought it back to hitting our knees before God, repenting of our part of His hand being removed from our nation, and then getting up, dusting ourselves off, and taking action. That's right, it had a multi-part action plan for Christians to make a difference. The best part was, they weren't hard tasks. Get out of debt, educate your kids, pray, witness, invite people to church, make sure you are in a good church that teaches the unadulterated word of God, support local banks and businesses, buy from the U.S., get involved, and so on. These are all doable things.

A few last thoughts and I will close this review and share a bit about the company that provided this good film to us.

  1. This isn't a movie for young children, in my opinion. There is no foul language, no inappropriate scenes, or that type of issue. But, the topics are pretty heavy and could be scary for younger audiences. I would suggest teen and above for this movie. 
  2. There is NO CLOSED CAPTIONING. Most of you don't know that I have some genetic hearing loss. I can hear still, and probably will never fully lose my hearing. But, it's to the point I need a hearing aid at my next ENT visit. So, closed captioning is very important to me. This movie does not have that ability. I know they had a small budget and that technology costs extra, so I don't fault them for it. I just wanted to share in case you need CC as well. My blu-ray player, TV, etc couldn't access any CC ability on this film and the company told me it was not enabled. 

Ah yes, the company that provided the movie. is a Christian movie company that strives to provide movies that Christians can watch with their families without the junk of typical Hollywood flicks.

They have a very nice selection of movies and free shipping offers. Hello, I love free shipping.

I did have an opportunity to deal with this company when I had an issue (the closed captioning issue I mentioned above). They were fast, courteous, and I felt offered a fix above and beyond what I ever expected from a company. I think they live up to their company's detailed stated beliefs all centered around honoring God.

I highly recommend Agenda 2: Masters of Deceit and the company,, that provided it to us. Review

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Just This ...

I can't add much because this describes my younger son so well. And, number 7 ... woo hoo hoo boy, does that lead to some exhausting times and very long lessons that end up taking days because of the ideas he comes up with to add to and make a school lesson we had better, deeper, more fun.

Teacher-y Confessions - 9 Things I Wish People Knew About Highly Gifted Children

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Honesty Time

Shame, shame on me.
Did you know this week was St. Patrick's day? Yeah, the holiday where you traditionally ... um ... I guess you wear green, pinch people, and drink beer with food coloring in it?
I know it's the same day every year. March 17th. When I was a kid I always made sure to wear green because pinching the snot out of each other in school was a national past time.

This year? Nothing. We didn't wear green on purpose. We didn't pinch anyone. I never drink beer no matter what color it is. It was just Thursday. We did our make up lesson for the boys music class that their teacher had to reschedule from Monday.

Want to hear a worse confession?

Until I spoke to my mother-in-law about a completely unrelated topic, I forgot Easter was just around the corner. My memory was triggered when she was subtle saying to me, "so, what are the plans for Easter". My eloquent response was, "ummmmmmm". Yeah. That one makes me feel far worse.

The problem is, Easter is weeks before Passover. (4/22) This confuses me even more. The "last supper" was Christ's celebration of Passover. So, how is Passover nearly a month AFTER Easter? Maybe I am not the only one who is confused here.

So, we forgot to wear green and made no plans to dye eggs. I am pathetic. The plans for Easter I can fix. Unless I forget again. Which could happen. Only time will tell. I could be that person showing up at my inlaw's home at the last minute because they called me when we got home from church saying, "where are you guys".

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Do We Have a Right to Be Offended?

I was reading an article (linked below) a few days ago about being offended by others speech on college campuses. It really made me start thinking about the topic of freedom of speech vs. being offended by others.

Tennessee Bill Would End Students Gripefest

Let me start with this ...

I am part of a community that is very big on verbiage. Don't say the R word, use person first language when talking about a child, etc. Oh, we could go on for hours with how you must communicate with people in the special needs and medical problems world. Honestly, we should just print a "Talking to Parents of Kids with Special Needs for Dummies" book. It's amazing anyone wants to talk to us at all. Add in everyone else who is offended by anything else anyone says any time and any place and I am shocked anyone ever opens their mouth.

College campuses are starting to become a ridiculous jungle of whiny baby protecting with the coddling going on in the now dubbed "Safe Spaces".

Infantilized College Students Need Safe Space to Avoid Scary Free Speech

One has to wonder if these kids in college will declare their office a safe space when they get their first job where such things as "you didn't do this report like I needed", "meeting in 15", "we need to talk about your performance" and "you're fired" can't be said because they don't like it.

When is it enough?

When did we, the land of the free, home of the brave, decide we had an inalienable right to NOT be offended? We are the biggest offenders of all time. I bet a certain leader of a certain country that is known for liking tea was a bit offended when said tea went off the side of the boat. I bet there was a lot of offense when those names were signed on that piece of paper stating we weren't going to take it anymore.

What happened to us?

I don't know. I just don't. It's to the point I want to just shake my head almost everyday. I used to be one of these people who was slightly offended if you didn't use my rules for speech around me. But, as I started to think about it, I couldn't figure out how I decided I had a right to put those rules onto others.

Is some speech rude? Yes, very much.
Is some speech polite? Yes, very much.
Are some words better off not said? Absolutely.
Do I have a right to be offended if my neighbor says something non-threatening that I don't like? NO!

Let's see what God's word says about being offended. I mean, maybe we DO have a right, a holy right, to be offended.
The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. Proverbs 19:11

Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: James 1:19
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 1 Peter 4:14 
Oh, wait, that last one gives us permission, though it would not be us wanting to be offended by hurt nonetheless. However, that's only in the name of Christ and someone saying poopy in front of me does not fall under that category. 
So, what do we do? 
Simple ... GROW UP!
If someone offends you here are the steps you should take:
  1. Ask yourself if you are just being far, far too sensitive. If so, get over it. 
  2. If not, ask yourself does this matter in the grand scheme of life. If not, get over it. 
  3. If so, ask yourself if the way you want to handle it will destroy your testimony. If so, get over it or change what your reaction is. 
  4. If not, talk to the person with respect and the love of Christ. You might win an eternal brother that day. 
  5. If they refuse to stop, ramp it up, or anything other than being kind, WALK AWAY. Just shut your mouth, turn around, and walk off. 
I have no right to dictate other people's language. Yes, even as a special needs Mom. I have no right to demand people not say certain words, use certain terminology for my kids issues, and so on. It doesn't matter to them. Honestly, it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of life, and all it will do is cause division. 

Best one I have seen yet: Yes, that even means if I have a child with developmental delays and my friend calls me up to tell me her child just learned to ride a bike and is very excited. Yes, I know people that are very offended at that type of phone call/conversation. You are not to call them/talk to them in a store or social setting and tell them anything good your child does if their child can't or isn't doing it yet because it's offensive. However, you MUST listen to all of their vents, gripes, and concerns with their children anytime they call, see you at a store, or visit your home without rolling your eyes, sighing or getting tired of it. Of course, you can't comment because that's offensive since you aren't a parent of children with special needs and, therefore, have no clue what you are talking about with your advice. Where is God's love in this scenario? It's not all about us. We have got to love others and be concerned about them, be excited for them, and be a true friend to them no matter what our circumstances are in life.

As I said, what happened to us? 

It all boils down to three words. GET OVER IT! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I Have a Pinterest Page!


I joined the ranks and have a Pinterest page. I have had a private page for quite a long time. But, after seeing, over and over, items I would like to share with my readers, I decided to make a page to share the fun and informative resources with you all. 

So, head on over and check out the pins I have so far. Also, feel free to follow me. I would love to follow you as well, so say hello. 

Just click the big red P and off you will go. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Demme Learning Math-U-See Digital Pack Review

If you have ever used Demme Learning Math-U-See in the past, the little green blocks have become an old friend to you. We all know them well. However, they now have a product that brings those green blocks to a whole new level in their digital packs, which I was given the opportunity to review. 

Demme Learning Math U See Review
We used Demme Learning Math-U-See Beta Level Digital Pack for our son. Their concept is one I think is very interesting and different. They are a multi-sensory mastery based math program that covers every level of mathematics from primer (think pre-K, early Kindergarten) to pre-calculus. Mastery programs, unlike spiral, means your child will grasp and understand the concepts before being taught a new big concept. 
So, what's a digital pack? Well, I am so glad you asked me that. A digital pack still provides the textbook for kids. You also still get the wonderful teaching help that we have all come to know and love. But your manipulatives and videos are digital. This means no more tiny green blocks making you cry as you walk over them in the middle of the night. No more pink blocks going click, click around the kitchen because your cat found them and just happens to love how they scoot across the floor. Also, if you are like us, there's no concern with dropping them or losing them on the floor in the SUV. Roadschooling's friend. 
In the Beta Digital Pack, you receive:
  • 12-month access to Beta streaming instruction videos
  • Instruction manual PDF
  • Lesson solutions
  • Skip Count Sons MP3 and Songbook PDFs
  • 12-month access to digital manipulatives - using Chrome or Safari browsers

Demme Learning Math U See Review
On Demme Learning Math-U-See's website you have the ability to have all purchased levels at your fingertips. Once you log in, you have a drop down menu that will show every level so you can have a one-stop location for your kids. You won't have to have multiple log-ins for each level. 

Once there, you have everything you need on the screen to begin your lesson. It all starts with the videos, right? When you choose your lesson for the day ...
The video, manipulatives, and all other resources pop up ready to use. 
My son liked having the videos online, but he loved the digital manipulatives. He is a kid who enjoys working on the computer or iPad, so this gave him that freedom. He also liked how easy it was to use and he could move around the house for math. He loves to move, so he might start on the table and end on the floor or sofa. This moves right along with him. Portability is one of the best features of the digital packs
So, about those manipulatives. I bet you are quite curious what they look like. Well, let me show you.
Let me stop and give you a quick tip. You will notice, on the right side of the screen in each lesson, that the different resources all fall under a nice heading to group them together. You have "Lesson Summary", "Lesson Solutions", "Test Solutions", etc. The only part I found confusing, but just mildly so, was where to find the manipulatives. You actually click the bolded words, "Digital Manipulatives" which I thought was the heading for that item. Other than that, this is all such a breeze. 
The manipulatives board is wonderful. With one click you have every block from units to 100s. You have a field to work with those blocks and, well, manipulate them for your math lesson. An ADDED bonus is that you can write on the field itself. So, if your child has a hard time moving from book to screen, you (or he) can actually write what you are working on at the moment on the screen. It can also be used as scratch paper for the problems. 

Our Thoughts:

My son took to this quickly. He was able to work the manipultives with ease, liked being able to use the screen as his work surface for quick figuring, and had no problems moving from his experiences with the physical blocks to the digital manipulatives. 

We used this daily and worked through the lessons. I will admit, and I am sure there are a few of you that will know what I mean, he likes to watch the videos himself. He loves Mr. Demme's style and just his personality on-screen. Honestly, I let him watch the videos meant to teach me how to present the lesson because he just enjoys them and picks it up quickly. I watch with him and then am there to help him as he moves into the lesson if he has any questions. 

I like that this is incredibly simple on the iPad. Oh, it's easy on our laptop, but the iPad brings a touch screen quality to the manipulatives that really make it fun for the kids. If you have internet access on a tablet, you can take this with you and the kids can be done with their math lesson by the time you get to the store. OK, OK, by the time WE get to the store. We do live a bit further away than most with us being in the country. 

Many times companies come out with new additions or tweaks to their products like this and they dump resources or some of the quality during that transition. Not Demme Learning Math-U-See. Not only did they keep everything we love about the traditional physical pack, they added items to enhance the learning experience. That's what makes them top notch in my book. 

Words won't do this product justice. So, my suggestion is to visit their website, look around, and make the leap into being a Demme Learning Math-U-See Digital Pack family. 
Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review

Monday, March 14, 2016


Self-stimulatory behavior, also known as stimming and self-stimulation, is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or repetitive movement of objects common in individuals with developmental disabilities, but most prevalent in people with autistic spectrum disorders. - Wikipedia
Stimming! It's one of my least favorite aspects of Autism. It can show up in various forms depending on the child, and there are as many ways to stim as there are kids on the spectrum. It's painful to watch a child HAVE to do something with his body, a toy, a random object, etc.

Our son used to have far more stims than he does now. But, he still has very obvious and prevalent stims, even in public. He swishes his hands back and forth through his hair, runs a lot (not away or to places, just like pacing on fast forward), and makes some barely discernible noises while he runs. We have yet to stop this activity or turn it into a more subtle form so he can do it privately when in public to help him focus and feel comfortable but not need to be up and moving so much.

He says he's happy when he's doing it. He tells me he's thinking about things he wants to create or things that he's happy about. So, in that regard I never want him to stop stimming. But, I also know that, as an adult, he's not going to be able to hold down a job if he has to do these things as much as he does now, so we have to help him move from that need in a way that doesn't hurt his creativity and flow but also helps him be able to function in the real world. It's a very fine line you have to walk as a parent of a child with Autism.

So, a post that all rounds up with "I have no idea what the answer is". I love those. I want him to be himself. But I also want him to be the self that can accomplish anything he wants to accomplish in life. I want him to be comfortable in his own skin and also know that if he wants a job, situation in life, or goal something like a behavior won't stop him or slow him down. It's one thing to stim if you want (and we let him have total control of that as long as it's not dangerous for him to do the behavior - i.e. running stim while in a store or parking lot is not safe), it's another to HAVE to do it. That second part s what we are trying to help him with in his daily life. The quest is an honorable one, but one that is very hard to win.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Stomping Poppies


I think poppies are a beautiful flower. Maybe it's because I am partial to red. Maybe it's too much time spent watching The Wizard of Oz. 

No matter the reason, I think poppies are lovely. Even poets felt their beauty was enough to be cherished forever in print.

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
by John McCrae (1872-1918)

But, did you know there is a context in which poppies are not treated with such respect? I recently learned this term and it makes so much sense to me being the Mom of a child with gifts that others don't have. 
Tall Poppy Syndrome
The tall poppy syndrome is a pejorative term primarily used in the United KingdomAustraliaNew Zealand, and other Anglosphere nations to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers. This is similar to begrudgery, the resentment or envy of the success of a peer.
A similar saying occurs in Chinese and Japanese culture that translates to "The nail that stands out gets hammered down". - Wikipedia

I am sure many of you have seen this. We often feel like putting people in their place who we feel are better at us than something, and I am not sure why. So what? They have a talent or are gifted in an area we aren't. It doesn't make us less, inferior, or unworthy. It makes us different. If we all carried the same gifts and talents the world would be boring and no one could find their passion.

But, when you see it happen to a child, it's just sad. We have someone in our lives that does this any chance she gets. She is trying so hard to best us, even when she starts the conversation about our children and asks questions about them. I am thinking she believes we see a Mom who has kids that are far more awesome than our kids. But, what we really see is a woman who is insecure, sad, and full of fear. Instead of thinking her kids are better than mine (by the way, they are in high school and college, hard to compare the accomplishments of a 20 year old to an elementary aged student) I feel sorry for her. I wonder why she needs to cut the heads off the tall poppies in her life. What is she missing that makes her want to do this? Needless to say, we won't be sharing the news of our son being gifted with her. I just can't deal with more poppy stomping. And I won't put my son in her line of fire.

So, we smile, nod, and walk away. There's no reason to engage her. Her desire is to drag our kids and us down, so we don't allow this to happen. The next time you meet up with a Poppy stomper, take a harder look at them. You will see the insecurities and sadness we see in our acquaintance. Once you do, I hope your feelings turn to pity and sadness for their lives rather than anger or frustration at what they are doing. Let your poppies thrive and keep those clipper happy gardeners out because, what they ultimately need, is God. He can fill whatever void they have in their lives that make them desire to hurt others.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Schoolhouse Review Crew Resource

Hey all, I wanted to pop in and share some news.

First, did you know that the Schoolhouse Review Crew I write for has a Facebook page that has all sorts of resources and information on it? No? Well, you need to go check it out.

TOS Homeschool Crew

Second, did you also know that April doesn't just bring us May flowers, it also brings some giveaways on my blog? That's right. The best part is, everyone wins. If you want it, you get it. There is no hoping your name is drawn, hoping your number comes up. I can't wait to share what I have picked especially for you guys. So, make sure you check back often.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Crazy Kind of Week

We visited my Aunt and Uncle last weekend. It was wonderful. My cousin brought her family over a few times. My kids love to play with their little cousins. It's a great time for all. Exhausting, but great.

On our way home this happened ...
Wondering what that is? That's looking out our front SUV window at the sheets of rain falling. No fog, no foggy windows, that's rain. You can scarcely see another dark vehicle and white 18-wheeler in front of us. Good times.

We started to read this book ...
I have a great review of some supplemental items for this book coming up soon. Be on the look out for it. My kids are enjoying the book a lot. They haven't seen the movie, so they have no expectations of what it should be, which I love.

I started this book last weekend ...
It's such a good book. It's like someone followed us around the last few years and then wrote about our younger son's life. I highly recommend it. I have a few others I am going to start soon.
We have accomplished very little since getting back from our little trip. We were wiped Tuesday since we got home that day so late. Our younger son woke up complaining of a "spicy neck" which is usually a sign of his reflux acting up. I tried helping him and got him settled back into bed. He woke up the next morning with a "little bit of owie in my throat". I treated that hoping for it to just be a little allergy going on with him. Last night it was big owies and nothing was helping. I looked in his throat and found a suspicious spot. So, off to the doctor we went this morning. He feels like he's been hit with a Mac truck (nasty nose, sore throat, no appetite, tired). He gave us an antibiotic and I actually agreed with him on this one. I am not one to jump on a pill every single time my kids are sick, but he's feeling really nasty and I think he needed it.

That means the fun times came of trying to find meds that he could take. Just take a look at prescription meds the next time you are in the store. They are so pretty with their pink, yellow, purple, and rainbow assortment of colors. Yeah, those colors are dyes, even in the pill form. Most don't come dye free. Add in gluten, soy, and dairy (this is a place that his apple issue doesn't pop up most of the time), and it's a gamble on finding a medication for him. We found one that was safe except for the dyes. We discovered that they had a capsule form of that med that could be opened. Yes, it had dyes, but only in the capsule part, not the actual medication. So, we now open them up, put them in a bite of cashew milk ice cream (tangent - try cashew milk ice cream, especially snickerdoodle flavor - YUM), and he's good to go.

It also means we have to amp up his probiotics. Gotta keep that tummy healthy.

And that's been our week. Fun but crazy.

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