Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bird-Frog on the Pond

Frog has really noticed the ducks and geese flying over our house this year. I'm working on a migration component to our fall home school curriculum. He also has two big black crows who come to visit him regularly in our front yard. They know he will leave treats behind. We went to the waterfront today to take a walk and play in the sand. The ducks were not in the marshy pond and the seagulls seemed to be playing somewhere else. I forgot to put the memory card back in Diva's camera so I guess we wouldn't have gotten a picture anyways -

So I'll just post this nostalgic look an Frog and his first duck

For more "Special Exposure Wedensday" favorite memory photos go to
5 Minutes for Special Needs.

Smart Moves - Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head

Our "Try it Tuesday" is a book recommendation.

Smart Moves - Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head

I'm currently reading this book for a discussion on a developmental therapy support group list-serve. I've read a lot of books that explain the senses and the concept of sensory integration and I've read books with ideas for sensory diet activities. This book does more to explain how sensory input and movement initiate, influence, promote, and re-mediate brain development. It also emphasises the importance emotion plays in the ability to learn and reason. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is home schooling a child (special needs or neuro-typical), anyone whose child is receiving or would benefit from sensory integration therapy, and anyone who works with school age children.

If you've read this book I'd love to hear your opinions and experiences with it.

For Here for more "Try This Tuesday" posts.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Drive #3

On the way home from the birthday party -

- J.L. Seagull

- the committee

- Mr. Goose.

So nice of Mr. Goose to pose for us. We'll be using his picture in our fall and winter migration studies at home school on the pond!

- Neighborhood sunset

Neighborhood sunset turned out to be anything but peaceful. Diva noticed a strange truck stop on the road in front of our house. I told her not to worry, and came to the porch to see who it might be. I didn't recognize the truck and couldn't see the occupants. They made no move to acknowledge me. I got my camera and went to the driveway as they pulled away and turned left at our intersection. The truck proceeded to park about 100 feet down the road and again sat, motor off, for five minutes. Truck moved about 100 feet past the next house and stopped. At the end of the road the truck turned back the did the same thing on the other side of the road. I called a neighbor who said they were watching this too and she was on her way out to get the license plate. The truck left and headed down the same road on the opposite side of the intersection. I just finished giving a description of events and showing my oh so blurry picture to a Sheriff's Deputy. We are locking the doors tonight!

For more Sunday Drive pictures go see Up North Mommy

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We are still here!

I'm still here. I've taken a break from the blog to work on the fall home school curriculum Frog and I will try to follow. And Frog has been having some late nights or early mornings (we are partying from 12:30 - 4:30 A.M.) - we are feeling a little sleepy around here. So today Frog, Diva and I got out of the house. We made a quick trip to the grocery store where Frog pushed the cart and did a great job staying with us. Then we went downtown to check out the new doughnut shop and took a walk to look at some of the local art about town.

Photos courtesy of Diva.

Frog managed to stay away until just after 7pm tonight - here's hoping for a full nights sleep.

Good Night :0)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

That Frog Can Dance!

Last week was Diva's annual dance camp. Unlike regular dance class, the dancers meet every single day for a week and the class runs just a little longer than usual. At the end of the week, the dancers get to raid the wardrobe closet and put together their own costumes then put on a short program for the families.

I took Little Frog with me when I went to get Diva on Thursday. We got there a little early and I told Frog he could come into the studio where the girls were dancing if he was quiet. Frog loves to watch dancing on TV, but he had never seen his sister "perform." He got very excited when the music started. He kept referencing me with a big smile and very communicative glances. He began to move with the music. When the dancing started, he needed to jump! I eased him into my lap and he watched with rap attention, vocalizing a little, but trying very hard to be quiet. When the music stopped, Frog would clap and clap - his way of saying "do it again" but in this context it worked perfectly as applause or "encore!" We only had to leave the room once. When we returned, Frog rocked to the music on his knees and never took his eyes off the dance. When class was over, the girls filed passed him and he tried to make eye contact with them as he clapped and clapped. Frog is an excellent audience - and I think there is a dancer inside there :0)

Diva is an amazing ballerina. This week was more about jazz, so it was a little different for her. The girls learned 4 dances for the show. The last one, a jazz combination, was really challenging. The girls all had the combo down, but they and the teacher kept changing the order of the choreography making the dance confusing for the girls. It was also very hot on Friday. By the time they got through the class, they were almost too pooped to put on the show - but the show must go on!

I've spliced it together a little and put it to the song they used for the last Jazz number. Diva is a bit perplexed by the slowed motion of the video, but I like seeing their moves in detail. Diva(if you are new to this blog)is the blond with the ponytail, black leotard, green sequined skirt and no hat. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

6 Unspectacular Quirks

Tagged, I'm it. Hellokittiemama at The Bon Bon Gazett has tagged me for the Six Unspectacular Quirks meme. Quirks? Me? Well ok, maybe a few (dozen).

Thems's the rules..
1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks you possess.
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Let's see -

1. I'm a naturally introverted person and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Public Speaking. Honestly, give me a room full of people and a microphone and I'll go on for hours. Just don't ask me to come up with witty banter or small talk at a cocktail party - total deer in the headlights!

2. I am told I am "soft spoken" or, according to Hubby, I mumble. I think it must be a sensory thing, because I can hear me just fine - I can hear what is being said in the next room just fine - I can hear what Hubby mumbles under his breath just fine (that one can be a little annoying for both of us). When I am being herd, I FEEL LIKE I'M YELLING - Can you hear me now?

3. 12 years of school, 5 years of college and 3 years of law school and I can't spell. Well, OK, I can spell but I'm prone to numerous and strange mistakes. And not just the letter reversal kind, I get letters into words that have no business being there. I tend to cut and paste 90 percent of my comments to your blogs into a word document and spell check them. Even that doesn't always work!

4. I've been cooking since I was 10. I'm good at it and I love my food cooked my way. But I don't like to make my own salads. There is nothing wrong with the way I make a salad. Everyone else likes my salads. But I only like salads made by other people.

5. I'm a secret dancer. Ballet in the kitchen while I do the dishes, Belly Dancing moves while I brush my teeth, Flamenco in the living room just for fun, but nobody will ever see me dance. On the dance floor, I'm just as awkward as I was as a teenager.

6. I'm drawn to stories of the paranormal. I don't know why - I've never had a paranormal experience, nothing paranormal runs in my family, it creeps out Hubby and Diva. But ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated.

OK, now your all thinking "just back away, back away slowly . . ."

Not so fast - it's time to pass the torch.

Nicole at All 4 My Gals
Krist at My Life for the World to See
Jenny at Special Considerations
Mia's Mama
Born Just Right
Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes

If you haven't been tagged and want to share, consider yourself next on my list. Leave me a comment so I can add a link to your page :0)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I revisited my autism book collection recently as I moved my office / home school into the playroom. Amazon's stock must have gone up when we got Little Frog's diagnosis - the collection is immense. I noticed that certain books came back to me like old friends. When I stopped to consider what they had in common the word Respect immediately jumped out. These books, many of which were written or contributed to by people with autism, gave me a perspective much different than the ABA manuals, diet books, and other "how to fix behavior" books I'd come across or been referred to by educators. These books gave me a glimpse of what it might be like from Frog's perspective. Above all, these books told me that my son is who he is for a reason and it's OK. They showed me how I could be helpful in showing my son the world and teaching him how to get along in it without worrying about changing him. These books allowed me to let go of some of the worry and the frantic search for answers and just enjoy building a relationship with Frog. I still worry about what the future holds, a hostile world, and the pitfalls along the way, but I've learned that my little boy is a very strong and resourceful individual and I know he will find his way - his family will be here to help.

The Child with Special Needs

Engaging Autism

The Soul of Autism

Autism and the God Connection

The Fabric of Autism

Lucy's Story

Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone

The Autism Answer Book

Frog Claims a Condo

OOPS! 5MSN Site and I are not communicating well today. For the September 9, 2008 SEW Post go HERE

5 Minutes for Special Needs

This was taken on Christmas day three years ago. Frog was not into presents and a morning full of gift exchanging was almost more than he could take. He especially hated that everyone wanted to watch him open his gifts and wanted him to play with the new toys - toys he had not had a chance to really meet yet. He still did not really play with toys unless they belonged to his sister. Diva got a very large doll house that Christmas. When all the gifts were opened and the paper cleared away, Diva's dad and grandpa put the dollhouse together and placed it in the hall closet (still affectionatly known as "Barbie Land") where it could be shut away when not in use. This was the gift Frog took an interest in -

For more Special Exposure Wednesday pictures and stories go to 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Contact Information

Try This Tuesday

Frog has reached the age where most of his peers are memorizing their address and phone number and learning how to recite them to a trusted adult in an emergency. Frog is non-verbal and while he has ways of communicating with family, he typically avoids strangers. We had been concerned about what would happen if he got separated from us when we were away from home. But a couple of months ago he left our front yard and was found in the middle of the intersection in front of our house, by the assistant superintendent of schools no less. Because he was not able to give any indication of who he was or where he belonged, the police were called. This happened within about 7 minutes of him leaving us at the dinning room table and squeezing through a gap in the fence. We've looked at various tracking devices, but they all seem cumbersome and some are quite technical (would probably not stand up to submersion is a fountain or puddle). We have tried various bracelets in the past, but they were too irritating and distracting for Frog. Our current solution is this temporary tattoo

We ordered it from Safety Tat and had my cell phone number put on it. Fortunately, we haven't had a chance to "use" it yet. But I feel better knowing that Frog can "give" his phone number if the need arises. It is bright and colorful and a little sparkly, but you would have to look really close to read what it says. My hope is that it would appear to be like any temporary tattoo the other kids might be playing with unless someone was looking for a way to identify my child. It washes off with a little soap, warm water and a little scrubbing.

For more Try It Tuesday posts go to 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Also, Check out the Penny Walk at Aspgertopia!

And My Life for the World to see for an Amazon.com Giveaway Congratualtions, Krist, on your 10,000th hit!!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Art at the Pond


Inspired by our trip to The Seattle Art Museum Diva and I decided today was a good day for some art. In hopes of coaxing Frog to join us, we choose finger paints outside.

Frog has never been into art projects. He will usually scribble a line or two to humor me, then do everything possible to get out of there. We bought some large rectangular bee's wax crayons - he likes the way they feel when he bites them. He used to bring home lots of fun and creative art projects from school. I suspect we displayed a lot or Para Educator Julie's art on our refrigerator. For our home school projects we try to keep everything very sensory based - playing with colored water, pouring birdseed over peanut buttered pine cones, dropping feather or sand or rocks onto a gluey piece of paper, etc.

Today I taped finger painting paper to our fence and filled our sensory table with small tubs of different colored finger paints and a big bowl of water. Frog was enticed to join us by the big bowl of water. He also enjoyed the squishy paint. With a little hand over hand he agreed to participate putting paint to paper and moving it about. The end result was really something interesting. I took the paints and water back into the house and came back with my camera.



There was not much left to take a picture of but Frog had gone back to the art on his own. When asked if he liked his picture he clapped twice - that's YES in Frog speak

Here is Diva's creation for the day -


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Frogs Go To Town

In lieu of long family vacations, and in the interest of giving everyone their fair share of parental attention, we take each of the children on the occasional overnight trip with mom and dad. We find that Frog handles and enjoys the trip better when mom and dad are not splitting their attention and patience between the siblings, and Diva relishes the opportunity to be the center of attention once again.

Frog had a trip to Seattle in April for a Neurology appointment. To make it more of a family outing, we also went to the aquarium and watched the otters, the Seattle Center where we ate lunch and played at the Children's Museum, Jump Planet where we bounced and ran and bounced some more, and then spent the night at hotel with a swimming pool. Lots of fun and lots of memories.

This weekend was Diva's turn. Diva has a new camera that we put to good use. As you can see, she was in her element.

First order of business was getting to Seattle. This involves a ride on a Ferry Boat and a salted, soft pretzel.

Next we checked into the Sheraton. The Seattle Sheraton has a great swimming pool on the 35th floor with amazing city views. Unfortunately, the pool was closed for renovation. Not to dwell on the unexpected, we made reservation for dinner at The Melting Pot and left early to get some shopping in before we boarded the monorail. Unfortunately the monorail was not running - one train off line for renovation, the other broken down.

Our short walk became a real hike. By the time we located the restaurant, we were famished. It was a good thing too, because there was a lot of food. Cheese fondue starter, salads, mixed grill fondue entree (chicken, steak, salmon, and prawns), and a Smors Chocolate Fondue dessert. Diva had a ball.

We rolled out of the restaurant with enough time for a much shorter walk to the Seattle Center where we attended the Seattle Children's Theater production of High School Hamlet. This was the culmination of a summer drama program for high school students. They were very good and it looked like they had an awesome time putting the show together. We left the show with time to find Diva some Cotton candy before searching for a cab - none to be had in the city that night, apparently they were swamped with would be monorail riders. After waiting for 20 minutes or so below the Space Needle, we hiked back to the hotel where everyone collapsed until morning.

After a quick Continental breakfast, we stowed our bags with the bell captain, checked-out of the hotel and headed for the Seattle Art Museum for the Inspiring Impressionism exhibit and the family fun program. We were lead with a group of families quickly (we looked at three whole paintings) through the exhibit while the docent explained how an artist draws a human face. Then we headed to the art studio where the kids were given materials and instruction on how to draw their own or their parent's face. Diva did a quick pencil sketch of Mom, then we headed back to the exhibit so we could really look at the art. Many of the pieces were familiar, but there is something awe inspiring about seeing them in person, observing the dimensions of the brush strokes, seeing the texture of the paint, feeling the energy of the piece itself, and a little thrilling to see the artist's signature and know this is really what he/she created. We were hoping to see some of Degas' ballerinas. They were not a part of the collection but some of his other work was there - breathtaking. We followed the Museum with a quick lunch where Diva made her own Pizza. Then we headed to the university district to the Center Stage Dance Store to get Diva a properly fitted pair of ballet shoes for the upcoming year.

It was after 5pm when we made it back home. Frog was happy to see us and ready to come home from Grandma's, although all reports sounded like a good time was had by all at his sleepover. Diva picked out a large Lolly-pop for Frog which he enjoyed with relish today.

Sunday Drive #1

Kim at Up North Mommy has started a tradition of sharing photos on Sunday in a "Sunday Drive" post. I love this idea.

I remember the Sunday drives my family took when I was young (although my sister and I lobbied hard enough to change the meaning slightly - if we did not complain about being board or poke each other during the drive, we stopped for an ice cream Sunday on the way home :0).

I've decided to follow Up North Mommy's lead and share the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with my family and bloggerhood friends. Getting off to less than a rousing start, however, I could not coax my brood into the car. So I walked my property and took in the view from home -

Gray clouds hid the sun and threatened rain all day long. I took these pictures from the backyard around 7pm. The sun was starting to break through the gloom just in time to set.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

You like me. You really, really like me :0)

What a nice surprise - Krist at My Life for the World to See Awarded 4 Green and Speckled Frogs a Brilliante Weblog Award. Thank you Krist - I am really very honored by your recognition! :0)

Now I get the fun job of passing the recognition on.

1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you’ve nominated.

I have come across so many Brilliante Blogs over the years. Here are just a few - some are old friends and others are new discoveries. Check them out -

1. Trish at Another Piece of the Puzzle. I am especially moved by her post Life is the Puzzle re posted today for Beyond the Ordinary Blog Carnival

2. Julie at A Celebration of our Journey . Don't miss her video of Daniel watching "Cows goin Crazy!"

3. Kyra at This Mom Who has inspired and entertained me with her writing as well as introduced me to our home school curriculum and led me to many other outstanding blogs.

4. Hellokittiemama at Bon Bon Gazett who blogs about autism, kids and neurotypical divas, just like me :0)

5. Aspergertopia
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind... Dr. Seuss
I love her home school stories and ideas.

6. Melody at Slurping Life Insightful, funny posts with AMAZING photos and art.

7. Kim at Up North Mommy. Love reading about little miss throwsafit and all of her progress. Check out her Sunday Drive posts too!

8. And I could never forget Maddy at Whitterer on Autism the most talented and prolific autism / life blogger I've met. But, I bet she has received this award many times before.