Stories

Paper Roses

Hello again…we have been busy as usual. There is a definite buzz in the air with back to school everything, everywhere! Grateful to be homeschooling Bella which puts us in a different rhythm. Even still, Bella has been a bit more triggered this week. I observe that she is super sensitive to the change of seasons. All of her sensitivities are heightened right now. Observing this, we have made yoga a top priority. We now start our school day with Rodney Yee’s a.m. yoga and we’ve tried his beginner yoga class as well. Gaia is an amazing resource for us (…thank you aunt Donna for this beautiful gift to us). We have lots and lots of yoga teachers to choose from.

Yoga seems to take the edge off Bella’s anxiety. We’ll keep on with it and see how things evolve. Here is a picture of Bella and I doing yoga yesterday in our pj’s!

Hippobellamus blog picture - Bella and Mommy do yoga!
Bella and Mommy do a.m. yoga!

We decided to change things up a bit this week with our Monday watercolor painting. We painted white paper towels with watercolor paint and took on the challenge of making paper roses. We found this lovely idea here if you want to try it with your kids.

I’ve posted a little slide show below so that you can see each phase of this paper towel, rose making adventure! It took two days to complete these cute paper roses, but they really turned out great! Bella decided to put the roses on the desk in her bedroom. Nice bits of playful color to cheer things up during the fall and winter months.

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All else is reading, math, writing practice, types of sentences (a unit we just finished today), sight words, spelling, speech therapy, and French lessons. Our plates runneth over. Still, we’re taking time to smell the roses.

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The Potpourri of Life

We’ve been up to our usual and enjoying each moment to the fullest. The weather is finally cooling down a bit, and there is a hint of fall in the air.

The pictures below are from Bella’s Monday art focus. She is learning to follow directions using four step drawing techniques and is learning a little bit of French at the same time.

And here is Bella’s watercolor painting from Monday.

The picture hanging on our kitchen wall (..pictured below) is Bella’s “It’s a Small World” collage from her social studies focus last year. At the end of November this year, we are going to do a social studies unit called, “Christmas Around the World.” Bella is very excited about this. We will also be studying the diversity of celebrations around the world from various religions and cultures.

These cookies are truly as good as they look, and they are made with nut butter (peanut or almond), a bit of organic, cane sugar, salt and one egg. We add organic, chocolate, hazlenut spread (clean version of nutella) to the middle for extra yum. This was a nice treat for all of us on Sunday.

All summer long we gathered flowers as they fell off their stems. Now we have an enormous pile of beautiful petals, leaves, and stems. Bella has helped me a bit with the potpourri, and has especially loved helping me with the blending of essential oils. Her favorite blend is orange, cinnamon, clove, ginger. It is definitely my favorite blend for Christmas.

We’ve finished most of the jars of potpourri, and we are contemplating another large batch with the bounty of hydrangea bushes we have. We’ll have plenty to share as Christmas gifts this year, that is for sure.

We have used the lavender we harvested in July as the fixative for the potourri. Bella wasn’t very interested in crumbling the lavender off its stems. I did that part alone. However, she did love the smell of the freshly removed lavender. It is a plant we use often here at home.

Bella built herself a boat last Saturday. A Lego boat to be exact. She has loved the movie Moana, and requested the Moana and Maui lego set. She’s had a challenge to say the titles of movies and books lately. I told her that if she could say the title of the movie and the brand, Lego we could buy the set. She was able to say the titles, and is doing well to practice each day.

Autism is truly a puzzle. We observe how the pieces connect and disconnect. Doing our best to help Bella reconnect the pieces as needed. Staying in a place of acceptance helps immensely. The unpredictable nature of autism asks for predictability for children who experience autism, and the autism asks for as much flexibility as possible from the parents and caregivers. In remaining as fluid as possible with each situation, we are practicing what we hope Bella will ultimately achieve; flexibility.

And finally, here are a few pictures from our latest movie adventure.

Wishing everyone happiness, love and joy always.

Seaside Vibes

As usual, Bella has been drawing up a storm. However, I observe that her attention to detail is more and more refined. Her handwriting is markedly better and her designs and coloring are more precise.

This attention to detail shows up in her school work, the way she looks after her toys and keeps her room clean as well. She makes her bed each day and organizes her belongings. It is wonderful to watch her growing joy and self confidence in doing these things all by herself, and without any ABA rewards or reinforcements. She is purely doing from a place of being. Anyone who understands autism may get how big of a deal this is. Bella is learning to do things because they make her feel happy in her heart.

Bella’s dad and his wife celebrated their union and marriage recently, which was a lovely energy to participate in. Bella was present for a call from their seaside celebration and then drew some cute pictures to celebrate this special occasion. Here is one that she drew last Saturday.

In closing, here are Bella’s watercolor paintings from last Monday, and a picture of Bella during school this week. She is doing great!

Side Note: I am a believer in whatever works, or shows positive results for your specific child and situation. Both ABA and OT based approaches can be important. Here are a few links for your consideration: ABA: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba, ABA and OT: http://blog.reliasacademy.com/aba-and-occupational-therapy-synergy-for-autism-interventions/ and OT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_therapy

Before and After

I always love Bella’s artwork, but this felt pen drawing literally had me smiling out loud! I asked Bella about this image and she said, “it is a (Sylvanian) rabbit bigger (before), and smaller (after). We both laughed heartily out loud for a bit, and then I asked if I could share her picture with you here on this blog. I guess her Sylvanian Friends are currently on a diet. I found this very funny at first look, but on the more sober side, I see how Bella observes the world with eagle sharp eyes.

In one of her American Girls, The Care and Keeping of You books, it talks about girls of all shapes and sizes. Bella and I discussed body image, and that the most important thing is self love, self care and being kind to others no matter what body type a person has.

Today we asked Bella what she wanted for lunch. She said, “..we should have meat, it is a protein, and spaghetti is good for the body too.” Then she clarified with us that it is all bio (organic), sans gluten and sans sucré. She is the house dietitian.

The picture below is quite clever as well. Bella drew a version of Griffin, and his wife from Hotel Transylvania 3. Griffin’s wife wasn’t pregnant in the movie we saw. However, as you can see, Bella took the artistic liberty (..and imagination) to draw his wife with a little invisible baby inside her womb. I also note that in the upper two pictures, Bella alludes to Griffin and his wife being in love and making a baby. I am over the moon happy that Bella’s imagination is unfolding freely and that her creativity continues to find wings.

As I was sorting through Bella’s art, I found this gem as well. She has drawn several pictures with a summer, seaside theme featuring her Sylvanian Friends, but this is one of my favorites.

The picture below is another from Bella’s Sylvanian Friends collection. I’m amazed at how well Bella is able to draw what she imagines from various perspectives. This is a drawing of Ralph (..a Sylvanian Friends squirrel) looking in the mirror. Brilliant!

And…while Bella is drawing her original works of art, I doodle along drawing little characters like the one pictured below.  I learned how to draw this little princess a while back, and find it fun. Bella says that it is her I am drawing. That works for me. She is definitely more pretty than this little drawing, but it’s the heart of the matter that matters.

All in all it has been a wonderful week. Bella is more and more content and peaceful. From what I am studying and observing, the more peaceful and content a child on the spectrum is, the more he/she is able to work on expanding past their comfort zone(s). I think this is true for all of us, but this has definitely proven true for Bella. Her initiation to go to the movies amidst other children, and to leave the windows in the house open without wearing her headphones have been important milestones the past few months. I am so happy for Bella.

No matter how long it takes, I trust she will continue moving past and through her biggest hurdles. When she really wants something, there is nothing that can stand in her way. So, we continue to walk the path in support of her goals and dreams, and for now, all is on a good way.

Sparkling Good Times

The highlight since our last post was Bella going to cinema…again! As you can see, she is wearing her headphones for the SPD part of her autism, and as you can also see, she is pretty darn happy! 😉 Here is a quick picture of Bella right before the movie started.

The rest of our week has been about usual, daily activities of homeschool, art, reading, learning French and trying to stay cool during the final hot days of summer.

Bella has drawn various pictures since our last post. Here are a few of them.

Many more to come!

Until next time…well wishes and sparkling good times for all!

Clay Days and More

Usually painting on Mondays, we have switched it up this week to clay creativity on Monday and painting clay on Thursday.

Bella decided to make shell’s. A sea theme naturally emerged and I followed suit.

The influence of Hotel Transylvania is still with us and Bella is creating pictures with that theme.

Per her usual favorite, Bella continues to love her Sylvanian Friends adventures, and draws various scenes from the movies in her mind.

Homeschool now includes daily French lessons. We are learning together.

All prep for the year ahead, curriculum and all, is set. Can only imagine good times as we continue the climb.

A Colorful Week

It has been a colorful and busy week so far! We went to the movies on Monday and found out that the showing of Hotel Transylvania is on Friday. So, we are ready to go tomorrow! Thankfully we have a large projector screen on our wall upstairs and we were able to watch Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2 with Miss B so that she is primed for the 3rd one tomorrow.  She was only able to watch with the sound off at home. She will of course have sound at the big cinema tomorrow, and she can’t wait!

I continue to observe what boxes she puts various ideas in. It is random. She understands this more and more. With more self knowledge, awareness and trust in herself every day, she is more and more empowered to walk with her challenges confidently.

The little princess is a part of the Sylvanian Friends Club (..lots of Sylvanian in B’s life right now ;)). This week she received a magazine with stories and ideas for crafts. She also received a new outfit for one of her dolls. She loves it! B also received a beautiful gift of crystals and stones this week from one of our friends who lives in Las Vegas. She likes the pink one best for now.

School continues each day and is very well integrated into her rhythm. She looks forward to school, and the various activities we plan together. She loves to learn and is very smart. Truly an intellectual.

You’ll see in the pictures below that we painted loo rolls again! This time it was to make Hotel Transylvania characters (see pics)! Miss B made her best vampire face for you all, and showed off her pretty painted hands!

Enjoy the pictures from this colorful week!