Behind The Blog – Our Summer

While August is just getting started, it’s back to school time for my kiddos.  Crazy, I know.   Summer has gone by way too fast and I have to say I’m super sad about the kiddos heading to school this week.   I could use a few more weeks with these two cuties at home.

My oldest will start fifth grade and my baby will start preschool in a few days.   Even as I type it, I’m in denial that my teeny tiny 27 pound baby is starting preschool.    Preschool was hard with my first, but she could (and did) tell me anything and everything that went on each day.  My little one only has about 10 words (and only three or four that people can understand) due to severe apraxia of speech, so she can’t tell her mama anything about her day, how she’s feeling or if something bothers her.

She will be at our district’s special needs preschool, and while I know they are equipped to handle it, when your family serves as your child’s translator to the world, and knows the subtle differences and meanings in her whines, whimpers and actions, it’s quite scary to think of her anywhere without one of us.  So if you need me this week, I’ll be breathing into a paper bag somewhere.

This summer wasn’t quite what we had planned.  It was filled with some fun ups, but some not so great downs.    Here is a little behind the blog look at our summer, a week at a time…

Week 1 – Last day of school, Taylor Swift concert, annual Denny’s first summer breakfast.

Week 2 – Dance recital, art camp, opening the pool.

Week 3 – Swim, gymnastics, dance, voice & swim lessons.

Week 4- Father’s Day, dive lessons & fencing.

Week 5 – Diving, fencing, therapy, blue hair tips.

Week 6 – Fun with friends, dress up, washing machine breakdown, helping on mom’s cookbook.

Week 7 – 40th Birthday, splash bad, cow day at Chick-Fil-A.

Week 8 – Fro You, 40th Bday dinner, minions, swimming, home office construction.

Week 9 – Sea Life Aquarium, ER visit, more construction.

Week 10 – Fun in the White Mountains of Arizona.

Week 11 – Cousins, BFF fun, Build A Bear, candy, fencing.

My blogging has been down a bit, between time with the kids and working on my cookbook, SMART COOKIE, which I will be wrapping up in the next two months.  It’s been a tremendous amount of work, with a lot more ahead.  I can’t wait until next year when I get to share all of the fun ways I’ve transformed store bought cookies, using lots of fun ingredients including all of the candies you see to your left!  :)  I hate not being able to share things as I go as I do on the blog, but hopefully it will all be worth it.   Next month we will be shooting the photos for the book, a bit intimidating, with my agent and photographer traveling to my home and me making ALL the recipes to photograph at once.   So if my posting is a bit slow the next month or two, that’s why!

Speaking of books, I had some summer favorites, three of them being cookbooks by some of my favorite bloggers.   I’d highly recommend the following if you are looking to add to your cookbook collection…

Frostings by Courtney Whitmore

mARTshmallows by Alejandara Morin

Peanut Butter Comfort by Averie Sunshine

And a non food one that I found at the library and took on vacation with me.  Very powerful, especially if you are a parent who feels like there is just “too much”.  Too much stuff, too many commitments, too many obligations and want to make a change.   I would highly recommend checking out Simplicity Parenting.

When it comes to the kiddos, my oldest stayed busy doing swim lessons, gymnastics lessons, dive lessons, voice lessons, fencing lessons, art camp and dance camps.  There were some super busy weeks, balanced by some lazy weeks.   I have to admit, I think I enjoyed those lazy weeks, but it’s also so much fun to see her try new things.   How fun is fencing???  She loves it!

My little one had her normal therapy routine, which being five days a week, and early in the morning, certainly wasn’t my tween’s favorite thing (she’s finally seeing the value in that whole sleeping in thing).

Speaking of therapy, we recently started ABA therapy with my little one, which in all honesty, was a disaster and a huge stressor on everyone in our family (and why I’ve been a bit MIA the past few weeks).  I don’t want to write it off or speak ill of it, as I know it’s tremendously successful for many families, but I will say that I think finding the right fit between the therapist and the child is critical, and we haven’t found that.

I will do anything to help our precious little girl, which may just mean paying more attention to my mama instincts than the opinion of professionals.   An agonizing choice to make, but I’ve yet to have mama instincts let me down.   And my mama instincts say that pushing a child to the point that they pass out (mine are not passer-outers, heck I can’t even get them to sleep at night!) from hours of hysterical crying in the name of therapy, just isn’t right, special needs or not.

We said good-bye to both of my grandfathers in two weeks time this summer, something that is still hard to digest.   I’ve been so fortunate to have both of my grandfathers up to the age of 90.  I already miss them both so much.   I have to send a big thank you out to my friend Sara from Saving For Someday, who stood by my side, supporting myself and my family, at both funerals.  I am so thankful for such an incredible friend.

We’ve been working all summer on our home addition.  We are converting a covered patio into a den / home office / homework space.   It’s been s-l-0-w going.  My husband has done most of it himself, but we’ve hired out some of the work (drywall, mud and tape), and while it’s being done nicely, it’s being done painfully slowly.  A bit stressful as this is the room that we need ready to shoot the photos for my cookbook… next month. Ack!  This weekend my hubby and dad will be taking out a 9 foot wide window, tearing down the block wall under it and installing french doors to this room, from my dining room.  So cutting a giant hole in my house.  A wee bit nervous about that, probably a great day to get out of the house with the girls.

For good measure I also turned the big 4-0  :).

It’s been a crazy summer and now it’s time to get back into school mode.  Even if it’s still August.  And 113 degrees.  Here we go!   Time to get ready for a new school year and a new adventure.  Thanks for sharing it with me!


  1. Elise says

    I’m sorry about your grandfathers passing away. We lost my father-in-law this summer. Lots of new angels in heaven this year.

    The picture of your daughter in therapy looks like Occupational Therapy to me. If it’s not, I would encourage you to look into OT. My daughter does not have apraxia of speech, but she does have mixed receptive/expressive language disorder, ADD (inattentive type), OCD, anxiety and Central Auditory Processing Disorder, along with Sensory Processing Disorder. Her 3 years of weekly OT did wonders for her sensory issues, but also for her speech. Her OT used a specialized listening program (from the pic, it looks like your daughter may be using something similar) and that improved her speech tremendously. Just keep looking until you find something that you feel is a good fit. ABA therapy is a very effective approach, but maybe it’s not the right one for your baby girl. Good luck! My “baby” is 11.5 years old and she has improved leaps and bounds since those preschool days. We’ve done and continue to do lots of therapy, but it’s amazing to watch her grow and achieve.

    And if you want to read a great book about parenting special needs kiddos, I highly recommend “Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid – a survival guide for ordinary parents of special needs kids” You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll learn.

    • says

      Elise, you are correct – she’s in OT and wearing the ILS listening program. We are so fortunate to have an awesome OT who we see twice each week, in the same center where we go for her speech. My OT and SLP are certainly our guiding lights in this journey. She will also have OT and ST at preschool. My little one has SPD and possibly MERLD, so anything we can do to help her on her path, we are trying to. I think the ABA could be a good fit if we can find the right provider, but I think for the immediate future we are going to just let her get used to not napping (which she still takes) and starting school, that is a heck of a lot of adjusting on it’s own. It’s always so great to hear about other families who have been on similar paths and to know that they are doing well and their kids are growing and thriving. It certainly helps give us hope! I’ve heard of the book and might have even downloaded it to my Kindle, but I need to actually read it! :)

  2. says

    You did all that in about 9 weeks? It’s clear that you’re capable of taking on anything and making it work. I’m so sorry you lost both your grandfathers in such close succession, but I’m glad you were able to say good-bye to them and allow them to see what an extraordinary woman you are. The days are filled from dawn to well past dusk, it’s the busy-ness of life and it’s very different than the glorious days of our youth in the 70s & 80s where our daily activities included rushing home to watch cartoon (or The Brady Bunch) before our parents got home, writing crazy notes to our friends (on real paper), and riding bikes or playing games with the neighborhood kids. But through all the hustle and bustle, your girls, your husband, and your friends know you love them. And this friend wants you to know that you’re loved very much too.

    • says

      Thank you so much Sara for your amazing friendship and support, we are truly blessed to call your family our friends. It certainly is a different childhood than we had. I think in that busy going here, there and everywhere, there are some very fun times and special moments and experiences, and I think those make it worth it. I’m anxious to see what this year holds for our girls and hope it will be positive! :)

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