A Better Week


Riley and I went to the Great Lakes Science Center yesterday. We promised her weekly field trips and she’s holding us to it! It was wonderful to see her so relaxed, yet utterly engaged. She practically skipped from one hands-on interactive display to the next. We’d been before, but never when we could just take our time and let her explore at her own pace. There was no crowd at all.

There is a theater at the museum. Before yesterday, we’d never ventured inside. I thought it was just a regular movie theater. The movie was about water, specifically a trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Lord! When I purchased the tickets, I didn’t anticipate what we were about to do, or the sensory bombardment we’d experience! I have never seen anything like it. Picture being inside a giant egg, and the whole shell is the screen and  it’s in 3-D or something close to it! The seats are extremely steep, so Riley (with her depth perception issues) was already nervous walking in. Nervous, but oddly game.

The film was absolutely gorgeous, and filled with action. Much of it was shot from an airplane. It truly felt like you personally (not in a plane) were flying out over the Grand Canyon. Riley and I held hands and flew! It reminded me so much of my sea otter dream. I gave Riley many opportunties to leave, but she opted to stay. I was totally blissed out sitting there with her watching this breathtaking film in that amazing space. She closed her eyes a few times and buried her head into my shoulder, but she most definitly wanted to stay.


 After the film we explored the museum more.



We even ate junk food (Pizza Hut) from the cafeteria. It was a thrill. Since August I’ve personally prepared every bite of food that has entered my kids’ mouths (per Seth’s health issues). It was so nice to just sit and eat together and have a conversation.

This morning I found Riley leafing through her All Cats Have Asperger’s book.

“Riley,” I asked, “Do you think it would be a good idea to take that book to clay class today?”

She nodded. It’d been a whole week since our clay class fiasco.

We brought the book, and we brought Jingle. We had a lovely conversation about Asperger’s with all the kids. The teacher had a cat/dog  theme going on which was perfect. Riley made a sculpture of a cat. The children were wonderful. It seems they always are, if you fill them in.

Thank you to everyone who offered words of support or flung love in our direction after last week. I felt your encouragement and it lifted me up.

To those who judged, I felt that too. 

It’s all learning.

Thank you God, for eternal expansion. 

I love this girl. I love this life.



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14 Responses to A Better Week

  1. Dawn says:

    “To those who judged, I felt that too.” I’m not gonna lie – when I read that I scrolled down to read comments so I could figure out who was being judgmental so I could kick some a$$. Maybe I missed it cuz I only saw love…but if you ever need a heavy – you just holler girlie I got your back XO

  2. Carrie N says:

    The picture up top is really amazing.

    Sounds like a great day. (her smile is precious).

  3. All cats have Aspergers Love that book! It was given to me years ago and I still look through it regularly Glad you both had better week

  4. Sounds like such a wonderful day! Great photos!

  5. So glad for a better day, a better week. I love Riley’s smile – it’s addicting. And I love the photos of the two of you. Bless you both!

  6. Sometimes all you need is a day with your kid to put it all into perspective!

    Sooo glad to hear things are going better for you.

  7. goodfountain says:

    Sounds like a great day that you two had. And I’m glad the clay class went better.

    You are such an inspiring writer and mother, Michelle. I just love your blog. Keep doing what you’re doing! I hope to never lose track of Riley.

  8. Carrie Link says:

    “It was so nice to just sit and eat together and have a conversation.” Not enough can be made of that!

  9. Amanda says:

    Oh I so was ready for a rant at who dared judge! SO glad you had a good time at clay class, and Riley is just blooming with the home school thing….just blooming! 😀

  10. Jess Wilson says:

    Rhemashope stole the words right out of my head. So happy for both (all!) of you.

  11. Kim says:

    whoo-hoo! Love the pictures. My water obsessed son would probably love that movie! So glad she stayed and enjoyed. And heading to class again but this time with Jingle and the book about Aspergers–so smart! Good for you! I’m totally loving reading about your homeschooling journey.

  12. amber says:

    Aww, awesome. How cool you things like this so close. One would think, us being so near the California Capital we would have all kind sof stuff like this. But we have to go to San Fran to find it, really.

    I was thinking, do you think if R went to tha movie again (or something else they show), it would sort of desensitize her to it? Just wondering how that works for her.


  13. Lolly says:


    Hood on ya’

    Seems like everyone in the O’Niel house is appreciating the difference that home schooling makes for Riley.

  14. Grandma Linda says:

    You made my heart sing with this post…thank you. (I LOVE sea otters.)

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