Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dr. Anna Griffith: Strengthening Eyes for Learning

Click on the link below to read a great article about a fantastic Optometrist in Chico, CA who specializes in Vision Therapy! Liam goes to her as well as many other kids we know. She is amazing and such a blessing to Liam. Can't praise her enough.

Picture provided by North State Parenting

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

20/20 Isn't Everything - A Child's vision is critical to learning

This is the best video to show how Liam and kids like Liam see. I wish all teachers could experience this so they could better help their students.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Vision Therapy Update

Its been a few weeks since I have updated. Between all of us getting sick, going on vacation then me having surgery I am a bit behind. Liam's Vision Therapy is going really well. He isn't fighting me nearly as much and I am grateful for the days just gets down to business and does it. It's not everyday, but I will take those days and appreciate the progress. We are on week 8 and the improvements are showing.

The first BIG improvement both Mike and I saw was when we went to Disneyland last week. Disneyland has been our only family vacations for the past three years. Our kids love it as do Mike and I. My kids were the perfect ages when we have gone. They were little enough to take in the magic and light up when they saw the characters. They loved all the kiddie rides and thought Disneyland was the happiest place on earth. Then they became a little older and loved all the thrill rides for the most part. Savy still hates Tower of Terror, but this last trip Liam was tall enough for California Screaming. He loved it and wanted to ride it several times. It was awesome being able to experience every stage with them. Okay so back to my main point. 

Over the years Liam hated the Toy Story Mania ride. If you are not familiar with the ride, its a 3-D ride that you shoot at different objects. Liam never wore the glasses and the most points he ever got was 4,000. I was super excited to see if he would like this ride after starting vision therapy. This trip he LOVED it. In fact we went on it 6 times. The fist time we went on it, he wore his glasses the whole time and scored 44,000 points. The third time his score was 55,800 and the last time he went on it he got 64,800 points. By far this was one of the biggest highlights of the trip. It was so awesome to hear him tell Mike and I that army men were jumping out at him, or that a ball flew at him. He spent so much time telling me what he could see that I could barely played myself. After the fist time riding it I immediately had to email Dr. G with my excitement. This was HUGE!!!!!

Wearing his 3-D glasses

Liam's score was the blue 55,800, mine was in the red

 The next amazing thing for Mike and I was Liam's interest in Lego's all of a sudden. He has never had any interest in them. He did not even like the bigger size Lego's for little ones. We have a ton and he has never played with them. While on our trip we bought him a set at the Lego store. He spent easily 45 minutes looking for the perfect set to build with dad. He finally decided to buy the Grand Prix Truck with Race Car. It had 315 pieces and was rated for ages 5-12. That night he sat with Mike is my parents Motor home and built the entire thing. He went step by step looking at the manual with pictures, then finding the pieces and putting it together. Mike assisted, but for the most part Liam did it all on his own. I wish I had taken a picture of them assembling it and even the finish product. Mike had been waiting for a long time for this moment with him. A memory he will never forget.
This is the set he built

He still has a ways to go, but these BIG milestones are what keep us going. Vision Therapy is not easy. Liam works so hard everyday. He still gets headaches and gets frustrated. I still get frustrated and stress over if I am doing it right with him. But then we get experiences like these and it makes us realize all of his hard work is paying off. I cannot wait for the day that he picks up a book and sounds out the sounds and reads to me. Someday he will not flip his b,d,p,q,n,h's or think that X's are T's and H's are N's. I am so grateful for Vision Therapy and Dr. G. Liam's world is changing and is so exciting to watch!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin Protein and Pumpkin Butter

Photo Courtesy of Seed Oil Company

If you love pumpkin then look no more. There is a a company that sells Pumpkin Seed oil, Pumpkin Powder and Pumpkin Butter. If you want more info on how to buy the product from Seed Oil Company click here.

Photo Courtesy of Seed Oil Company

Pumpkin Powder can:
  • Relieves chronic weariness and stress 
  • Has Amino acids required for muscle protein
  • Great for Bone density
  • Improvement of the liver and prostate
  • Improvement of metabolism
  • Rich in Magnesium, Zinc, Iron and Phosphorus.
  • High Vitamin K 
  • Great source of Vegan Protein
  • Perfect for high protein, low fat, low carbohydrate diets
  • Gluten Free , Soy Free, Non GMO and Dairy Free

If you are Paleo and want to add protein to your smoothies, baking and everyday life look no further. This is amazing product that can be used in many ways. 

Pumpkin Seed Butter is another great product. 

Photo Courtesy of Seed Oil Company

Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Butter are:
  • Vegetable Protein
  • Bladder strengthening
  • Prostate (BPH) relief
  • Anti inflammatory
  • Relieve IBS
  • Prevent urinary and prostate problems
  • Prevents formation of kidney stones
  • Relieve muscle fatigue 
  • Provides nutrients, essential for muscle growth
  • Ease the symptoms of arthritis

Pumpkin Seed Oil is great too! It can be used Pumpkin seed oil is used as a salad dressing
mixed with fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. You can add flavor and nutrition to soups, sauces and many other recipes.

Photo Courtesy of Seed Oil Company

Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Oil

  • Bladder strengthening
  • Prostate (BPH) relief
  • Anti inflammatory
  • Relieve IBS
  • Prevent urinary and prostate problems
  • Prevents formation of kidney stones
  • Relieve muscle fatigue 
  • Stimulate muscle growth
  • Maintain the body's cholesterol levels
  • Ease the symptoms of arthritis.
  • Boost metabolic rate
For more info on this product you can watch this:

  • Liam is doing so well with his U.C. that I am super excited to try him out on the Seed Oil's products. I have wanted to get his gut stable before introducing something with more fiber than he is use to. The Seed Oil Company has an even finer pumpkin powder this year, so we are super excited to try it out. I will let you know how it goes.

Vision Therapy Week 4

Wow what a difference a week can make!!!! Liam had a great week! I think mainly because Dr. G made his therapy more fun and age appropriate. He was also thrilled to not be using the red/green glasses. Dr. G decided that we would focus on strengthening each eye separately so when we make his eyes work together it will be easier for him.

Our 1st exercise was flashlight tag. This was fun for the whole family to do together. Liam enjoyed this one and as the week progressed he was able to follow my flashlight faster and more accurately. It has become a fun game for the two kids to do when stuck inside.

The 2nd exercise was Monocular Accommodative Rock. Liam is patched and has a lens for this exercise. He has to read the pairs of letters within 2 1/2 minutes. Through the week he showed good improvement. 

Here are the results:

Right Eye: 16 pairs
                29 pairs
Left Eye:   29 pairs
                25 pairs

By the end of the week his results were:

Right Eye: 35 pairs
                27 pairs
Left Eye:   33 pairs
                31 pairs

The 3rd exercise we did was Vision Training Star with a Metronome. Liam had to be patched for this exercise with a bean bag on his head to keep it stable. Here are his results:

Right Eye: 45 bpm 
Right Eye: 46 bpm 

Left Eye: 45 bpm 
Left Eye: 46 bpm

End of the week:

Right Eye: 64 bpm
Right Eye: 65 bpm
Right Eye: 65 bpm

Left Eye: 62 bpm
Left Eye: 63 bpm
Left Eye: 64 bpm

As you can see his speed increased a lot and was able to track the Star fairly quickly by the end of the week. 

The 4th exercise we did was called 4 corners. Liam had to stand shoulder distance away from the wall and say the letters out loud. The letters were on four pieces of paper displayed in a box. We timed him for each eye which was patched. His results are as follows:

Right Eye: 3:00
Left Eye: 3:05

End of the week:

Right Eye: 2:27 
Left Eye: 3:11 
Left Eye again: 2:20

The reason I did the left eye a second time was because he had gotten under three minutes the day before so I wanted to see if it was a fluke. Turns out it wasn't.

The 5th exercise we did was Number hitting on wall. I made cards and taped them to the wall and Liam had to slap them in order. He got times for this exercise as well as patched. He loved this one. 


Right Eye: 19 secs
Right Eye: 13 secs

Left Eye: 26 secs
Left Eye: 18 secs

End of the week:

Right Eye: 11.4 secs
Right Eye: 9.4 secs

Left Eye: 10 secs
Left Eye: 9.3 secs

Overall he had some great improvement which is always nice for a parent to see. It keeps me motivated and knowing that we are doing the right thing for him. The best part of this week was the few tantrums we had. Liam got to play trains at Barnes and Noble twice and I got a few minutes to myself to read some books while he played. It was a win win for us this week.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vision Therapy Week 3

Week three was a HARD week for Liam and I. We both had several ups and downs. Therapy at home was taking up to 2 hours a day. That is a lot considering Liam is in Kindergarten from 8:00-12:10. I try to feed him lunch and then straight to work hoping to finish by the time we get his sister at 2:10. Week three was hard on so many levels. His therapy was harder this week then the two previous weeks. Because is was much harder it took us a lot longer. Lots of tears and lots of breaks had to be taken. We got the new exercises assigned to us on Thursday. While in the office the power went out due to huge winds we were having. The office was dark except in the area next to the waiting room, where people pick out frames. We pulled up some blinds and Dr. G said "do you want to try the therapy here?" I said "sure why not give it a try." Liam did extremely well considering the circumstances. He had an audience of at least three staff members, as well as patients showing up for their appointments not aware of the loss of power. Liam completed all his therapy and I walked out feeling confident in our week ahead. 

We started the exercises as usual on Friday. It went alright. It was long, but he was still willing to do them. Saturday it took us two hours, because he was struggling. We had plans to go to a friends house for dinner so he kept going, because he did not want to miss out on the fun. Sunday is when everything went downhill. He threw a two hour tantrum refusing to do therapy. It was so hard on me and him. I felt like the worse mom in the world, because I had to be the "bad" guy. I told him he could not get out of the chair until he agreed to do his exercises. He screamed and cried in the chair telling me he was never going to open his eyes again. He also said he was going to rip everything off the walls when I went to bed and never do them again. After a while I could not sit there with him, so I got up and started to make dinner. I told him "when you show me you are ready by standing up and putting your red/green glasses on I will stop what I am doing." It was so hard standing my ground, but I kept thinking if I give in at this moment he will have my number and do this every day to me. Finally he gave in and we did the three hardest exercises. We had lots of tears for those three exercises, but when he was done he gave me a BIG hug and ran off to play. We ate dinner and after dinner he said "mama I would like to finish my exercises". I was so relieved and when dinner was done he sat down and finished. I was so proud of him. 

Monday morning after I took the kids to school I drove to see if Dr. G was available to chat. Fortunately she had 15 minutes between patients. She is amazing with so many encouraging words and great ideas. One that we came up with was that Liam could pick a day to have off. Instead of doing therapy 7 days a week he could do it 6 days a week. Then next thing she said was to tell him that if he completed the rest of his exercises for the week she would give him a break on the red/green glasses and Brock String. I knew this would be a key one, because he hates the red/green glasses and brock string.  I felt pretty good leaving her office and went home and got on Facebook.  There is a closed group that gives support to parents who are doing VT with their kids. All of them had amazing advice for me. The most frequent was BRIBE!!! It was so nice to hear from other parents that is was okay to bribe. I am not a fan of bribing, but in this case it is needed. You are asking your kids to do exercises that are hard and can make them dizzy, nauseous and give them headaches. They need some kind of reward when its done. Its hard for them to understand that when this is all said and done they will see better. In most cases these kids don't understand that they can't see. Liam tells me all the time "I am all better mama, I can see now." My response to him is always "Liam if you were all better these exercises would be easy." Its not that these kids can't see, its that they can't focus, track with both eyes, or see 3-D etc.. Most have compensated in one way or another and don't know any different. So making them understand they will be better when they don't think anything is wrong is hard. 

After all the advice from strangers, friends and family we came up with a plan. Liam was super excited to take a day off. He chose Sundays because its hard to do exercises when daddy is home from work. I don't blame him, it is hard to not being able to play with daddy the whole day. He did improve and get his exercises done on Tuesday and Wednesday because he wanted a break from the red/green glasses and brock string. In fact when we saw Dr. G on Thursday last week he said "I did all my exercises so no more glasses or string right?" Dr. G said "yes Liam that is right you get a week off." 

The next bribe or incentive that we are doing which was Liam's idea, was to go to Barnes and Noble Book store and play with the train set. So the deal is if he doesn't throw a huge fit all week, then we go play on Fridays after school. He also has come up with the idea that when he finishes his exercises for the day he gets a piece of gum. I can do this one with no problem. The last thing I did was had my husband have a chat with him. My husband works very hard and long days. He isn't present when we do the therapy. In Liam's mind I am the mean mommy that makes him do these awful exercises. My husband told Liam that he needed to do the exercises with no fits. He also said that he expected to get good reports from me when he got home. He asked Liam to make him proud and to do the exercises and make him proud. I wish I had the magic like my husband, but I don't. Liam took him seriously and I feel that this is another reason why its going smoother. I am so grateful to have a partner in this. Even though he isn't present for the therapy, Liam at least knows daddy has mommies back. 

All in all I am so grateful week 3 is over. It was a rough one, but I learned some new tricks. The last two days of the exercises he improved quite a bit. It is hard to really pinpoint how he improved last week because we changed some stuff up mid week. But overall we saw some positive changes. As I type this we are in week 4 and let me tell you it is a 100 times easier this week!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Halloween Candy Alternatives

Are you wondering what you can do this Halloween about at the candy your kids are going to get from trick or treating? Let me help you with some idea,s which allow your kids to feel like they partake in the holiday and don't get gypped. Here are some ideas and links to help with this Halloween.

For older kids:

  • You can simply buy back their candy. This works well with older kids.

  • Two years ago I found a dentist that bought my kids candy by the pound and then he shipped it to our troops overseas.

  • You could also get gift cards to their favorite places and trade out the candy for a gift card.

For little one's you can go with these ideas:

Set up a "shop" after they are done trick or treating you can have a table with items from the dollar store or appropriate candy and have prices near them. For example:

  • 25 pieces of candy for : a  plastic ball or whoopee cushion
  • 5 pieces of candy for: fruit snacks like Annie's or TastyBrand
  • 10 pieces of candy for: pack of stickers

You get the idea. The kids might think its really fun to go shopping after they trick or treat. I suggest giving them a heads up so they know what to expect when they get home.


  • Stickers
  • Plastic ball
  • Whoopee cushion
  • Play dough Halloween packs- sold at Target
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Glow Sticks
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Hair clips
  • Hair bands
  • Fun Socks
  • Match box cars
  • Earrings
  • Nail Polish
  • Squishes
  • Bubbles
  • Slime
  • Fruit Snacks : bunnies, Tasty (they have Halloween characters at Costco)
  • Lollipops without all the bad stuff

Some sites to buy stuff at are: they have gummies, lollipops and chocolate that is all 8 major allergens free - Liam can't eat these due to dairy, but if you can have dairy and not nuts, corn, soy or gluten this site is for you! - freeze dried fruit in a bag gummy fruit snacks

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Breakfast ideas

A typical breakfast for us is eggs and bacon. Its nice to change things up a bit though so the kids don't get sick of it. Here is what we eat. I will try to post the recipes soon.

  • Eggs: scrambled, fried in olive oil, or steamed with some water and a lid. 

  • Meat: Bacon, Canadian Bacon, sausage patties all nitrate free. Sometimes I just cook up a bunch of meat and give them a fruit smoothie and they are good to go. 

  • Frittata: I will take a 8x8 Pan and spray with coconut oil or Olive oil. I put left over carnitas, or ground sausage or turkey from tacos, ham, or bacon on the bottom. Next I take whatever veggies I have. For Liam I saute them so they are a little less crunchy. Don't saute too much because they will cook down in oven. His favorite is bell pepper, spinach or kale, and mushrooms. Savy my daughter loves all those too as well as asparagus, onions and garlic. After you layer the veggies on top on the meat you pour over beaten eggs. For our family its usually 10-12 eggs. If you have ramekin's you can make individual ones for your kids. Then just place pan in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Take a toothpick and poke the center, if it comes out clean then its cooked. I make this ahead and cut up into squares and store in a glass container and reheat in the mornings for school. 

  • Smoothies: My kids love smoothies for breakfast. I make fruit ones, chocolate banana ones. I will post these recipes soon.

  • Muffins: I make muffins up a head of time. Right now my kids are loving an almond flour blueberry muffin. click here for the recipe 

  • Oatmeal: When Liam isn't feeling so great he still asks for Oatmeal. This would be a cheat he has that isn't Paleo. I let him eat it though because it seems to feel good on his tummy.

If you have any questions feel free to ask. 

Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins


2 cups Almond Flour (the finer the better)
2 Eggs
2 Egg whites or 1/3 cup of organic egg whites
1/4 cup of Agave, Honey or Coconut Sugar. I use whatever I have on hand
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 TBL Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 TBS Grape seed oil, Sunflower Oil, Avocado Oil or Coconut Oil. I have used all of them and they are             all great. 
1 Cup blueberries. Recently I ran out of blueberries so I did 1/2 cup blueberries and 1/2 cup                          Raspberries and it was delicious. 


Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
Place all ingredients together except the berries in a bowl. Mix up until smooth. I have put it all in my Blentec and it works great too. Fold in Berries. If you don't have paper muffin cups spray the muffin tin with your favorite oil. Scoop batter into muffin tin with a scooper. I love my melon ball scooper. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

Bone Broth

When Liam's tummy is really bothering him or when he is in a flare up my go to is ALWAYS Bone Broth. It heals a leaky gut because the gelatin in bone broth protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and helps aid in the digestion of nutrients. It fights inflammation in that it is very high in the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline. It also helps with bone formation, growth and repair. The calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in bone broth helps our bones to grow and repair. 

I use the broth for just drinking hot when he isn't feeling well or if were sick with colds. I will also make Chicken Soup with the chicken and add lots of yummy vegetables like carrots, celery, green beans, onion, etc...

Gut-Healing Chicken Broth Recipe


  • 1 organic whole chicken

  • 8 c of water

  • 4 -6 stalks of celery, finely chopped

  • ½ white or yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 inch ginger root, finely chopped

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

  • 2 Organic carrots chopped


Place all of the above ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low heat for 8 -10 hours.

I like to cook mine until the meat is falling away from the bones.

I make this just before bed and it’s ready and hot for breakfast.

You can store any excess broth in the freezer and defrost for a later time.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Vision Therapy Week 2

Week one down and I was feeling pretty good about it. We met with Dr. G and she had some new exercises for Liam as well as wanting to continue some of the ones we did the first week.  This week we jumped for 30 minutes a day to about an hour. I did not track the progress with the blocks. I continued this as play time for fun. She did not say to continue charting, but to just do it if we had free time.

She wants Liam to continue tracking letters on the wall one eye at a time. This time however we spaced them 2 inches apart instead of one.  The beginning part of the week his results were:

  • Right eye it took 1 minute and 51 seconds with 7 errors
  • Right eye it took 1 minute 18 seconds with 5 errors. 

  • Left eye it took 1 minute 46 seconds with 5 errors
  • Left eye took 1 minute 30 seconds with 3 errors.

By the last day of the week his results were this:

  • Right eye it took 1 minute 17 seconds with 3 errors
  • Right eye it took 1 minute 22 seconds with 2 errors
  • Right eye it took 1 minute 11 seconds with 1 error

  • Left eye it took 1 minute 11 seconds with 3 errors
  • Left eye it took 1 minute 10 seconds with 2 errors
  • Left eye it took 57 seconds with zero errors

I was so excited to see these results at the end of the week. Liam was so proud of himself that he got zero wrong with his left eye.  I think it was the first thing he said to Dr. G when he saw her.

The second exercise was a new one. It was called Visual Motor exercise which was timed or used a Metronome. For those who don’t know what a Metronome is you can look it up here. You don't have to buy one, you can get it as an application on your phone :)

The first Visual Motor exercise was with lines. It was a sheet a paper that had straight lines with a line at the right or left side of the line or a line in the middle. For this one Liam had to use his right or left hand and hit the table depending on which side the line was on. He had to use both hands when it was in the middle.  The paper was so confusing with so many lines that we started with the page being covered and only one at a time being visible. See picture below.

I would time him and tally up his errors for this one. The results from the beginning of the week to the end were HUGE!

I covered whole page except one. Went one by one

  • First time it took 2 minutes and 30 seconds with 7 errors
  • Second time it took him 2 minutes and 13 seconds with 6 errors

Last day of the week:

I did not cover page and pointed to each row

  • First time he did it in 1 minute and 19 seconds with 6 errors
  • Second time he did it in 1 minute and 9 seconds with 3 errors
  • Last one he did it in 1 minute and 3 seconds with 2 errors.

To go from the whole page covered to uncovering it and just pointing to the beginning of each row was amazing. He even noticed how much he had improved.  We were both so happy.

The next exercise was similar but it was a paper with a line then it had a circle on the top, bottom or middle of line. He would have to say “Top, Bottom, Middle” to the beat of the Metronome.


First day: bmp (beats per minute)

  • 45 bpm he had 4 errors
  • 50 bpm he had 4 errors
  • 50 bpm he had 3 errors

Last day:

  • 64 bpm he had 1 error
  • 65 bpm he had 2 errors
  • 65 bmp he had 1 error

The last exercise was called the Brock String.This is a picture of Liam learning the Brock String with Dr. G

 This exercise helps him with 3-D and forces the eyes to work together. This one was by far our hardest. Liam had a TON of tears. He would get a headache and nauseous from this one. This one you have a string and it has three beads on it (green, yellow, red) and you have to put the string up to your nose and focus on the beads. Liam had to look at the first bead (green) and try to see it as one bead with two strings. This was super hard for him. He often saw two beads one string. The goal is to get the bead as close to your nose with both eyes focusing on it and keep it as 1 bead with 2 stings. We had a lot of trouble with this one. He also had to jump and go from the green bead to the yellow and then to the red and tell me how many beads he saw and how many strings. I was super confused about how to do this therapy with him. I think I did it wrong for the first 5 days. I ended up emailing Dr. G and she explained it better. We changed a few things up and it was a little easier. It’s kind of hard to explain his results because we did not do it right for many days but at the end of the week we were able to get the green bead from 44 cm to 20 cm from his nose. We are going to continue this one next week and maybe with more help from Dr. G I will be able to explain it better. 

A good tip for parents is to let your kids take a break. When Liam could not take it anymore I would let him run around the kitchen. This was especially fun because we have a no running in the kitchen rule. So he got to get energy out and break a family rule. You have to do what you have to do to get this therapy done. Good thing the starburst are still working too!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week 1 Vision Therapy

Liam learning how to read the chart for his first therapy session. He was not thrilled about the pink eye patch. We changed that though and he was a lot happier. 

Liam and I were anxious to find out what Vision Therapy was going to look like for him. Every person’s therapy is unique to them. Liam’s therapy schedule looks completely different from our friend Alli because of his age, and eye issues. They have similar things that they needed to work on, but they tested at different levels. Each week we will meet with Dr. G and either get new therapy exercises or build on the ones he already is doing. My advice to parents is to buy a notebook and take good notes. Watch how the doctor administers the therapy. Listen to their cues and what they help the child with and what they let them struggle with. I also recommend taking video or pictures if it’s not distracting. A lot of the time I would refer to them to administer the therapy better.  Ask questions if you have them. It’s a lot to take in and you want to do the therapy correctly when you get home. You are the key to your child’s success.  After our appointment with Dr. G we went to the store and Liam got to pick our any candy he wanted (within reason of course). I told him that when he completed his therapy everyday he would get a piece as a reward. He was super excited about this especially, because candy does not exist in our house. Because of his Ulcerative Colitis we have to be careful with how much sugar he gets. He chose starburst which was perfect. It made him feel like he was getting something kind of big and it last a little bit because of all the chewing he has to do.

Okay so on to our first week. Dr. G started us off slowly. All together the exercises totaled 30 minutes a day.  The first exercise we had to do was one where Liam had to track letters on the wall one eye at a time. I would time him for this and tally up his errors. The beginning part of the week it was a big struggle for him. The letters were spaced 1 inch apart and displayed in two rows and he stood 6 feet back.  The first day his results were: Right eye took 2 minutes 23 seconds with 5 errors and his left eye was 2 minutes and 35 seconds with 6 errors. By the end of the week his results were: Right eye 2 minutes 2 seconds with 3 errors. His Left eye was 1 minute and 19 seconds with 2 errors.  I was really pleased with the results and I was excited to hear if we get to move the letters 2 inches apart.

The next exercise we did that week was a 3D exercise. He had to wear red/green glasses and I look at two circles and track them as I moved them further and closer apart. This one was hard for Liam. 3D seems to be a big struggle for him. I am not really sure there were big results from this exercise. I think it was a little hard for him.

The last exercise we did that week was blocks. You may be thinking blocks? Yes, something as simple as blocks was part of our therapy. Liam has never really liked playing with blocks. This was by far his favorite therapy so far. I would have him sort the blocks and time him. The first day he was able to do it in 1 minute 42 seconds with 0 errors, and by the end of the week he did it in 59 seconds with 1 error.  The other exercise we did with the blocks was having him duplicate patterns. This part was fun because I could have his sister be a part of it. She wanted to feel included so she would build a pattern and he would try to build the same one. At the beginning of the week his results looked like this:
  1.     4 blocks missed one that was vertical
  2.     4 blocks missed one that was horizontal
  3.     5 blocks he did it perfect.

At the end of the week it looked like this:
  1.      5 blocks zero errors
  2.      6 blocks 1 error. Placement error
  3.      6 blocks with 1 error. He connected one block that should not have been

So as you can see he improved from the beginning of the week to the end. Dr. G was very happy with his results when I emailed them to him.  The 3-D one she said was obviously difficult for him and so she said we would be changing that one up and trying something else for week 2. 

Over all I really feel Liam did great. Its a lot to ask him to go to school for four hours then come home and do more. But he was excited and did a good job listening. I found that if I let him choose which order to to the exercises it went a lot smoother. It gave him a sense of control. I kept it really positive and stayed upbeat with him. When he needed a break I would give it to him. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Warning signs I did not see

Looking back now there were so many signs to Liam having vision problems. He does not fit in the typical mold, but whats new.

Liam was a transitional kindergartner in 2012-2013.  He had a great teacher and learned a lot. Because he was a TK I did not push academics with him. I knew he was going to repeat so I did not see the need to push him. At the end of the year I got his report card and it showed that he still missed some letters in the alphabet and was not blending words. I was a little surprised, because the teacher he had is incredible. I decided to work with him over the summer so that he would have a jump start. After a month and half I let it go, because it wasn't clicking. He still knew some high frequency words from school, but would guess a lot. For example if he saw the word "Tree" he would say it was "the". At the time I did not know that he was just seeing the T and the E. So to him it was "the". This is a tracking issue. It was hard on my husband to understand him having a tracking issue. He said to me "this kid can catch and hit a ball, he does not have a tracking issue". I had to explain to him that there are different kinds of tracking issues.

When he was little like 3 years old we took him to his first 3-D movie, because his sister begged to go. Liam wore the glasses for a total of 2 minutes and cried. He kept saying "no glasses". I just thought he was too little and it scared him. When he was around 5 years we took him to another one and he did not cry, but refused to wear the glasses. When the Vision Test revealed he had a hard time seeing 3-D, I had an AHA moment. Liam does not like the Toy Story ride at Disneyland. He does not like to wear the 3-D glasses during the ride. It was starting to all make sense now.

When he started Kindergarten this year he was coming home with headaches. I thought it was because of the medication he was on for U.C. Then he started saying he could not see little words. The day that changed everything was when the kids and I were at the skating rink with our friend Jenny and her girls. I started to tell her about Liam's headaches and him saying he can't see little words. She asked if she could take him into the party room at the rink and test his tracking. I said "sure". One thing I noticed outside the window was that he told her he could not see the chart she was holding up. She kept bringing it closer to him until he could see it. Then she had him do an exercise and he did just okay. Then she asked him to follow her finger with just his eyes until she touched his nose. He lost track of her finger.Then she asked him to follow her finger while she made it go in a big circle. Again he loss track of it. We talked for a bit while the kids skated.  I said " I should just call and have him evaluated". At the time I just thought this kid needs glasses. Jenny on the other hand thought this kid needs VT. I took everyone home and we were sitting in her drive way and I said" Its 4:30 do you think the office is open?' Jenny said "were calling right now to find out". I made the appointment right then and there and that's when our journey started.

After we got the results of Liam's VT testing, Dr. Griffith put down some suggestions of activities to have Liam start. She wanted us to encourage   building blocks, puzzles, and similar highly spatial/visual manipulatives. When I read that on the report I was shocked, because those were activities I have never been able to get him to do. Again another AHA moment. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Where I shop

Many people ask me in daily conversations where I do my shopping. Many said it would be helpful if I posted on my blog, so here it is:


Monthly shopping- 

  • Frozen Organic Chicken Breasts
  • Fresh Organic Chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • Organic Ground Beef (Costco told me it was grass fed)
  • Grass Fed Organic Steak
  • Sometimes they will carry frozen ground turkey. I always checking to see if they have brought it back. If not then I buy ground turkey from Foster Farms.
  • Organic brown eggs- 3 of there 18 count 
  • Organic fruit (this is seasonal)
  • Coconut sugar
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Annie's fruit snacks
  • Fruit leathers
  • Frozen fruit for smoothies
  • Nitrate free salami
  • Organic vegetables:  salad mix
  • Nitrate free Hot dogs
  • Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Lara Bars
  • Honeyville Almond Meal...They finally are selling it and I don't have to get online anymore
  • Organic Olive Oil

Trader Joes:

Weekly Shopping Depending on my weekly menu-

  • Nitrate free bacon- but mostly I get this at Target now
  • Nitrate free Hot dogs if Costco is out
  • Olive oil potato chips (treat for my kids on occasion)
  • Coconut milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Raw organic nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios, pecans, sunflower seeds)
  • Organic Romaine
  • Organic salad mixes (kale, spinach, leafy greens)
  • Organic Carrots, Celery, Broccoli, Cauliflower,Sugar Snap Peas, Green Beans, Asparagus, Onions, Garlic, Avocado ,Tomatoes, Zucchini, Cucumber, Bell Peppers etc....
  • Bananas
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Artichokes
  • Organic Fruit (Apples, Grapes, Pears, Plums, Peaches, Nectarines, Strawberries, Black Berries,   Raspberries, Kiwi, Pineapple etc...)
  • Chicken breakfast sausage
  • Italian Sausage
  • Organic Marinara
  • Pasta noodles- gluten free treat for my kiddos
  • Frozen Fruit
  • Lara Bars
  • Kind Bars
  • Organic Ketchup
  • Organic Mustard
  • Artichoke Hearts in a jar
  • Hummus
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Grape Seed Oil
  • TJ's barbecue sauce because it does not have corn in it
  • Odds and ends depending on week like spices and such.
  • Hormel Nitrate Free Turkey and Ham
  • Applegate products: Bacon and Salami and Hot Dogs- its nitrate free and uncured
  • Van's Gluten Free Waffles- in frozen section if we are having a cheat
  • Fruit Leathers
  • Kind and Luna Bars- in health food section near the protein powders

Almond Flour:

I order it in bulk for all my baking at Honeyville. The link is below


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Vision Therapy

In a few weeks I will be documenting Liam's Vision Therapy. We had him tested a few weeks ago and got all the results. He started his therapy Thursday September 19th, 2013. I need some time to process this new journey in our lives. As soon as I do I will share it with everyone. Wish us luck!

9 months on Apriso

Yesterday we went to Liam's GI doctor for a check up. It has been 9 months since Liam started taking Apriso. Lots of things have changed. We no longer have to break the capsule apart and get him to swallow the medicine in one big gulp with juice. He has learned how to swallow the pills. He has also not had any huge flare ups. He has had the occasional stomach pains followed with a day or two of diarrhea but then he gets back to normal. We are learning that certain foods will cause him great pain. He cannot eat any french fries from restaurants. Its not the potato that is the problem but the oil they fry it in. I often will bring fruit and some veggies with us when we go out to eat. We order him a protein like hamburger without the bun, grilled chicken, ribs, or steak to go along with the food I brought.

He has developed a dry cough. Its going on 4 months, but she said we need to just ride it out. I asked if it could be a side effect from the Apriso. She at first said " no I do not believe its from the medicine". But then later said "well I suppose anything can happen from taking a medicine everyday, but its a low percentage." I wonder if it could be a sign of Acid Reflux, but the benefits out way the cough. It also could just be something new he is dealing with since people with Autoimmune diseases often deal with more than just the initial disease itself. So for now we will ride it out and hope his body fights it.

She was very happy with his weight gain and growth. She said he has finally caught up from all the weight he loss over the years. He has also had a huge growth spurt. This says that he is absorbing nutrients and is becoming healthy. Fingers cross this just continues.

We are going to run a few labs and make sure everything looks good. Our goal is for continual good health and flare up free. If we can maintain he will go in for a scope during the Summer of 2014. This made Mike and I very happy. We have a follow up appointment in 3-4 months as long as he continues to do well on the Apriso. So far this mama is happy that her boy is doing so well.

Typical School Lunch

This post isn't just what Liam eats, but what we eat as a family for lunch. Liam has a hard time digesting raw vegetables so for him we modify. I will give examples of when we modify.


  • Turkey roll up: Turkey (nitrate free) rolled up with pickles, cucumber or  cherry tomatoes for Liam Savy my daughter will put mayo and mustard on the turkey then roll up either a pickle, bell pepper, cucumber, or avocado.  Sometimes for Savy we wrap the meat in Lettuce. Liam cannot eat any lettuce so he stick with just the meat
  • Nitrate free Salami
  • Nitrate free Ham
  • Nitrate free Bacon
  • Chicken legs
  • Homemade Chicken Fingers
  • Salad with veggies and left over meat (Savy eats this but Liam can't have salad)
  • Steak pieces left over from dinner
  • Hummus with carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, broccoli, and cauliflower. If you notice she is not a fan of tomatoes. Liam does not eat Hummus. He doesn't like it. I often wonder if it upsets his tummy since he has never liked it.
  • Jerky

  •  watermelon
  •  strawberries
  •  nectarines
  •  peaches
  •  grapes
  • pineapple 
  • pears
  • plums
  • kiwis
  • berries

Fall / Winter :
  • apple slices
  • orange slices
  • frozen or fresh pineapple
  • grapes if good
  • kiwi
  • Packaged Dole mandarins or pineapple in a container that is in its own juices. I don't buy the ones with syrup in them.  
  • Carrots- Liam can eat two baby carrots
  • Cucumber slices- Liam can eat as long as no skin
  • Snap Peas- Liam can eat a couple raw but I blanch them so he can have more
  • Small Bell Peppers or Sliced- Liam does okay with these as long as its not a lot
  • Cherry Tomatoes- Liam loves these
  • Pickles
  • Celery- Liam cannot eat Celery


  • Fruit leathers
  • Bunny snacks
  • Applesauce Pouches
  • Fruit and Veggie Pouches
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Trail Mix: Raw almonds, cashews, sunflowers, and pistachios 
  • Bars: Homemade, KIND, and LARA 
  • Kettle in Olive Oil Potato Chips
  • Dried Fruit
  • Plantains
  • Coconut Yogurt
  • Jello

If you need more ideas ask away. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Vote for Liam! If he gets the most votes he will win a free container of this sorbet.

Liam's Chocolate Nutter Butter Swirl

Name:Katie Bennett
Location:United States
Mixin 1:Fudge Swirls
Mixin 2:Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
Mixin 3:Reeses Pieces

My sweetest person is my 5 year old son Liam. He has several health issues and can't eat many sweets. He loves Sorbet and chocolate. I made this flavor for him because we have never come across a chocolate flavor sorbet. What a treat this would be for him!

Click on link below!!!