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Showing posts from December, 2009

Gadgets and Gizmos - Part 2: Chewy Tubes

Before I knew about Chewy Tubes, I searched for something for Ben to chew on that was not someone's hand, hair or electrical cord, and could withstand the pressure of his biting. I once purchased plumbing materials at a hardware store thinking I could use it for Ben. Then I found (or my mom told me about) Chewy Tubes. I get a lot of questions about Ben's Chewy Tube. I usually tell people that Ben needs something in his mouth to chew on and this serves as an appropriate way for him to meet that need. READ=Ben might bite your finger off if he did not have the chewy. If you are unfamiliar with these, I think the official Chewy Tube website does the best at describing their purpose and answering questions: Description of Chewy Tubes Here's my own assessment of the Chewy Tubes: Positives They do the job - if Ben is satisfied with his chewy, he will leave his clothing and other items alone. Easy to clean. I wash them in the dishwasher. The solid "P", &qu

Special Exposure Wednesday: Lights, Camera, Friendship

The week before Christmas, we visited a small town close to where we live, that has a long history of decorating for the holidays. The entire town - businesses and homes - participate by hanging lights, putting out Santas, reindeer and playing music. It is a beautiful sight. This year we were lucky to get a group together of teachers and their families who Ben has known since his preschool days. One family brought along Ben's former classmate. This photo shows them enjoying a bright reindeer together. The other photos are from other sites we saw on our walk. Special Exposure Wednesday , a part of 5 Minutes for Special Needs , is a wonderful way for families to share inspirational photos with others. Each week dozens of sites will post their photos - please check them out.

Moving Closer to God

As the children's choir sang on Christmas Eve, Ben got out of his seat and scooted himself closer and closer to the alter. He remained there throughout most of the service, with the pastor and other members of the church moving around him. Ben was quiet, calm and in the moment. It was a wonderful thing to witness.

Magic Marker Monday: Penguins

Ben brought this home from school. It is an Oriental Trading Company arts and craft kit. Need to use a glue gun. Magic Marker Monday is a creation through 5 Minutes for Special Needs , a website full of information, blogs and discussion groups. One way to celebrate life is to see it through art, and this site helps us share our children's creative masterpieces. Please check out the site.

Guest Blogger: Grandma

Grandma and Ben at a sports bar. I don’t have to tell you how wonderful it is to be a grandparent. All of a sudden it is your house they run to instead of run away from. You receive unconditional love; you get a picture every time you show up; great hugs, kisses and all around recognition for just being you. It is kind of like being a kid again. So there you have it, I am one happy grandma. Ben was my first grandchild. I think that once we knew that he was medically healthy, I set my mind to getting him to be all that he can be. I think at first I was a little too gung-ho and did not take into consideration the feelings that my child and her husband were experiencing. I was, you have to do this.. this .. and that. That’s just me. I like to find solutions to situations. I want to know the end result. Plus I am a special educator so I know a lot of what is out there. I think I did manage to offer some good suggestions. Vanessa is very good about taking advice, and I appreciate the

Special Exposure Wednesday: This Santa's not camera shy!

This was a nice surprise to find Santa in our photo. Special Exposure Wednesday , a part of 5 Minutes for Special Needs , is a wonderful way for families to share inspirational photos with others. Each week dozens of sites will post their photos - please check them out.

Possibilities and Disappointment

Last Tuesday, I spoke with two friends who I do not see on a regular basis. One friend shared a dream she had about Ben two months ago. We were all in front of the YMCA walking to our cars, ready to go down a staircase. My friend gave her hand to Ben to help him walk. In the dream, she said, he gave her this funny look, like, "I don't need your help." Ben was walking by himself, a bit hunched over, but walking on his own. I have had many friends and family tell me about this type of a dream, where Ben is walking or talking. It always makes me smile to think that people worry about Ben like we do, keep him in their thoughts and pray for his well-being. The other friend lives on the opposite side of the city, and we have not seen each other in a few years. She left a long message about a child she had heard about that had similar traits as Ben, and they had found something that helped the child. She wanted to send me the article about it. I have to admit, when I got the m

Magic Marker Monday: Graham Cracker House

This is a family tradition dating back to the 1970's when I was in second grade. My teacher, Mrs. West, taught us all how to make a Graham Cracker House. We used our individual milk carton from school lunch as the base, graham crackers for the walls, Royal Icing as the edible glue and lots of candy to decorate. Over the years with the help of a carpenter husband, the house has grown in size and intricacy. One year, the roof made from Big Red gum, looked like slate. Now with the kids involved, we make the building and the kids decorate. For the past two years, we have had a Graham Cracker House Building Party and several families from the neighborhood join us. Each family brings their own house setup and we all share the candy we bring. It's a lot of fun! Directions • Approx a 12” x 12” cardboard or baking pan covered tightly in tin foil. This will serve as the platform for the house. If you use a baking pan, make sure it is not one you will need soon. • A cardboard fou

Special Treatment

This past weekend, we visited the Polar Express on the Great Smoky Mountain Railway . The train ride is setup like the famous movie Polar Express , based on the book by the same name. The train attendants are dressed like waiters, dancing down the aisles to the tunes from the movie, and a conductor punches each child's Golden Ticket. They serve hot cocoa and a chocolate Santa and then read the Polar Express book over a loud speaker. All the time, music is playing and the train is moving slowly to the North Pole. Once reaching the North Pole, a small town lit up for the festivities, Santa boards the train to give each boy and girl the magical first gift of Christmas, a silver bell. Meanwhile, we were seated in a four seat space - two pairs of seats facing each other. Sean, our youngest, sat staring in awe for the first 30 minutes. It was a lot for him to take in especially because he is in love with trains right now. Logan declared "This is awesome, better than Extreme K

Special Exposure Wednesday: Look, No Hands!

Logan is four and learning to ride his bicycle with training wheels. His grandpa and grandma visited this weekend and he was showing off his new moves and feeling very proud of himself.

Hair of the Dog: Race 1 of 12

In case anyone is catching up on this blog, I have committed to running 12 races in the 2010 year (the year of my 40th birthday) - one per month. Hair of the Dog  is sponsored by the YMCA in Spartanburg, SC. This race is at 9:00am on New Year's Day and it is about a 90 minute drive from our house. Am I crazy? A bit, but there are no races in the city I live in during the month of January. This is the best I could find and the idea of it being on January 1 interests me. There is an old saying that says whatever you do on New Year's Day is what you will spend most of your time doing the rest of the year. Running could be a good way to spend this 2010. And word just in from my husband, he's considering walking the 2 mile route with the three kids. Okay, maybe this will all workout for the best. Wish me luck, or better yet, run a race too! Just in case you are wondering, like I was, what the heck Hair of the Dog  means - check out the link to Wikipedia.

Magic Marker Monday: Friendship

Ben's class made this piece of artwork. This week, Ben brought home a lot of artwork, and I wasn't sure which one to choose until I saw this one. The theme is "Friends", and each child added their handprint to the paper. The computer program, Boardmaker was used to make pictures that represent Share, Play, Care, Help and Listen. A posting this week on 5 Minutes for Special Needs focused on how all kids need playdates and friends. This artwork seemed to be yet another reminder of how important it is. Magic Marker Monday is a creation through 5 Minutes for Special Needs , a website full of information, blogs and discussion groups. One way to celebrate life is to see it through art, and this site helps us share our children's creative masterpieces. Please check out the site.

Gadgets and Gizmos - Part 1: TAOS

If you have a child with special needs, most likely, you will also have gadgets and gizmos that help your child learn to walk, talk, eat, drink, toilet train, sit-up straight and a whole host of other skills. Some gadgets and gizmos may be a medical necessity for your child – helping them to breathe, get nutrition or stay healthy. Whatever it may be, it takes time to find out about what is available and then learn the ins and outs of each piece of equipment. But when a real good tool comes along, it can be life changing for the child and even the family. Over the next few months, I am going to introduce a few of the items we have used. I am always surprised to find out about new equipment. I hope to spread the word about things that have been worth the time, effort and cost for us. The TAOS , Therapeutic Ambulatory Orthotic System , is what I am focusing on today. Not many people have ever heard of it, even physical therapists. It is actually Ben's latest gizmo – and it is seri

Special Exposure Wednesday: Didn't Make the Cut

This year it took 28 photos to get the "best" Christmas Card Photo. They were all good in their own way - funny faces, poses and expressions. This is one of the 27 that did not make it this year. Special Exposure Wednesday , a part of 5 Minutes for Special Needs , is a wonderful way for families to share inspirational photos with others. Each week dozens of sites will post their photos - please check them out.

Taking Care of Yourself

Turkey Trot 2009 * 5 Minutes for Special Needs , a blog I follow, had a posting last week about taking care of yourself. It basically said that we are so busy taking our kids to doctor and therapy appointments that we may overlook our own health. I do know that I need to stay physically fit as well as emotionally stable to handle the stress and physical work that is involved in raising Ben. I am fairly good about taking care of myself - I exercise almost every weekday, I read fiction to relax and get together with friends to unwind and share stories. It is sometimes a struggle to find the time to do the things I enjoy or even fight off the guilt of being selfish. I ran an 8k on Thanksgiving, not having run a race in more than two years. I forgot the enjoyment I got out of being with so many people also excited to be running. It was exhilarating. The best moment of the race was when I saw two kids pushing their dad, who was in a wheelchair. I wanted to say something positive to them,

Magic Marker Monday: Recycled Art

Ben, Age 6 Ben made this at school from an egg carton. I think it is so clever! I am giving it to our local fire department as a thank you for participating in our neighborhood's Halloween Festival. Magic Marker Monday is a creation through 5 Minutes for Special Needs , a website full of information, blogs and discussion groups. One way to celebrate life is to see it through art, and this site helps us share our children's creative masterpieces. Please check out the site.

Special Exposure Wednesday: Christmas Trees

Ben and Sean in search of the perfect tree.

This too shall pass.

We had a great Thanksgiving. I ran an 8k in the morning, came back and we all jumped in the car to watch the last hour of the parade. We came home and ate pizza (really) and everyone except for Ben and me took long naps. Ben watched a movie, and I read a book. At 6pm, we went to our neighbors to pickup Thanksgiving leftovers, and then watched Miracle on 34th Street as a family. On the scale of holidays, this would have been close to a ten. But as they say, this too shall pass. By Friday night, something had taken over Ben. He started with his high pitched yelling, which we had not heard in a very long time. When the yelling starts, it is non-stop, loud and pierces the inner depths of your being. In addition, Ben was climbing, grabbing, kicking and out-of-control. His appetite was unending, eating ridiculous amounts of food and drinks. The items “Benzilla” left in his wake: a broken toilet tank cover, Balmex on the dresser and rug, near crash with my Christmas dishes and an almost