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Showing posts from January, 2011

Magic Marker Monday: Full Bloom

Flowers made from tissue paper and pipe cleaners. We copied this idea from Michelle at 5 Minutes for Special Needs - it sure brightened a gloomy day! Find out how to brighten your day.

Time to Vote!

Over the next two weeks, please cast your vote for our Amazing Race Team Name. You may vote as many times as you would like. The box to the right of the eSpeciallyBen site has the information. On another note, all 15 Ben Bookmarks have sold - raising $150! I will put in another order if I get enough requests. Thank you for your support.

Fighting the Unknown

Last fall, I spent a large number of my hours fighting the recommendation for the school board to close Ben's school. I spent countless hours talking on the phone, sending emails, attending meetings and even more time worrying and stressing about the situation. What exactly was I fighting? I did not want Ben's current school to close. I wanted him to stay where he was with the same teachers, same students and same environment. Why did I want these same things? I was happy with where he was and I knew the teachers, students and environment. We were comfortable there. I was really fighting the unknown. I made the assumption that the unknown would be bad. Two weeks ago, I wrote about Ben's new placement for the fall 2011 and how I was thrilled with the new school. I met with the principal for two hours recently. Her philosophy about inclusion blew me away. Her background is in working with special needs children and she lead an area of the Exceptional Children before

Special Exposure Wednesday: Walking in the Snow

Ben enjoyed our quick walk around the block during our Winter Blizzard with 2 inches of the white stuff. Check here for more photos of special kids.

Amazing Race: Vote for Our Team Name

Thank you for your great responses to my request for team name ideas for Amazing Race. The winning name will be posted on t-shirts and banners. We will show our team spirit to Charlotte. Beginning Friday, you may vote for the one name that you like the best. A box on the right-hand side of this site will have these choices. Of course, you may vote as many times as you would like. Here they are: Bentastic Ben the Builder Ben and the Builders eSpecially Ben Peanut Butter and Benanas The Red-Haired Fighters The Amazing Ben   Unfinished Benness (The TV show's theme this season is Unfinished Business) If you have a creative jolt in the next few days and want your idea added, late entries will be accepted. Just email them to me at or include them in the comment section below. Remember there will be a prize for the creator of the winning name!

Blood, Sweat and Tears

I have wanted to write this story since it happened, but then life got too busy and the emotion of the experience dissipated. As weeks passed, it was like, as my long-time friend, John, used to say, "It's out of the moment." Circumstances over the last month make it important for me to tell the story now because it marks a big change in Ben. Christmas Eve last year , we attended the family service at our church and had an absolute wonderful time. Since I was pregnant with Logan, we have attended services three times at this church - Logan and Sean's baptism and last Christmas. To our credit, before Ben was born, we were active participants and luckily, church members remember us from then. So this year, I had high expectations for the Christmas Eve service. As usual those expectations were thrown out the window as soon as we sat down in our pew. Ben was very noisy, so I took him to the back of the church in his Convaid chair . Using eye gaze, he lead me down the s

Magic Marker Monday: The Paper Plate - More than a place for food

Christmas Wreath by Sean, age 2 1/2 Fall Wreath by Ben, age 7 See what other little artists are up to.

The Countdown Begins: 50 Days

  50 Days Until Amazing Race As many of you have read, Ryan and I will be contestants in our local version of Amazing Race on Saturday, March 12, 2011. The county parks and recreation department is organizing this event to raise money for the scholarship fund for Therapeutic Recreation camps offered during the summer for people with special needs. To catch up read here .   We still need your support!   1. Donate $10 and receive a Ben Bookmark. Proceeds will be sent to the scholarship fund. Send me a private email at 2. We need a team name. We have two suggestions for team names: eSpecially Ben and Bentastic . We want a few more so everyone can vote for their favorite. Get your creative juices flowing and send us your suggestions in the comment section below. There will be a prize for the person whose team name is chosen. Prize categories for Amazing Race were announced this week: Team Spirit, Most Funds Raised and Grand Prize - a Char

The Real Deal: Video EEG

Definitely the BEFORE photo! Ben was scheduled to have this Video EEG in December, but he came down with bronchitis and a double ear infection so it was postponed until this week. We are lucky this happened because I read a post on 5 Minutes for Special Needs about EEGs and asked the blogger a few questions. She emailed me with answers and added a lot of other information. Without her insight, I would have been unprepared for this experience. Thank you Gina at Special Happens . Because I lacked information to even ask the right questions, I thought I would document our visit and others can learn from our experience. Of course, hospitals and doctors are all different, but this will at least give an overview of what to expect. What to Bring Button front shirts - once the electrodes are on, nothing is getting over that head Extra pants, comfy clothes for you and your child DVDs or Videotapes, music, games, books - some hospitals provide these things, but ones from home may work

Special Exposure Wednesday: Wired

Ben's Video EEG See more excellent photos here!

It's Not a Toothache

We are at the hospital for Ben's Video EEG. Ben had 20 electrodes glued to his head yesterday around noon. The gauze wrap is supposed to keep him from pulling at the wires. I am supposed to keep him from pulling at the gauze. They ran out of gauze last night after Ben pulled it off for the third time. We cannot leave the room for 24 hours. It is 6:30am and we have a few more hours to go. Ben's 4th gauze wrap is off and staying off. We've both had just a few hours sleep. More about the procedure in the next few days. (And if you are wondering, yes, that is Ben's mad face.)

Magic Marker Monday: Whoooo you talking 'bout?

Ben, age 7 This is a great project for Ben because he can add the "feathers" with minimal assistance. More artists at work here.

Eating Crow

This has nothing to do with kids or special needs, but thought you might need a good laugh today. Enjoy! The other night, my wonderful husband was not too wonderful. He was grouchy and snapped at me. In retaliation, I huffed my way into our bedroom, slammed the door and went to bed. The next morning at 6:15am, Ryan came into our bedroom. He leaned over me and kissed my cheek and began a very sincere and thoughtful apology. Groggy as I was, I heard voices, other than his in the room and told him. Ryan brushed my garbled words aside, saying that it was just the radio that was on in the kitchen. Waking up further, I told Ryan the talking was coming from his pocket. Although still not believing me, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. Sure enough, Ryan had "pocket-called" the owner of the company for which he works. Ryan quickly got on the phone and asked if he had heard anything that was said. Luckily, it seems that the owner did not hear a word, or so h

Back in the Saddle

I received an email today from a long time friend and former colleague who offered me the opportunity to facilitate a portion of a retreat for a group of college students traveling to Guatemala on a mission trip in March. When I worked at the local university, I did this for her every year for at least 6 years. Once Ben was born and I cut my hours back and then eventually quit all together, I stopped leading these activities. I cannot say I missed it. I had too many other things to do. But when I received the email, I wrote back "Yes!" immediately, without consulting husband or calendar. I contacted the partner I worked with on this retreat and found out that he was delighted I was willing to do it again. He has been doing it solo for the past several years. I have already come up with a sample agenda and activities. To my surprise I had fresh, creative and thoughtful ideas. As a stay at home mom, being around children most of the day, and focusing on home and family, it

Shameless Promotion!

Nominate Your Favorite Special-Needs Sites and Books If you feel moved to act after reading the information below, please do so. The more nominations I receive the better chance I have of getting in the final voting process. Thank you for your help. The 2011 Readers' Choice Awards on's 2011 Readers' Choice Awards will showcase the best products, features and services in multiple categories, from technology to hobbies to parenting. Nominations will be accepted from Jan. 13 to Feb. 4 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Fill out this form in its entirety and click "Send Feedback" to have your favorite Special-Needs sites and books counted for our 2011 Readers' Choice Awards for Parenting Special Needs. Check back with Parenting Special Needs at awards page to learn about finalists in other categories.  Winners will be announced March 15. There's no prize -- just the bragging rights that come with getting recogniz

People Making a Difference

In the past two weeks I have come across three amazing and inspiring opportunities and stories. Please look them over and share with others. Twelve In Twelve The first is about a father and two sons living in Charlotte, who over Thanksgiving Dinner, hatched a plan that will forever change the course of their lives.  They will travel to 12 countries in 12 months working in orphanages, schools, townships and with tribes to build a network for change. Last year, I read a book called, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. The book's focus is about how to make your life read like an interesting and meaningful story. The chapter that most interested me was about a family that transformed their lives by doing a large scale global community service project together. Twelve In Twelve is an example of a family leaving the comforts of their home and routines for the unknown, in hope of inspiring change in the world. Probably, they will come back the most changed, for

Special Exposure Wednesday: Apple a Day...

Ben had a wild one last week. Getting him to bed before midnight took Benadryll, Bob and a Battle (which he typically won). He was in such a great mood - all he wanted to do was move, explore, climb and participate in everything. And this was after a full day of school and an hour of therapy. In these photos, Ben decided he wanted to sit on the high stools at the counter. Before I knew it, he grabbed an apple and started munching.

The "Who do you love more?" Game

I have never liked that game - Who do you love more: Me or Daddy? Sean or Ben? It is a close relative to another one of my not-so-favorite questions, Who would you save from a boat if you could only choose one? Logan has reached that age where he likes to pose these uncomfortable questions knowing it makes us squirm. Tonight, I had the rare occasion to snuggle with both Logan and Ben. Logan knows that Ben has a lot of love for him. If Logan is in the room, everyone else is chopped liver. Ben stares at Logan, "talks" to him, tries to climb next to him - he is clearly the favorite based on this behavior. And Logan is very proud of the fact that he is the favorite. During this somewhat quiet time on the sofa, Logan decided to take some photos of Ben. Then he asked Ben who he loved more: Mommy or Me? Ben could not climb over me fast enough to lay on top of Logan. Ben stayed there for quite awhile too, just snuggling on Logan. Logan re-asked the question several times, and

Magic Marker Monday: Photo Crafts

 These crafty gifts will forever be my favorites: From 2005 - My first gift from Ben. He is two years old here. It is made from a jar lid. From 2010 - Ben is seven years old. See more works of art.

10K and 10LBS

New Year, New Challenge: Run four 10K races. Lose 10 lbs and keep it off. What's your challenge to yourself this year? Write it down and you will feel obligated to carry it through. Make a pact with a friend or relative and you have accountability. Make it public and then you really have to follow through with it. Happy New Year and Good Luck with your resolutions.

Divine Intervention or Good Luck?

Things sometimes have a way of working out and when they do, it is like a beam of light is shining down on our family from the heavens. An aside: Just watched George Carlin's Its Bad  for Ya and he makes it clear that any reference to a heaven above is pure poppy cock, but he did not say it quite that way. He used a lot of $#%@* There have been too many times in our life with Ben that divine intervention had to be figuring into the situation. The first time we sent Ben to preschool was when he was two. I researched many places with weekday schools, and most churches were not accommodating to Ben's special needs. One even went as far to say that they had no idea what to do with him on rainy days because their rainy day room was upstairs. Heck, if they couldn't figure that out, then the sunny days wouldn't be much better. We did find a church, 25 minutes away who welcomed us with open arms. On the first day of preschool, we found out that the teacher happened to be

Special Exposure Wednesday: Christmas Morning

Ben opens his present from Grandpa. See other photos here.

Bob On My Mind

I know I have watched Bob the Builder one too many times when these thoughts cross my mind: Perhaps Bob could be on Dancing with the Stars . He does a mean Salsa. What is Mrs. Percival really saying when she asks Bob to meet her at her house for dance lessons? Is she disappointed when he doesn't show? How does Wendy feel when Bob says, "Wendy, I don't know what I would do without you." Her look seems to say, "Bob, I love you. You are the man of my dreams." It is truly sad that Bob does not get to see his identical twin brother, Tom, very often. Wendy could really compete on Skating with the Stars . She's been an Olympic Skier and a marathon runner. She's truly an athlete. Like I said one too many times... Oh and I found a site that actually discusses the possible relationship between Bob and Wendy I am not that far off base.

Magic Marker Monday: Worth Framing

Ben, age 7 Click here for more works of art.