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Showing posts from February, 2011

Magic Marker Monday: Clay Animals

It was the third snow day and with cabin fever setting in and school a distant memory in my mind, we needed another new indoor activity. Thank goodness, this gift from Santa was overlooked! The kids made clay animals while I did a sun-come-out dance in my bedroom. For more works of art, go to 5 Minutes for Special Needs . Eight More Days to VOTE. Please take a moment to vote.

Locker Room Pep Talk


Reflections Amidst Chaos

The involvement in the Readers' Choice Awards has been a whirlwind experience for me over the past couple of weeks. The word obsessed has been thrown around by some while I prefer to use conscientiously involved . I admit, I am extremely competitive and I have taken this contest seriously. It has become a family affair. My father advises me to work the phones. My mother has sent emails to every contact she has ever made. Logan asks me every day if I am winning. My husband gives me updates on my statistics before I get out of bed. My step-parents have their office mates, bicycling buddies and extended family all voting for eSpecially Ben . My husband does mutter under his breath that if I put all this energy to other uses, I may be able to cure a disease or run a small country. But that is for another day...and another contest. I can see it now, advertised in The New Yorker : "Person who comes up with best caption for this cartoon becomes President." I

Got Opinion? has added an area to each of the finalists' pages where enthusiastic positive words may be shared. If you have an opinion and would like to encourage others to read eSpecially Ben , then share your thoughts here . Many of you send me personal notes through my email and I save every one of them for days when I need uplifting thoughts. Thank you for doing this - it makes my day every time. If you have the courage to make those comments public, please do so. I truly appreciate all the help everyone has given eSpecially Ben during this Readers' Choice Awards event. The support has felt like a great big giant hug (and that is a virtual hug, because those of you who know me, I am not all that into hugs.) The love is flowing from friends whom I see every day to family members, some who have never met me to those who have not seen me since I was a baby to other friends that have not seen me since high school graduation - you get the idea. And if this is not

Literally Awesome

In 2009, Ben participated in a pilot literacy program developed at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The program went so well, that Attainment Company is now marketing it as a teaching tool for schools. Last week, Ben's teacher sent a link of Ben in the training video for this product. It is a commitment to watch the longer video, so I asked the Attainment Company to edit it to a shorter version for this posting. You will not regret the time you use to view either of the videos. Ben's 2 Minute Training Video   The Big Commitment: 18 minute version - Ben is in the Level 4 Video Literacy Training Video From Nydia Hoard, Ben's special education teacher, and the facilitator in the video: In this video clip Ben is featured in a training video for a literacy program called Pathways to Literacy , published by Attainment Company.  This literacy program is designed for students with more moderate to severe cognitive disabilities.  Its goal is to have stude

Special Exposure Wednesday: What would Dr. Spock say?

Mommy and Daddy found sofas to sleep on. How could we refuse?

Expand Your Horizons

I know it is hard to believe, but the Readers' Choice Awards are not limited to just the Favorite Special Needs Parenting Blog. There are other categories to see and other sites to vote on. Check these out and you might just learn something new today: Favorite Special Needs Childrens Book Best Special Needs Online Community Favorite Special Needs Memoir Vote Today - only 2 more weeks!

Leading the Way

Logan has a list of jobs to do each morning, ranging from putting away the clean dishes to making his bed. As he gets older, I intended to add more responsibilities to his list of jobs. Then it occurred to me that a long list of items to complete and check-off is not exactly what I want to teach my children. I want them to develop the ability to decide what needs to be done and then do it while gaining independence and a sense of worth through setting and completing their own goals. Completing a list someone else gives you will only get you so far in life. I thought of two areas that I think are the most important for a five year old - Taking Initiative and Finding Solutions. After asking my husband what he thought of my idea and getting a kind of crazy look, I went ahead with my plan. Once I get something in my head, there's no stopping me. Since that day, my husband has seen the wisdom of this idea and makes a point to talk about our two initiatives with Logan.  When I talk

Magic Marker Monday: Bencasso?

Ben came home with this today from school. It took me a minute to get it... Think of these illusions:  the old lady or the young woman, the vase or the two people facing each other.  Get it now? See more works of art at 5 Minutes for Special Needs Still Need Votes...Must Keep Going...Please take a moment to vote.

With the Right Threads...

they could be twins. *Photo from If this made you smile, take a moment to vote.

Gettin' a Little God

Perhaps it is just our family, but once we had kids, getting to church on a Sunday morning was impossible. Our excuses ran from too darn tired to just too damn tired. Our church, of which we have been members for over 8 years, has been understanding, baptizing our kids in spite of last seeing us at the prior child's baptism. This year, we have made a successful attempt (and yes, it is only February) to attend Sunday School every week. A community helper comes with us to help Ben at his Sunday School class while Ryan and I go to an adult class. Logan is in class with Ben, and Sean attends a group for younger children. The children start with music before class. When we arrive on Sundays, volunteers are setting up for Room In the Inn . Everyone, especially the children, are able to help setup the beds for the guests who arrive Sunday evening.  We have also taken part in the youth programs at indoor water parks and bowling alleys. These activities have made the boys more c

Be Wowed!

Okay - I will be honest, I had to check out the competition for the Readers' Choice Awards Finalists.  After looking through the posts and reading about their families and children, I was impressed. They are creative, interesting and educational. Check them out for yourself: Fighting Monsters with Rubber Swords Garden of Eagan Hartley's Life with 3 Boys Just a Little Bit Downsy Please take a moment to vote.

Equipment Mistakes

Ordering equipment for your child with special needs is time consuming, exhausting, stressful and full of ways to make big mistakes. Please learn from me - I have made those mistakes! 1. Work with others. School and private therapists are an invaluable resource. Use them all to make the decision. For whatever reason, we once ordered a walker for Ben without consulting other therapists and we made a big mistake. Ben was not ready for this walker and it sits in our attic right now. 2. Do not rush. I knew we had about 7 months to order three pieces of equipment for Ben in order to be in the insurance cycle for this year. I sent emails to the therapists letting them know that I wanted to order equipment for Ben. This started a dialogue with all the therapists. It took time to find a reputable company that took our insurance. Often these companies are understaffed, so make sure you can get the salesman to meet with you, be available for questions and be willing to come out to the sc

Special Exposure Wednesday: The Haircut

BEFORE: Looks like all will go smoothly. MIDDLE: Ben tests the stylist's skills. AFTER:  "I'm cool." Special thank you to the Supercuts on Providence Road in Charlotte. They have been cutting Ben's hair from the beginning. They are patient when he decides to hang upside down or slither out of the seat. Surprisingly enough, they are happy to see him whenever we come in (or they are really good actors). eSpecially Ben is one of five finalists for Readers' Choice Awards for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog. Please take a moment to vote everyday.

Amazing Race Team Name

With almost 50% of the votes, our Amazing Race Team Name will be.... drum roll please eSpecially Ben Elizabeth Edwards, Ben's former teacher from 3 and 4 year old preschool, is the winner for having suggested this team name. She is the grand prize winner of a gift card to our local French Bakery, Amelie's .  Thank you to everyone for contributing names and voting.  We raised $180 for the Amazing Race. All proceeds will go to the summer camp scholarship through Therapeutic Recreation. Thank you to everyone who has supported our team.

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Last week, in response to being annoyed with each other, Logan and Sean used choking, hitting and pushing to settle their differences. My challenge was not to yell until I lost my voice, so I calmly (calm for me) gave out time outs with privileges revoked. They each lost their prized activities - Sean lost TV time and Logan lost playtime. In addition to having to sit in our bedroom after school until bedtime, I asked Logan to draw a picture of brothers getting along and then write a story to accompany it. This is what I got: Notice the check marks on the top drawing and the X's on the bottom drawing. They depict what is good behavior and bad behavior. Logan's words: If you do not push somebody it will be fun for everybody. If somebody pushes you you do not push back. And I am shamelessly promoting my recent nomination as a finalist to the Readers' Choice Awards. Please take a moment to vote at vote.


Jealousy reared its ugly head this morning. It is a natural emotion, but ugly all the same. As I have said before, Logan has a list of jobs in the morning before school. They range from making his bed and straightening his room to putting away the silverware each morning. Sean has a list too, but he is not yet three and less is expected of him. Ben does not have any jobs to do. When jobs are complete, they may play. Logan is the middle child. In his 5 year old mind, he is stuck in that place in between two brothers who definitely have it better than him. His comment this morning was, "I wish I were Ben." Of course, I asked why because sometimes his answers are an insight into his psyche. Logan's answer, "Because Ben does not have a list" did indeed open up the doors to his way of thinking. I am surprised that anger was not my first emotion. Instead, I wanted to cry. I responded with, "Logan, what you said makes me sad. Please think about what you just s

Magic Marker Monday: Happy Valentine's Day

Ben brought this gift home from school.  A Tootsie Pop for the center. The lollipop stick serves as the stem.  Tape a green leaf made from construction paper to the stem. Pink flower with message is cut in shape of a flower.  Add glitter or other decorations. Thank you Ben for my Valentine! Here's a site for Tootsie Pop Art. Check out more works of art at 5 Minutes for Special Needs eSpecially Ben is one of five finalists for Readers' Choice Awards for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog. Please take a moment to vote.

Faces of Ben

Happy Almost Valentine's Day!  I am shamelessly promoting my recent nomination as a finalist to the Readers' Choice Awards. Please take a moment to vote.

Generations of Love

Ben is blessed to have many people who love him dearly. One person who sticks out in my mind is his paternal great grandmother, Essie, also known as Ma Ma to her grandchildren and Nanny to her great grandchildren. She was one of Ben's greatest supporters. She found a way to reach Ben and make him laugh and smile. She passed away a few years ago and I often think about the special bond she had with him. Happy Early Valentine's Day! I am shamelessly promoting my recent nomination as a finalist to the Readers' Choice Awards. Please take a moment to vote. Readers' Choice Awards

Thank you for your support in helping to get eSpecially Ben nominated for the Readers' Choice Awards for "Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog"! eSpecially Ben is a finalist - please take a moment to vote. The poll is up now at  Vote Here . Please take a look at the poll and vote once a day, every day through March 8. Winners will be announced on March 15.

US Paralympic Sled Hockey Team

Athletes sit in a sled balancing on two blades. Last Saturday, we saw the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team practice at a nearby ice rink. Afterward, we ate dinner with them and were able to ask questions about their training schedule, at what age they got involved with hockey and if being on the team was a full-time gig. Watching these athletes practice was amazing. To overcome whatever they experienced in life to be on this team and be in the physical shape to move their bodies and equipment was a lot for me to comprehend. These young men exemplify the idea that all people have the ability to forge ahead no matter what conflict they have faced. A good lesson for most of us to learn. I felt privileged to be a part of this event, being able to sit with these athletes, allowing us to enter their very special world. Children and adults with special needs were able to try out the sleds. The team members taught them how to move and shoot. One precocious little girl bragged that sh