Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

25 Things a Kindergarten Teacher Says on a Daily Basis.

Please sit down.
Please sit up.
Sit on your pockets.
It's not time for recess.
Voices off.
Eye's on me.
Criss Cross Applesauce.
Control your bodies.
No. It's not time for recess.
Use your inside voice please.
Push in your chairs.
(Insert name) put your shoes back on.
No running in the classroom.
It's still not time for recess.
Everyone on the carpet.
Where should you be right now?
Quietly line up for recess.
We don't climb up the slide.
Everyone go to your tables.
Wait until you're finished with the glue before you wash your hands.
Is it a B Emergency (blood, barf, bathroom)?
We're all friends in Kindergarten.

and three of my favorite...

Put on your backpacks.
Line up to go home.
See you tomorrow!

For those of you who may be wondering, no worries! We praise the children as well. A lot!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Autistic Basketball Player

It is inspiring to see children with disabilities supported by their peers.

I will always remember how the senior class cheered for Cody at high school graduation.

We can learn so much from people with special needs.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weird CD Mix

This is a CD mix that Cody asked Chase to burn for him (no coaxing involved).

Summer of 69/ Brian Adams
Joshua Giraffe/ Raffi
Ganster's Paradise/ Coolio
Looking Out My Backdoor/ CCR
Waiting/ Journey
I Won't Tell 'Em Your Name/ Goo Goo Dolls
If This Is It/ Huey Lewis
Send Her My Love/ Journey
Shift Work/ Kenny Chesney
November Rain/ Guns and Roses
Smooth Criminal/ Michael Jackson
Blame It On The Rain/ Milli Vannilli
Love Is A Battlefield/ Pat Benetar
Just A Shame/ Phill Collins
Kumbaya/ Raffi
Shut Up And Drive/ Rhianna
Suicidal/ Sean Kingston

Anybody want a copy:)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Psychologists Believe that 85% of Families are Dysfunctional...

...So no matter what has happened in the past, chances are someone else has gone through similar or worse situations."
                        Success Demands Action: Your Self-Improvement Blog

Click on the following link to learn more:

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This is what I saw out my kitchen window around 7:00 a.m. Do you see the spider on the left? Of course you do! You can't miss it. It's unbelievably HUGE! I was looking out the window, trying to see the full moon and spotted it. Of course I had to call my husband (he was already at work). He laughed at me (rude) and said, "What do you want me to do about it?" I told him, "Call the exterminater!"

When I got home from work, the spider (a Black Widow, I'm sure) was still there, but so was my 21 year old son! When I showed him the spider, he came to my rescue.  He took a can of AXE Body Spray and a lighter to it and tourched that sucker. Yay! I don't really care if some of you don't believe in killing these creepy things. I will sleep a whole lot better tonight knowing it is dead.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Braille Bug

Braille Bug is a website that was created by the American Foundation for the Blind to teach sighted children about braille. On Braille Bug you can read braille trivia, learn the history of braille, play games and do puzzles. You can also print out a braille alphabet key and see your name printed in braille. It is a fun, educational website for all to enjoy. Check it out! Go to have fun learning!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Divorce Drug

Cody's Neurologist added another seizure medication to his Phenobarbital. She told us, "I think this will be the best medication for Cody, but I must inform you that they call this the 'Divorce' drug." She goes on to say, "Keppra (the new drug) has a tendency to make people grumpy and I can tell that Cody is a very happy person."  Needless to say, Don and I left her office that day less than thrilled.

I don't know why we assumed being grumpy would be the case for Cody. Has Cody been grumpy? Not so far. However, he has been more quick witted.

Just this morning, Cody was dancing (in his bazaar way) to Raffi. (For those of you who may not know who Raffi is... he sings children's songs.) Don walked in the room and said, "Cody, how old are you?" Cody responded, "Twenty-Nine". Shortly after that, Don and Cody were playing around and Don "pants" Cody. He responded by saying, "Dad, how old are you?"

A while later, we were in the car and Cody said something to his dad (who was driving). Apparently Don didn't respond fast enough for Cody because Cody said, "You-hoo. Anybody home?" (He never says that!)

As Don and I were making Caramel Corn this afternoon, Don mentioned to me that we should go to Myrtle Beach sometime; to which Cody piped in and said, "I don't have any money." (As if we were suggesting he pay for the trip.) When the Caramel Corn was done,  I asked Cody if he wanted some (he has never cared for it, but I was being polite). Did Cody say "No thank you." as he usually does? You guessed it. He excitedly said, "Yes!" and then proceeded to eat a whole bowl of it.

If I didn't know any better, I'd think that Cody lives to prove the doctors wrong!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Special Needs Rodeo

The Rodeo comes to town every September and they do a "Special Needs Rodeo" on Saturday afternoon. Cody loves going, even though our family doesn't have an ounce of cowboy in us! We bought Cody the cowboy hat a few years ago (check out the way he insists on wearing it). It still looks new because he'll only wear it once a year; same with the shirt. What you can't see in this picture are his DC Shoes. No way am I going to splurge and buy him cowboy boots to wear a few hours a year!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Salt Creek Falls, Oregon

              Summer                                Winter

I don't miss Oregon very often, but I'm missing it today.
There are so many state parks in Oregon.
Salt Creek Falls was a favorite day outing for our family.
It is beautiful year round, as you can see.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Heaven's Very Special Child

Someone gave this poem to me years ago when Cody was a born. I had forgotten about it until I read it on Dear Abby today. The poem was written by Edna Massimilla, the widow of a Pastor, when their daughter was born with Downs Syndrome. It is very moving.


A meeting was held quite far from Earth
It was time again for another birth.
Said the Angels to the Lord above –
“This special child will need much love.

“Her progress may be very slow
“Accomplishment she may not show.
“And she'll require extra care
“From the folks she meets down there.

“She may not run or laugh or play
“Her thoughts may seem quite far away
“So many times she will be labeled
“'different,' 'helpless' and disabled.

“So, let's be careful where she's sent.
“We want her life to be content.
“Please, Lord, find the parents who
“Will do a special job for you.

“They will not realize right away
“The leading role they are asked to play.
“But with this child sent from above
“Comes stronger faith, and richer love.

“And soon they'll know the privilege given
“In caring for their gift from heaven.
“Their precious charge, so meek and mild
“Is heaven's very special child.”


Monday, September 13, 2010

Be Just the Way You Are

Cody, my son with CHARGE Syndrome, has been having problems with seizures lately and a friend of mine shared this parable with me. I do not know who the author is and I won't elaborate on the story. However, I believe if you know someone that has special needs, you will be able to relate.

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day at the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?" I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all this work and you don't get full value for your efforts," the pot said. The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because It had leaked out half its load, and so again apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

I welcome my reader's to share comments, thoughts or personal stories that relate.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Braille Superstore

While browsing the Internet today, I came across The Braille Superstore.

This website has books, toys, games, greeting cards, talking clocks/watches and more.

If you know someone who is visually impaired, you may want to visit Especially with Christmas just around the corner!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What Children Want from Divorced Parents

The following article has some very good advice for divorced parents:

What I need from my mom and dad: A child’s list of wants

I need both of you to stay involved in my life. Please write letters, make phone calls, and ask me lots of questions. When you don’t stay involved, I feel like I’m not important and that you don’t really love me.

Please stop fighting and work hard to get along with each other. Try to agree on matters related to me. When you fight about me, I think that I did something wrong and I feel guilty.

I want to love you both and enjoy the time that I spend with each of you. Please support me and the time that I spend with each of you. If you act jealous or upset, I feel like I need to take sides and love one parent more than the other.

Please communicate directly with my other parent so that I don’t have to send messages back and forth.

When talking about my other parent, please say only nice things, or don’t say anything at all. When you say mean, unkind things about my other parent, I feel like you are expecting me to take your side.

Please remember that I want both of you to be a part of my life. I count on my mom and dad to raise me, to teach me what is important, and to help me when I have problems.

Source: University of Missouri

Taken from this link-

Friday, September 10, 2010

Autism Tool

For a variety of reasons, people with disabilities may have a hard time communicating. This can be very frustrating for everyone involved. Sydspeak Inc. has a product called Talk To Me 100. It is an interactive tool for people who have difficulty with verbal expression. Talk To Me 100 allows the disabled person to press buttons, see and hear words, understand their meaning and communicate. I am excited about this tool for the following reason:

When my son Cody (blind and autistic) was in 9th grade, there was a talking computer in his classroom. One particular day, Cody spelled out "You Piss Me Off" on  the keyboard and the computer verbalized it. His teacher, not amused, believed his behavior was worth discipline. When she called to tell me about it, my only thought was "Oh my gosh, Cody! You found a way to tell her exactly how you feel! Way to go!"

Talk To Me 100 takes 3 AAA batteries, measures less than one square foot and weighs only one pound.

I think I know what Cody will be getting for Christmas!

You may find the Talk to Me 100 at the following website:

Note from Ed Arranga founder of Autism One: "Talk to Me 100 was developed by a speech and language pathologist with 35 years of experience and her son who were committed in developing an effective product parents could afford. Mission accomplished."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Christmas Shopping Ideas for Special Needs Children

Every Christmas our family has to search high and low and dig deep to find toys/gifts that Cody can enjoy. Because he is blind and autistic, we really have to put our thinking caps on. For this reason, I want to share this website with those of you who may be in the same situation. As you search the site, you will find there are many items from several categories to choose from. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grocery Shopping Tips

My adorable cousin, Ashlee,  posted on facebook that she needs help with grocery shopping because she "isn't very good at it". Rather than reply only to her, I thought there may be other young women (or men) that could use a few tips. Here are six things that have worked for me over the years:

1) Make a list of menus that you would like to cook for the week. You can find inspiration by looking at grocery store ads, cookbooks, magazines or even watching Food Network.

2) Write a list of all the ingredients you will need and organize it according to store layout. This will save time and keep you focused.

3) Choose a day when you can go shopping and get it all done. Doing this will prevent extra trips to the market where you may be tempted to purchase unnecessary items.

4) Figure out which stores are your best fit. I like to shop for produce and meat at Costco. However,because it's close to home, I buy all other grocery's at Wal-Mart.

5) Set some of your grocery money aside. There will be nights when you can't cook and eating out is your best option.

6) Never shop on an empty stomach. When you are hungry, you're apt to buy things that you don't really need.

Doing all of the above may seem like a pain (and it can be), but it is much better than wondering what you're going to fix for dinner every night. You will have already  it figured out!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Halloween Ideas

The Idea Room: Halloween Ideas

The above link has fun craft and food ideas for children (of all ages).
Check it out!

What is SUDEP?

SUDEP is: Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy

It is generally defined as a "uncommon and non-traumatic death that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly in patients with epilepsy who otherwise were previously healthy".

It is without any obvious clinical or pathological explanations; in many cases, the patients are found lying in bed (as if they have just stopped breathing during sleep) or on the floor with no evidence of a seizure having occurred. For this reason, it is VERY IMPORTANT that this be kept in mind anytime someone who was "previously healthy" dies.

How Common Is It?

SUDEP accounts for 10% of all epilepsy-related deaths; 85% of these fatalities occur between the ages of 20-50 years.

The incidence of SUDEP stands at approximately 1 in 1000 people with epilepsy per year, which is at least 10 times the sudden death rate found in the general population.

What that means is, if you have a diagnosis of epilepsy, you are TEN TIMES more likely to have "Sudden Death".

What Are the Suspected Causes?

Possibilities include:

An irreversible cardiac arrest (heart attack); according to one theory, electrical discharges in the brain may change the electrical status of the heart, affecting its rhythm. (SUDEP has been witnessed in hospital and Emergency Departments where doctors on the scene were unable to resuscitate the patient.)

Respiratory arrest; breathing stopped by a seizure which is generally described as a generalized tonic-clonic convulsion

What are the Risk Factors of SUDEP?

People with refractory (uncontrolled or poorly controlled) epilepsy

People with severe epilepsy and learning difficulties

Young patients with a long history of generalized tonic-clonic seizures

Having at least a 2-year history of epilepsy

People who take 2 or more anti-epileptic drugs (especially if combined with psychiatric agents)

Poor compliance with anti-epileptic medications (Autopsies reveal that, at the time of death, 50% of affected patients had blood concentrations either below therapeutic levels or in completely undetectable amounts.)

Alcohol abuse (definite links found)

Alone during seizure

Can Any Precautionary Measures Prevent SUDEP?

Controlling seizures seems to be the most important thing, however, a very few people have not survived their very FIRST seizure so PREVENTION is important.

Keep appointments so your doctor can monitor any changes, and adjust your medications accordingly

Take medications for seizures regularly

Avoid sudden drug withdrawal, or dosage changes

Adopt a healthy lifestyle:

     Maintain regular and adequate sleep patterns

     Exercise regularly

     Eat regular, nutritious meals

     Learn to cope with stress

     Avoid alcohol and street drugs

Always stay with company so that someone can help during seizure

Nocturnal Seizures - Seizures occurring during sleep have a higher incidence of SUDEP. Preventive measures might include having the bed near the floor, changing from a feather to a solid foam pillow (which may reduce the possibility of suffocation), and having a monitor to alert others in the home when a seizure occurs.

The aforementioned can be found at

Saturday, September 4, 2010

First Aid for Seizures

Tonic-Clonic seizures

The person goes stiff, loses consciousness and then falls to the ground. This is followed by jerking movements. A blue tinge around the mouth is likely. This is due to irregular breathing. Loss of bladder and/or bowel control may happen. After a minute or two the jerking movements should stop and consciousness may slowly return.

•Protect the person from injury - (remove harmful objects from nearby)
•Cushion their head
•Look for an epilepsy identity card or identity jewellery
•Aid breathing by gently placing them in the recovery position once the seizure has finished
•Stay with the person until recovery is complete
•Be calmly reassuring


•Restrain the person’s movements
•Put anything in the person’s mouth
•Try to move them unless they are in danger
•Give them anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered
•Attempt to bring them round

Call for an ambulance if...

•You know it is the person’s first seizure
•The seizure continues for more than five minutes
•One tonic-clonic seizure follows another without the person regaining consciousness between seizures
•The person is injured during the seizure
•You believe the person needs urgent medical attention

Complex partial seizures

The person is not aware of their surroundings or what they are doing. They may pluck at their clothes, smack their lips, swallow repeatedly, and wander around.


•Guide the person from danger
•Stay with the person until recovery is complete
•Be calmly reassuring
•Explain anything that they may have missed


•Restrain the person
•Act in a way that could frighten them, such as making abrupt movements or shouting at them
•Assume the person is aware of what is happening, or what has happened
•Give the person anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered
•Attempt to bring them round

Call for an ambulance if...

•You know it is the person's first seizure
•The seizure continues for more than five minutes
•The person is injured during the seizure
•You believe the person needs urgent medical attention

The information in this blog post was taken from

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Daunting Decisions

"It's in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped."  
                                                                                             Anthony Robbins

My husband and I have had to make many difficult decisions in our marriage. One of the most difficult was letting our son, Cody, go to the Oregon State School for the Blind at age eight.

After going through an extensive three week evaluation at the school, we realized it was where Cody needed to be. They had the best braille. mobility, music and physical education teachers. There was a bowling alley, swimming pool, track and field and roller rink on campus. The school had several dorms, a cafeteria and a nurses station. It was awesome and Cody loved it!

Because we lived about an hour away, my husband drove Cody to school every Monday and pick him up Friday afternoons. Cody slept in the dorm four nights a week and was able to be home the other three.

Our family moved away from Oregon when Cody turned sixteen. We had him enrolled in our neighborhood high school. Although Cody missed all of his friends, inclusion was another great experience for him.

As I look back, I am pleased that my husband and I had the strength that was needed to let Cody go for a little while. Many lives have been touched over the years because we were willing to share him with some very special people.
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