Posted in Autism, Holidays, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

Our Huge Secret Reveal!!

Finally, we reveal our huge secret!!

If you haven’t seen our secret reveal video on YouTube yet, than you might not know that we sold our old house, bought a new one and have been living in it for 2 weeks now!

We actually accepted an offer on our old house that we had lived in for 32 years and put in an offer on our new house on the very same day which was October 5, 2018!

We chose to keep it all a secret just in case it didn’t work out!

But on December 27, 2018 we closed both deals: selling our house and buying our new one all in the same day!

We were actually homeless for about an hour and a half that day!

I must say though, that as much as we have been wanting to move to where life will be easier for all of us as we all get older, the process was not without it’s anxious moments and panic attacks!

There were so many unexpected glitches, negotiations, and last minute financial responsibilities that threw us into quite a few panic attacks!

To be honest, I became an even more anxious and depressed mess than normal!

I spent three months worrying about how we would come up with money for unexpected expenses, where we would live if we sold our house before we could move into our new one and how Bethany would actually handle leaving the home she was born in and never going back!

As it turned out, our attorney was able to set both house closings to be on the same day!

The owner of our new house graciously allowed us to move our belongings in before we actually bought it which helped tremendously!

A couple of ladies Malcolm knows from the Post Office really saved the day when they showed up with a truck and willing bodies to help us move our stuff out!

They even took all our junk to the dump for us!

We literally could not have pulled this move off without them!

The house had to be empty by 10:00 a.m the day of the closing, so Malcolm, Bethany, and I did have to spend one night in a hotel and we farmed the boys out to their siblings for the night!

It was crazy and hectic, but we managed it!

After moving into our new house, Bethany did quite well the first few days.

Then she suddenly had a major temper tantrum because she didn’t want us to hang up curtains.

She remained upset and angry for a couple of days which did worry me at first, but although her emotions have been up and down, for the most part she’s actually been handling the changes quite well!

She has never once asked to go back to the old house , so that’s a huge relief!

We are all really enjoying living in civilization close to Josiah and Katy and friends!

The convenience of being able to pop over real quick to the grocery store, movie theater, medical care, and to get a bite to eat is awesome!

We are attempting to get Bethany motivated to try out a new day program which we hope she will enjoy and I’m looking forward to begin attending the special needs family support group that I’ve signed Malcolm and I up for!

Unfortunately, we lost Bethany’s aid, Connie, in the process of moving, so that has been hard, but we do believe we may have found a new one to help out a few hours a week already.

In fact, she is an old friend who was actually Bethany’s Sunday School aid when we used to attend church many, many years ago!

We hope to begin implementing our plan of turning one of our apartments into a mini group home for Bethany and roommates to live in forever with in the next 5-10 years.

If that doesn’t work out for some reason, there are lots of other options and disability agencies and services in this city which we can access if needed!

I am so thankful for all the help we had making this move happen and am looking forward to all the new changes life will bring us!


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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, an autistic and  brave brain tumor survivor !

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Holidays, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

We’ve Got a Huge Secret!

Happy New Year everyone!

If you celebrate Christmas I hope it was a happy one for you!

To be honest, I do believe this was the worst Christmas I’ve ever had and it’s all because of the worries, fears, anxiety and panic attacks that I’ve been experiencing in recent months.

You may have noticed I’ve been AWOL around here and on other social media since just before Christmas!

That’s because of a huge secret that I’ve been keeping from you all since October 5th!

I’m not going to reveal what that secret is just yet, because I want to do that on my YouTube channel first, as soon as I get the chance.

If you’ve seen my Instagram lately though, you might have guessed what it is already!!

Anyway, now that my big secret is actually a done deal, I’m feeling much better about life, although I doubt I will ever be totally without any anxiety!!

However one can always hope and here’s hoping for a happy, healthy, prosperous, anxiety free and worry free 2019 for all!!


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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, an autistic and  brave brain tumor survivor !

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Autism, Holidays

Christmas Gifts for my Autistic Adult Daughter

It’s always been hard to figure out what to get my daughter, Bethany for Christmas.

She’s autistic and also experienced a brain injury during brain tumor surgery.

Now that she’s a 20 year old adult, it’s even harder to pick out gifts because she still likes little kids stuff, yet every once in a while she surprises us by acting more her age!!

It seems to be difficult for her to express her likes and dislikes or what she actually wants!

Any time we ask her what she wants for Christmas or her birthday, all she will say is presents.

When we ask her what kind of presents, she says big ones or a lot of them!!

But this year whenever I ask her what kind of presents she wants, she says, toys!!

Once she even got specific and said she wanted a horn!

Well, you better believe she’s getting a horn for Christmas this year!!

Over the years, I have developed three methods for trying to find gifts Bethany will hopefully like!

1. I get on Google Images and search for toys. Better yet, if Bethany has given me the slightest hint of anything more specific she might like, I’ll search for that, show her the results and have her point to the one she likes best.

2. When choosing gifts for Bethany, I like to think back on activities or outings that she has enjoyed over the past few months, then try to find gifts based on those experiences.

3. And Last, but not least, we sometimes just resort to the trial and error method and hope that she will like what we have gotten her!

Without further adieu, below is a list of items we have already purchased for Bethany and also a few that we are hoping to be able to get for her either for Christmas or at some point in the near future!

*(The following links are affiliate links.)

1. When we took Bethany to the Ithaca Sciencenter last fall, she really enjoyed playing around with the giant Lite Brite they had there. So we’re thinking she might like this smaller version of it. If she does, we’ll go ahead and order a design add on pack in the future.

Lite Brite

2. Bethany has been enjoying Santa to the fullest this year! In fact, she has actually gone to visit the real Santa twice already!! This year, her infatuation began when she discovered the life size singing Santa at Walmart. So, when my husband saw a Santa figurine very similar to this one, he snatched it up! We aren’t really sure she will like it, but based on her love of Santa, we think he just might be a hit!

Santa Figurine

3. Bethany loves playing games, especially dice and card games! She is obsessed with her Farkle dice game, currently, so when I saw this Farkle card game while searching through Amazon’s toy section, I put it in my cart! I have a hunch that she will enjoy it!

Farkle Flip card game.

4, Bethany loves matching games and as I mentioned before, card games. So based on her love of card games and the fact that I know she enjoys putting her excellent matching skills to work, I believe she will have fun playing the I Spy Match card game.

The following Items are all things Bethany has actually specifically asked for:

5. Just last night, Bethany asked me to pick up a pair of red headphones when I went shopping. Unfortunately, all I could find were a pair of black ones. She was okay with that, but I think I’ll get her a red pair for Christmas. Obviously, it’s not often that she asks for specific items like that and I want her to have what she really wants!
Red headphones

6. I have no idea where Bethany got the idea of wanting a bulb horn or why she even wants one, but shockingly, she asked for a horn the other day!! I wasn’t sure what kind of horn she meant, so I showed her lots of pictures on Google and had her point to the one she wanted! I didn’t realize it was a bike horn when I ordered it and I would rather have gotten her one that isn’t a bike horn because she doesn’t have a bike! However, I don’t think she will care or even know that it’s supposed to be attached to a bike! It’s the one she wants so it’s the one I got for her and who knows, maybe someday we can get her a bike to put it on!
Bulb horn

7. Bethany knows that we’re planning to move to a new house someday and she decided that when we do she wants a new bed! Just as I always do when I need more specific information from her,  I searched Google and showed her some pictures of beds! She picked out the bunk bed below! We can’t afford to get this bed for her for Christmas, but I would love to be able to get it or one like it by the time we do move! And since she is not actually expecting a new bed for Christmas, she won’t be disappointed when she doesn’t see it under the tree on Christmas morning!
bunk bed


One last gift I would like to get for Bethany.

8. Bethany loves playing basketball with her Flash Club friends at the YMCA! But she is just too tiny to be able to get the ball way up high into a conventional height basket. The basket at the Y is lowered so she and her friends can experience success playing basketball. Malcolm and I thought Bethany would really enjoy having her very own adjustable height basketball hoop to practice with at home! Since there is no place suitable to set it up where we currently live, we don’t plan on getting it for her for Christmas. This gift will have to wait until after we move to our new house and have an actual driveway where we can set it up! And, once again, since she is also not expecting to get it, she won’t be disappointed when it isn’t included in her Christmas gifts!

Adjustable basketball hoop

What do you plan on getting your kids for Christmas?

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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, an autistic and  brave brain tumor survivor !

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

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Posted in Bethany Moments, Holidays, Siblings of Special Needs Children, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

Our Autism Friendly Christmas Festivities

Each year, just after decorating our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving, I start thinking about what holiday activities our daughter, Bethany might enjoy and be able to tolerate.

For those who may not know it, Bethany has autism.

She’s also a brain tumor survivor and has developmental disabilities and seizures.

Even though she’s 20 years old now, she still usually enjoys little kid stuff!

Though sometimes she does surprise us by enjoying more age appropriate activities.

So, it’s not always easy to come up with activities she might enjoy doing.

We usually figure it all out by trial and error!!

When Bethany was younger she loved visiting Santa, so we took her every year.

But last year, whenever we drove past Santa’s igloo and asked her if she wanted to go see him she said no every single time.

This year, however, when we drove past that old familiar Igloo and saw Santa walking down the sidewalk, she got super excited and wanted to go see him.

Luckily, he was heading straight toward his igloo!!

She had a blast visiting him and in fact, the very next day she asked her aide take her to see him again!!

For those that may live near Norwich, NY,  in my opinion, this Santa is the best one to take kids with disabilities and little kids to.

There is almost never a line and Mr. and Mrs. Santa were super sweet and accommodating!

autistic girl sitting on Santa'a lap

For many years, Bethany also enjoyed riding the Christmas Carousel in Johnson City, NY.

This is just a fun night time ride with Santa.

They turn off the overhead lights during the ride so everyone can enjoy the Christmas lights better!

But two years ago, when they turned off the lights, Bethany flipped out and changed her mind.

She refused to ride and actually let it ruin her whole night.

Because it’s so far away and Bethany still hates having the lights turned off, we’ve decided not to try again for awhile

No sense in chancing making her miserable again.

Happy to be on her way to the party!

But one Christmas activity we can always count on Bethany enjoying is our annual ugly Christmas sweater cookie decorating party with her sister Rebekah and brother-in-law, William!

This year was no exception!

She was so thrilled to give Rebekah and William the presents she had made for them.

She enjoyed eating her 5 pieces of pizza and feeding Sophia the hamster some treats!

She especially loved checking out Rebekah’s manger scene and little Christmas village.

After watching, The Christmas Chronicles, on Netflix, she and William had a little dance party, then we all settled down to decorate our cookies and gingerbread house!

Keeping the gingerbread house from falling apart proved to be a bit frustrating, but brother, Jeremiah solved that problem by duct taping the insides of the walls together!!

All too soon, the party was over and it was time for us to say our goodbyes.

But we’ll all see each other again on Christmas Day for dinner at brother, Josiah and sister-in-law, Katy’s house along with a whole bunch of other people Bethany loves!

Do you have any holiday traditions you enjoy doing each year?

 


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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Posted in Holidays, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

Bethany’s Thanksgiving 2018!

I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving!

I’m delighted to say that we sure did!

This year our holiday was quiet, calm and relaxed.

Just the way we like it!!

It was just the seven of us, Mom; Dad; Bethany; Nate and Jerry, plus Rebekah and William.

Thanksgiving turkey

(*The following links are affiliate links.)

As our kids have gotten older, moved away and started their own families we have had to accept that they will not all be coming home for every holiday.

But that’s okay, because even though we miss are married kids and grandkids dearly, we don’t mind sharing them with their in-laws every other year!

And some of our kids, like our daughter, Rachel, who is a missionary in Japan, live too far away to come home for just one day in the middle of the week!

This year, once again, we had a blast playing Apples to Apples, our favorite holiday game by far!

Of course, the funny things Bethany says in all her super adorableness are always great entertainment for us, too!

Since most of our kids have grown up and moved away, we have established the new tradition of setting up the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving dinner with whoever is here to help us!

This makes decorating the tree so much more fun for Bethany and even Jerry!

This year I decided to try flocking our Christmas tree and recruited Rebekah and Jerry to help me.

Bethany even wanted to join the fun!

If you’re not familiar with what flocking a Christmas tree is as I was not until recently, I’ll briefly explain what it is.

Basically it is sifting fake snow through a strainer while at the same time spraying the snow with water as you drop it on the tree.

This process is supposed to make your tree look like it has snow on its branches.

It didn’t actually work that great for us but that may be because I forgot about the strainer part!

Most of our snow did not stick to the branches!!

We sure did have a lot of fun trying, though!

The branches got so wet we decided to unplug the lights.

We certainly didn’t want to get electrocuted on Thanksgiving!!

Of course, all too soon it was time for Rebekah and William to go home and Thanksgiving 2018 was over!

How was your Thanksgiving?

Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?


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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Posted in Bethany Moments, Holidays

6 Tips for a for a Happy, “no meltdown” Holiday

Getting through the holidays with a loved one who has additional needs can sometimes be tricky!

Many families with sensory sensitive members actually dread the coming of the holiday season.

Changes in routine, traveling, large and crowded family gatherings, noisy celebrations, and even unfamiliar smells can all wreak havoc on our kid’s sensitive sensory systems triggering extreme overload and major meltdowns.

My own daughter, Bethany, is an extreme creature of habit and a total control freak!

She wants her routine to always be the same, and she wants every person in her life to always be in the place that she has designated to be theirs.

Changes in routines–hers and everyone else’s can throw her into an anxious, angry, and aggressive tailspin.

She can barely stand it when her sisters have to go to work.

In her mind they should be sitting by their phones waiting for her to call them. All. The. Time.

When her brother is not in his usual place playing games on his computer she goes looking for him.

She even tries to control where the cat can and can’t roam!

By now you’ve probably guessed that celebrating holidays is hard on Bethany and even harder on the rest of us.

If it was just Bethany, my husband and I, we would be content just having a quiet holiday at home with the most minimal of changes to our routine.

But since we have eight other kids and two absolutely adorable grandchildren to consider, we can’t, nor would we ever even want to exclude them from our holiday festivities just for the sake of avoiding a difficult day.

That would be just too darn sad for all of us.

Over the years we’ve tried different coping strategies in our attempt to keep holiday anxiety and meltdowns to a minimum.

Without a doubt, each of the following tips has been successful for our family at one time or another.

Tip #1: Stay home for the holidays. If your loved one is most comfortable in his or her own home, then plan on staying home for the holidays if that would afford you the best chance of having the happiest holiday possible.

Tip # 2: Go somewhere else for the holidays. Our daughter, Bethany, actually does better spending Christmas away from home!  The last couple of years, our very large family has been gathering at our son’s house for Christmas dinner. This arrangement works out much better for us because Bethany is not forced to give up her normally quiet and calm “safe zone” to a giant noisy crowd!

Tip #3: Let your loved one opt out of joining your holiday festivities altogether. Although not ideal, if your child can’t tolerate going out or having their own home invaded for the holidays, then Mom and Dad might consider taking turns celebrating elsewhere.

Tip #4: Prepare ahead for the big day with a personalized holiday social story. A couple of weeks before the big day write a social story using pictures or words (if your child is a reader) describing what will happen on the holiday. Go over the story with your child at least once a day. Be sure to include any changes in routine that may happen and who holiday visitors will be. We want to eliminate as many surprises for our kids as possible.

Tip #5: Plan ahead to eliminate potential meltdowns. If you’re spending the holidays at home, designate an area of the house as a “calm down” spot where your child one can retreat to in case the celebration proves to be overwhelming. Be sure to inform holiday visitors ahead of time what area of the house will be off limits and explain why so no one will be offended.

Tip #6: Declare some items off limits to visitors. Does your child have a favorite toy or other item that he might be anxious about if visiting kids get a hold of it? Make this item one that he or she will not be required to share and let visitors know ahead of time that this item will be off limits. Again, explain why so they understand and hopefully will not be offended.

Do you have any suggestions you could add to our tips?

Bethany, Malcolm and I want to wish you all a very happy holiday season!

*Please note, that I have edited this post to remove the term, “special needs” and tip #7 which referred to using a reward system to prevent meltdowns as these were both pointed out to me as being offensive to autistic individuals. I greatly value the opinions and criticisms of those with autism and would never knowingly offend anyone, most of all my own precious daughter who is an autistic brain tumor survivor.

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Thanks so much for stopping by!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at no extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Adventures of an Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Posted in Autism, Bethany Moments, Disability Awareness, Holidays, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

Independence Day Anxiety!!

Happy Fourth of July 2018, Friends!  I originally published this post about our experience trying to get Bethany out to see the fireworks in 2015!

Here’s hoping that our plans to go see the fireworks tonight work out better!

This year we are meeting Rebekah and William there, but it’s a surprise!!

Bethany doesn’t know! 

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This year  Independence Day felt just like any other day!

It was just a ho hum, hum drum, ordinary and kind of depressing day.

We didn’t do anything special. We didn’t have a barbecue, have any visitors, or eat any special holiday foods.

At 62 degrees and cloudy.

But we were looking forward to taking Bethany to see the fireworks!

She has always loved watching fireworks and since we always try to make her as happy as we possibly can, we of course asked her if she wanted to go.

Her reaction was an excited and enthusiastic YES!!!!

However, without giving it much thought, I picked a battle that I immediately wished I had not!

Bethany had refused to take a shower the night before and really needed one, so I told her she had to take a shower before we could go.

I regretted my statement the very second I heard the words leave my lips, because I knew a battle would ensue and honestly, no one would ever have even known she needed a shower, anyway!

We were just going to be sitting in the dark by ourselves watching fireworks!

Bethany refused to take a shower until it got dark, which is her usual routine, but if she waited  until dark we would obviously miss the fireworks.

I did not want Bethany to miss the fireworks.

She did not want to miss them either.

But her rigid adherence to routines don’t allow her to waiver from them.

I could have given in and not made her take a shower, but I know from past experiences that I would need to stick to my decision or she would think she could get away without taking showers in the future when she really, really needed to, like before doctor’s appointments and such.

Bethany was determined that she was not going to take a shower until it got dark.

She just does not understand that the world doesn’t revolve around her timetable and will not wait for her!

So, when it began getting dark, I began having an anxiety attack.

It just kept getting later and even darker.

By this point we were not at all sure if we would really be able get her to the fireworks before they were all over with!

Finally in desperation,  Malcolm and I pretended that we were going without her!

Finally, Bethany took a shower, changed her clothes three times, and then got in the car.

But first, she wanted pizza from Pizza Hut!

Thankfully we had had the foresight to order it before we left home and just had to run in real quick to pick it up!

Then she wanted four apple juices from McDonald’s.

It was while waiting in line for the juice that we heard the first boom!

We had gotten her there just in the nick of time!!

WOOHOO!!

I’ve certainly learned my lesson and will be picking my battles more carefully in the future!

Independence day anxiety 3

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*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at not extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

My Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

Crafty Old Lady on Youtube

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


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Posted in Bethany Moments, Holidays, Siblings of Special Needs Children, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

Special Needs Father’s Day 2018

We had a lovely Father’s day 2018!

Our celebration of Daddy actually started a few days early when Bethany came home from her day program with a surprise she had made for him!

She was so excited she just couldn’t wait until Father’s Day to give it to him!

It turned out to be a little tackle box filled with Swedish fish and other candies!


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On the Saturday before Father’s Day, our son, Josiah, his wife, Katy and their dog Oliver came over for a BBQ!

We had so much fun playing with Oliver out in the backyard!

He loves to fetch sticks and Bethany had a blast throwing them for him to retrieve!

She also enjoyed just sitting quietly and gently petting him.

It’s so nice that she can have a doggy experience, without the responsibility of dog ownership!



To top off our special needs Father’s Day weekend, we went to visit our daughter, Rebekah and her husband, William!

They live near the free carousel, and since Bethany and Daddy love riding it, we always make that our first destination!

It’s awesome that Bethany can ride as many times as she wants for free!

She doesn’t even have to get off and get back in line between rides!

When Bethany had ridden as much as she wanted to we headed over to Rebekah and William’s air conditioned apartment for pizza!

We had originally planned to have a picnic lunch at the park, but it was 95 degrees and Bethany does not do well in such heat.

After lunch the kids played Trouble, while Malcolm and I snuck out to the Dollar Store to have a look around.

Upon our return, we did manage to convince Bethany to go outside for a quick ride on Rebekah’s bike!

And lastly, of course, a visit to Rebekah’s would not be complete without spending some time with Sophia, the therapy hamster!

Back at home, in the cool of the evening, Bethany, Malcolm and I went out in the backyard to play baseball with the little plastic ball and bat that we had found at the Dollar Store.

Then Malcolm got some Father’s Day phone calls from our out of state kids!

Even though Bethany did have a little temper tantrum at Rebekah’s when told she couldn’t take Sophia out for a third time, we all felt that our special needs Father’s Day weekend had been a fun success!!

I’m sharing at The Mommy Monday Blog Hop!

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*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at not extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

My Autistic Brain Tumor Survivor on Youtube

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Posted in Holidays, Special Needs Family Life, Special Needs Parenting

Preparing for a Very Special Needs Valentine’s Day Celebration

*This post was previously published on 1/25/17

This year, I’ve decided to go all out and plan a very special needs Valentine’s Day party!

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never really paid much attention to Valentine’s Day before.

Presenting each of my kids with a heart shaped box of chocolates and telling them I love them was pretty much the extent of it!

However, throwing a very special needs Valentine’s Day party this years seems quite fitting, since my husband and I have made it our goal to create as many happy moments as we can for our whole family, but most especially for our daughter, Bethany.
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special needs valentine's day

*This post contains affiliate links.

Bethany, who has suffered for most of her life because of a brain tumor, loves parties!

But I want her to understand that our special needs Valentine’s Day celebration will be more than just a party!

I want Bethany to understand that Valentine’s Day is a special day set aside to celebrate the love we have for each other!

Abstract concepts like love are hard for me to explain and even harder for her to understand!

So I think I’ll need some visuals as well as a few hands-on projects to teach her this lesson on love!

I’m hoping I can find a few Valentine’s Day picture books at the library to help me out!

Some other activities included in my special needs Valentine’s Day party plan are as follows:

  • Shopping for Valentine’s craft supplies.

I took Bethany with me so she could enjoy picking out her own Valentine craft supplies.  Then she went shopping for more supplies with her support worker! She chose foam heartsglitter hearts, and glitter craft paper! We also purchased paper heart doilies, stickers, and glitter glue.

  • Making our own Valentine’s Day cards!

Bethany has been using these special craft supplies to create beautiful Valentines for all the people she loves!

  • Wearing something special to our special needs Valentine’s Day party.

While out shopping with her support worker, Bethany also found a cute Valentine scarf to wear on the big day!

special needs valentine's day 3

special needs valentine's day 4

  • Decorating for our special needs Valentine’s Day celebration!

Going all out decorating for our party is another thing I have in mind.  Therefore, I might get really extravagant and buy some festive party supplies and pretty paper party decorations to make our special needs Valentine’s Day even more special!

  • Playing party games!

I bet it would help us get into a fun holiday mood if we play a few Valentine’s Day party games. This Pin the Heart on the Fox game is adorable and the Stack the Candy Hearts game seems like fun, too!

  • Baking special needs Valentine’s Day goodies!

Naturally, I also plan to make and decorate either cookies or a heart shaped cake for our special needs Valentine’s Day party. I’m hoping Bethany will want to help out with that!

  • Giving the gift of traditional Valentine’s Day candy!

Lastly,  I’ll give Bethany a hug, tell her I love her, and hand her a little heart shaped box filled with an assortment of sweet and delicious chocolate candies!

How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?


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*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at not extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Posted in Holidays

What Did Bethany Get for Christmas?

Christmas 2017 has come and gone, but I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you all some of the gifts that Bethany got for Christmas!

Every time we asked Bethany what she wanted for Christmas she would only say, “12 Presents!”

I’m not sure, but I think she got the idea of wanting 12 presents from repeatedly watching the kids sing, The Twelve Days of Christmas” on Barney’s Christmas Special!

games

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*This post contains affiliate links.

Not wanting to disappoint, Malcolm and I set out on a mission to find the 12 perfect Christmas gifts for Bethany!

Even though Bethany wanted big presents, we knew that some of her gifts would have to be Dollar Tree gifts so as not to break our Christmas budget!

Because of Bethany’s special needs, even though she is 19, she prefers games, toys and movies that are geared more for preschoolers!

We’ve pretty much exhausted the options available at our local Walmart and Toy’s R Us, so these days we do most of our gift shopping for her online!

However, we did find manage to find the Flipazoo mini Dottie Lady Bug/ Buzzy Bee, Flipazoo Blind Bag, Christmas Carousel, and the Christmas Sock Monkey all at Walmart!!

We found the crazy Gas Out Game at Kmart and knew instantly that it would be a big hit with Bethany!

We did have to modify the rules a bit to make it easier for her to play.

Basically, we just take turns picking a number card and squeezing the little fart cloud as many times as the card says!

We don’t play it competitively because that would take the fun out of it for Bethany!

She enjoys it enough just hearing the thing fart!!

A quick search on Amazon brought me the Thumb’s Up Game, Pancake Pile-Up and the adorable Woolly Bear T-shirt.

Thumbs Up and Pancake Pile-Up are both match the pattern race games!

In Thumbs Up, players choose a card showing numbered colors, then race to be the first to place the correct color rings in the correct order on their thumbs!

Pancake Pile-Up is similar to Thumbs Up in that players pick a card showing different types of pancakes in a pile.

Players race to be the first one to correctly pile up their pancakes using a cute, little plastic spatula!

Bethany also got Gravity Maze and a Self Inflating Whoopie Cushion from her brothers and sister-in-law!

Playing Gravity Maze the correct way proved to be too frustrating and challenging for me, let alone Bethany!

Normally, players pick a card showing what maze parts to use to build their maze.

Then they have to figure out where to correctly place their maze pieces to make the maze work.

But I have had to modify the rules by letting Bethany (and me) see the solution side of the card so we know exactly where to place our pieces!

Modifying how we play has made this more difficult game doable and enjoyable for both of us!

Between the 12 presents that Malcolm and I got for her and all the gifts that others gave her, Bethany actually got a lot more than 12 presents for Christmas 2017!

We are having lots of fun playing and figuring out her new games and activities!

What did your kids get for Christmas?

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*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at not extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

If you have a minute, please check out our Amazon Store where I have put together a list of my favorite books and resources and Bethany’s favorite games and products and our Etsy Shop where you can instantly download vintage book illustrations and prints of Bethany’s paintings!

We’d love for you to join our big, happy, family!! Please Subscribe to our blog and You Tube channels below and please consider sharing this post on your other social media accounts!! Thanks!!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.