Posted by: Sandi | November 9, 2008

CdLS Blog Challenge x2!

Since I’ve gotten a bit behind, I’m going to combine last week’s and this week’s blog challenge in one post!

Last week’s challenge was Where You Live:

This week’s challenge is to create a photo and/or text blog entry about where you live. It can be about your home, your backyard, your neighborhood or your town. Show off interesting sites, your favorite spots, the local flora and fauna, what you like and don’t like about living there.

We live in Virginia, in the town where I grew up…only about 4 miles from my childhood home.   We’re roughly 30 miles south of Washington, D.C. and border the Potomac River to our east and the Occoquan River to our north.  I love being near the water and though we unfortunately don’t live right on the water, it’s just a few minutes drive away.



What I love best about living here is being centrally located to so many things.  Locally we have an abundance of beautiful parks and nature trails, lots of shopping, and historic sites such as the town of Occoquan.



If we head north there is Mount Vernon, old Town Alexandria, Washington, D.C. and the Smithsonian museums.   If we head west we can visit beautiful Skyline Drive, the Shenandoah Valley and Lurray Caverns.  A few hours east or south east and we are at the ocean!  We are also within driving distance of Baltimore, MD (love the Baltimore Aquarium!) which has been a blessing to have access to Johns Hopkins, Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) and Kennedy-Krieger.  I also love that we have a definite change of seasons here -I lived one year in southern Texas and that’s something I really missed!  And though our summers can be unbearably hot and humid, our winters tend to be mild.  What I dislike about where we live is the traffic…it’s horrendous!!


Some of my favorite local flowers:


Forsythia in the springtime


Althea (Rose of Sharon)


Jess in front of our Crepe Myrtle

We also have the cherry blossoms in the spring…but I have no photos 😦

Here is Jessica’s favorite spot – the hammock on our back porch:


This week’s blog challenge What is Helpful?

I have noticed that many people want to be helpful to families with a child with special needs, but don’t know what to do. Sometimes we don’t know what to ask for either.

Tell us about the most helpful things people have done for you. In retrospect, have you had someone trying to be helpful, but it ended up not being helpful at all?

Here are some of the things I’ve found most helpful:

1) The gift of time. My parents (when they visit) and several of my co-workers provide respite for me on occasion.  When you have a special needs child who requires constant care (be it medical or behavioral) you really need time for yourself to relax and recharge.  You also need time to spend one-on-one with your other children.  The gift of time, even if it’s only an hour, is priceless.

2) Learn about the syndrome. I am always so touched when someone I know takes the time to learn about CdLS.  It shows an interest on their part in my child and my life and makes it so much easier to have meaningful conversations when they understand what we go through on a day-to-day basis.

3) Listen. Just listening is so often underrated, and yet it’s such a valuable gift.  Sometimes I just need to vent, or a shoulder to cry on.

Things that are not helpful:

1) Offering me child-rearing advise or commanding that I “do something” whilst I’m in the middle of wrestling my tantruming child who has a death-grip on my hair, teeth sunk into my arm, and has suddenly sprouted 8 legs and arms. No further explanation needed on this one 😮



  1. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You live in a very beautiful place indeed!! and i agree with all that you said in the second challenge. even just an hour away helps so much. on tuesday, Jaiden and i have a date to go see a movie (he is out of school for verteran’s day that day) and this weekend, he went to a college football game with Mike and friends. i think that it is so important for him to get away from it all every once in a while!

  2. Where you live looks really lovely! Especially this time of year. I also enjoy being near large medical centers.

    I think your traffic is worse than mine…

    Thanks for sharing your answers for what is helpful and what is not. I appreciate it very much.

  3. Wow ~ that is some beautiful scenery! You are lucky to have all that beauty surrounding you. And I love your helpful advice ~ listening and learning are two very important helping factors. Thanks for the great post!

  4. The beauty of nature and the stress of traffic can be found in many places, but the place where you grew-up cannot be anywhere else. Special. Good. Me, too.

  5. Very scenic.

    As for advice, I’m certainly with you on the last one! I think the ‘best’ things that have happened have been the somewhat casually well timed words of encouragement from strangers that have been most welcome, not that there have been many, which probably makes them all the more memorable.
    BEst wishes

  6. Beautiful pictures, I love the trees especially.

    I totally agree with your advice! I know it means a lot to us when someone we know takes the time to research autism and I am sooo with you on that last one too.

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