Category Archives: Past & Present Matters

Yes on 2

For those in Florida tomorrow is voting… Please Vote “Yes” on 2 (the marijuana amendment). Yes, the way it is written is flawed

Stranger Than Most

A pre-Halloween post… What is it about Halloween and Riley that is special to me?   Dressing up and pretending you are someone else…

my Dad



There are so many conversations I need to have…

Wiesenbaugh family 013

So much guidance I still need…

Once more I must hear “I love you”…

One more opportunity to tell you how much you mean to me…

Twenty years ago today you left us to fend for ourselves…

How I need you to be part of my life now.

Wiesenbaugh pics_0067

Raising a special needs child

This essay is in response to a request by CNNiReport about what it’s like to raise children with special needs:

We were going to be parents! In 2002, my amazing husband, John, and I were expecting a baby boy.

ESE Communication

Readers of Riley’s Smile know that Riley is very fortunate to attend the Functional Skills Class of Rayma C. Page Elementary.  Communication with the classroom and teacher is exemplary.  Riley’s teacher, Miss Erin, uses the forms daily; we always know exactly how Riley’s day went.  The current forms were designed beautifully by Miss Jessica, the class lead teacher for the past school year.  Miss Jessica deserves credit so I hope she does not object to the use of her full name.  To be fair… the class did have forms in place, but Jessica made them truly complete.  These forms could easily be adopted by all ESE classes of nonverbal students.  If you are having difficulty communicating with your child’s teacher, I encourage you to suggest these forms.

Eleventh Birthday

Have you ever seen a baby being born?  It is something.  I think the word “something” defines it best of all…

Cards and balloons and flowers and all that come with the birth shows something.   Celebrating the event that brings new life; it is what a birth is about as we, the outside world, think of it. But it doesn’t really reflect what the birth is about….

St. Leo First Communion

May 19, 2013

Ronan has been studying with St. Leo Catholic Church for two years toward receiving the Holy Eucharist.  He has had a wonderful experience with all of his teachers, classmates and the church ministry.  I thank each one of them for the gift of creating a positive and supportive religious education.

This past Sunday, we celebrated this Rite of the Roman Catholic Church and Ronan’s commitment to our faith.

Reflections on Life’s Challenges – Kaet’s year in review

Our children go through this life facing things we would never have been able to imagine, yet they continue to grow and thrive defeating all odds. The longer they stay with us the more they teach us and allow us to grow with them. They are an inspiration even to the professionals that treat them.

As this year comes to a close I take this this moment to reflect on our experiences; some good, some bad; nonetheless all lessons in life.

Little battles

Riley and Ronan are seen here hanging out with Miss Southwest Florida 2012, Miss Caroline Kay Dixon, at Freedom Waters Foundation’sHeels & Reels last month.  Miss Dixon was very kind and sweet with my boys and was happy to don her crown again after a very full event for a photo.

One little battle after another.  This special needs life still feels like a war to me.  A never ending taking up of arms one moment and protecting my child the next.  This week they are just tiny little battles but I have become weary of heading out each day.

Is it Crystal?

The balance between  a total care child, Riley, and a typically developing child, Ronan, can be difficult to find.  Riley took everything; but as parents we did not want Ronan to be cheated of having his needs fulfilled.  Fortunately, Ronan proved to be an easy child from the beginning.

Recognizing that our second child would be deprived of some experiences in deference to our special needs child we dedicated ourselves to Ronan’s success.  I employed every trick I could find to helping my son grow healthy and bright.  Raise a Smarter Child by

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