Made of Gray

Special Needs Homeschool

Viewing the Super Blood Moon from Boston

Traveling w/ Disabilites, Special Needs HomeschoolHolly D Gray2 Comments

Our family just so happened to be in Boston when the Super Moon or Blood Moon took place on September 27, 2015. It was late for Caleigh to stay up, but we decided to search for the huge Super Moon in the heart of Boston that night. 

Blood Moon Super Moon via Hacking Disabilities

We headed out the door of the Devin Nicole Family House and walked across the street until we found a parking garage we could get into. 

Blood Moon Super Moon via Hacking Disabilities
Blood Moon Super Moon via Hacking Disabilities

Caleigh loves astronomy and all things to do with space. We just finished a space unit in her homeschool curriculum. So we were able to talk more in depth about what was going on that night.

We got there a little early for the big event, but stayed until half the moon was eclipsed. We watched some pretty incredible time lapse videos, stared out our window and then called it a night. 

Blood Moon Super Moon via Hacking Disabilities

I didn't take my tripod with me for our trip so Caleigh's lunar watching kicks are caught in full blur here. The lights of the city probably made the viewing less spectacular than say the middle of the desert. The red of the Blood Moon wasn't as noticeable until the very end of the eclipse due to the light pollution. 

Blood Moon Super Moon via Hacking Disabilities

It was a pretty spectacular sight to see. Space really makes you think about the layers of our life and just how insignificant the little things are.  There is so much more going on out there than our daily routine, worries and small accomplishments. It's the big picture.  

Did you stay up to see the Super Moon? How was your view?


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Caleigh Meets a Horned Toad

Traveling w/ DisabilitesHolly D GrayComment

Horned toad, horned frog, horny toad... TCU fan? Whatever you call them they are almost gone. Growing up I called them horny toads and our backyard was a little suburban wonderland for the soft bellied friends.

When we were in west Texas searching for bridesmaids and flower girl dresses for uncle Heath's wedding; we ran into this guy.

To be 7 years old and never have seen a horned toad is a crime. I'm told they are going extinct. The Fort Worth Zoo keeps these in an exhibit. I've heard many reasons why their numbers are falling. Urban sprawl, fire ants and lack of red ants which seems to be one of their main food sources. Whatever it may be, it's sad because a horned toad screams childhood fun to me.

My nostalgia kicked in heavily. The last time I remember playing with horny toads was in my backyard a good 20 years ago. There were two adults, a baby and I remember it vividly.

We let Caleigh hang out with the lizard, who really isn't a toad, for quite awhile. We ended up naming him Henry. She was hesitant at first, but started petting him when she realized he was sweet and un-horned. We did a tiny photo shoot and then had a release party by the red ant bed across the street. He scurried off quickly not stopping for a bite.

I'm hoping that we can bring the horny toad back in great numbers to Texas. What a childhood and environmental shame if we can't.


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Hello New York City - Day One

Traveling w/ DisabilitesHolly D Gray1 Comment

Taking Caleigh to New York City was no easy feat, but I think we accomplished a lot in the little time that we had in the city. I'll be writing about our tricks to getting around with a wheelchair in a later post because honestly it deserves its own spot in the sun. 

We arrived in New York on the evening of Easter Sunday. The traffic was terrifying through the Holland Tunnel, Soho and Chinatown. We went over the Manhattan Bridge and checked into our hotel room in Brooklyn. We also parked our car which was a cheap $130 for the 3 nights stay. I chose Brooklyn because it is a little less crazy in terms of traffic and it moves at a slightly slower pace. We ordered in food and all passed out asleep.

The next morning we headed out to visit the World Trade Center Memorial first thing. We've always wanted to visit the site. That morning we talked to Caleigh in the best seven year old version about where we were on September 11, 2001 and what the bad men did to the buildings, airplanes and the people inside them.

The memorial is absolutely beautiful. They really did an amazing job on it. The North and South Tower reflective pools are just beyond words. We stood outside for a long time watching the water and reading the names. 

We got in line to buy tickets for the actual museum and once we did that we were quickly pulled out of line to bypass the very long entry line. This has happened a lot on this trip and I'm thankful because it really has helped us cover more in the time we've had. 

I will say that there are many areas of the museum that are difficult for a seven year old. We skirted by those. 

The museum takes you back to that September morning. It takes you back to all the feelings of loss and helplessness and then circles you around to pride for our country. It's a quiet museum, the decor and lighting are dark and it is almost like you are attending a funeral. Everyone was extremely respectful and solemn. Rightly so. The museum and the 9/11 are things we will never forget.  

When we were done with the museum we started walking west and found some food. The weather was gorgeous outside so we decided to walk down by the water for awhile. Awhile turned into more than 10 miles on that first day. New Jersey is in the background of the photograph above. 

We made it to Battery Park and saw the semi-tiny Statue of Liberty from afar. Then we kept on...

We walked almost the entire bottom shoreline of Manhattan until we were at the Brooklyn Bridge. At this point we decided to keep going. So we headed up the stairs to the pedestrian walkway of the bridge. 

When we got there we were getting ready to carry Caleigh and her chair up the stairs when a nice man offered to help out. He got a workout for sure. Adding a note here: There are still nice people in the this world. 

The two mile, beautiful weather, rush hour walk was entertaining and faced paced. 

After the bridge we made it to the Brooklyn Bridge Park where we watched the sun go down behind the Manhattan skyline. It was a breathtaking view. There are even accessible swings in the small park. We walked back to our hotel and called it a night and a very successful day in New York. 


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Hello Niagara Falls

Traveling w/ DisabilitesHolly D Gray1 Comment

Our trip to Niagara was short and sweet. Caleigh was pretty miserable with the temperature, but we pushed on to view the falls. A lot of what is typically open in the summer season wasn’t even visible due to all the snow and ice. There was still a good number of tourists and getting close to the railing by the overlooks wasn’t the easiest of adventures. I can’t even imagine what the regular season holds as far as visitors. 

Funny story…an older couple walking along turned right in front of Caleigh and her wheelchair. The wheelchair basically took the women out. Her husband started yelling at us in some unknown language while waving his arms frantically. We smiled and maybe giggled a little bit. What else could we do? She should watch were she is going. Not all kids travel with heavy accessories like our Caleigh. 

The falls were beautiful, still partially frozen and honestly a little underwhelming coming from someone who has always wanted to see the wonder. I’m pretty sure all the aerial views I’ve seen throughout my life led to this. With the observation tower closed due to ice our view wasn’t fantastic. I’m sure the Spring and Summer holds a more enjoyable experience. The Canadian side of the falls looks more impressive with a full view of the falls. Since we didn’t bring passports we hung out on the American side only which may have contributed to our opinions. 


By the time we were almost done, Caleigh was letting out a constant, head down whine. She was beyond done with the whole thing. I will say that my chin and jaw were so cold that I couldn’t even get words to sound right. It was so incredibly cold for the obvious southern tourists. We made it back to our van and tracked down one of the only restaurants actually open in the off season and called it a day. 

The following day, I asked Caleigh if she liked the falls and she immediately answered no. Maybe our timing was off with this stop. Maybe she doesn’t have to care about massive amounts of water falling off the edge of a cliff. Either way we have some interesting memories and a story. 

The next morning we got up with fluffy snow flakes falling and headed towards Manhattan. Along the way we experienced some slippery roads and a lot more snow than we are used to. It made for some unexpected fun. We definitely traveled back into Winter while home is enjoying Spring.

Our two day stay in New York City was fast and fun. More on our adventures in the Big Apple coming up next...


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