Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gay marriage in America

As a parent, gay marriage brings about many questions. I raise my children with love, respect and boundaries. The basic boundaries of gender and the stability of men and women are now shattering. What do we teach children now? Anything goes.

A few things were pointed out to me yesterday that made complete sense. Our morality is slowly slipping away. Planned Parenthood, a huge organization many people support, is teaching sex education to kindergarten in some states. It is very graphic and with the mindset of it feels good - go for it but be safe. Planned Parenthood also supports if an infant is still alive after an abortion - it is ok to kill the baby. They are hoping that this will soon be law. This organization most people support and agree with!

Many people who support gay marriage bash the heck out of people who do not agree with them. Yet they are the first to cry about animal rights and anti bullying but outcast people with values. I know probably lost friends due to this blog post but I believe other people are out there that feel as I do and need support as well.

I am curious why we have marriage at all? If anyone can marry and there isn't any moral code, why not just get rid of it? Then it's a complete equal field.

Views on gay marriage


Friday, March 29, 2013

Tips to clean kids room

When we woke up Monday, it was snowing hard. Jeff planned on doing his taxes in the morning but with the way it was snowing, we decided it wouldn't be a good idea.

Laura snuggled with me in my bed and we watched cartoons. It was so nice to spend that time with her. After we ate breakfast, I helped Laura clean her room. Laura has the smallest room in the house, and it's perfect size for her. The bigger the room, the bigger the mess.

Here are some tips to help a child to clean their room:

- Save your patience and energy. A child can't realistically clean a room totally by themselves. I believe they need some guidance or you will see things squished under the bed or closet.

- Clean the room in sections. If you say you are going to not stop until the room is clean, your child will protest and be overwhelmed. Dealing with it in sections helps a lot.

- Set a time limit before a break or say after you finish a certain section - you can take a break.

- Have fun and put on music. Keep it happy and they are motivated.

- Praise them for the hard work.

- The hardest part is keeping up with it. Ideally, cleaning and organizing should be daily routine. If not daily, try to do it twice a week with your child.

Check out these storage ideas.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring break

Laura is officially six and a half, and Jason is one month. They are both beautiful and incredible children. As most parents know, they are always changing too.

On Thursday, Laura had her student led conference (SLC.) Her school has this every end of semester. You go in and talk to her teacher and discuss goals the student wants to accomplish. A few days before they send home the report card so you can read it over and think of any questions.

Laura's report card was excellent. The only negative was that she talks a little much to her best friend when she shouldn't. We talked to Laura about that and she's working on it.

At the meeting, Laura's teacher said that Laura and her friend are well matched. They are both quiet, shy and nice but together they like to chat often. I think it's adorable that her friend is a boy.

Academically Laura is right on and doing very well. Her last goal was time and she succeeded. Her new goal is tie shoes.

Afterwards, we went to lunch and then Target. At the restaurant, I heard a couple behind us comment on that we have our hands full. Jeff does because he has to feed me, Jason and himself. Jason slept the whole time though.

At Target, Laura had a $25 gift card saved from her birthday. Most kids would blow through it but not mine. After extensive looking, she picked a $5 whistle and $1 Hello Kitty activity book. She's frugal and picky with money which is a good trait.

Laura is off from school until April 2. We plan on going swimming, seeing the Easter Bunny, she has a sleepover, and just hanging out. Yesterday Jeff took both kids to the mall so I could grocery shop with Grace.

Laura was so excited to go out with daddy. She said it was an adventure. Then she had karate and the play..

Legally Blonde at Phoenixville High School

Last night I took Laura to see the musical, Legally Blonde, performed by Phoenixville High School students. As many of you read in another post, my last experience a few weeks ago at the same school different play wasn't so good. So I was curious about this performance.

The high school is literally less than five minutes from our house. I took Laura myself and Jeff stayed with Jason. I knew Legally Blonde would be over Laura's head a bit but she enjoys plays and music.

The experience was so much better than last time. Last time the adult ushers were very rude and had no clue on how to talk to someone with a disability. This time it was student led ushers and they were completely fine. It's kind of sad when I get excited when people treat me normal but that is the way it is.

The show was excellent. There were times when I forgot I was watching a high school performance. Laura loved it and understood the gist of the story. She had to sit on my lap most of the show because she's little but luckily light so it wasn't a problem.

One of the actresses used a wheelchair. Laura pointed her out to me immediately. I was happy to see it because when I grew up, you never saw young actors or actresses in wheelchairs ever.

The lead girl who played Elle did a wonderful job. I hope she goes somewhere with acting and/or singing. Her love interest, Emit, did great as well.

During intermission we sat in the hall so she could eat her snack. I could tell she was tired but was hanging in there. When they sang at the end, Laura had this full of excitement and joy that extended her entire being. It was so cute.

Overall, Phoenixville High School did terrific. If you are in the area, don't miss the performance tonight at 7pm. It's well worth it!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My hair

My hair has been a good and bad thing a lot of my life. Do I keep it long or short? Who will help me take care of it? I love it and then hate it.

Having a disability that means you can't use your hands too well is not good for styling hair the way you want. It means that you are at the mercy of others to help create the look you desire. Unfortunately, getting the look isn't always possible.

Most of my life I had long hair. I like long hair because it gives you more options. I had one attendant who would braid it daily. When she moved on, my hair went back to a ponytail. I've had other attendants who did good or ok with hair.

When I first met Jeff and he tried to help me with my hair early on, he needed help. It makes sense because why would he need to do someone's hair in the past? Over time, he learned and improved. He is now better at my hair than my attendants.

I also resisted short hair because of stereotypes of people with disabilities to have short hair so it's easy for the caregiver. I didn't want to be the stereotype.

A few weeks before I had Jason, my hair was long and often knotty. It took about 15-20min just to do my hair. As many of you know, I do not like sitting still very long. I decided to cut it. It was an ok look but not exactly what I wanted. I hated wearing headbands daily that made me not look my best.

So I went the shortest ever. I Iike it a lot. It takes no time to wash and styling it is fairly simple. Jeff is a perfectionist with my hair but it usually takes less than five minutes to do.

I still reach back sometimes to reach an absent ponytail or fix a potential headband. But mostly I'm happy with my hair especially now being a busy mom of two!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jason's one month appointment

Jason had his first month doctor appointment at 8:15 this morning. Yes, a bit early but we made it. He weighs now 8 lbs and 3 oz. Jason is 21in long. Jason did very well except spraying the exam table like a water fountain.

He got his second hepatitis shot. I always hated when Laura needed shots and now Jason. His tiny face looked so sad and he screamed. However, he was easy to calm down and fell asleep in his car seat. Next visit he gets more shots - Poor Guy.

After his appointment, we did some errands. One was having the van looked at again!! Now the door is broken but they temporarily fixed it. Every few months something is wrong!

Tonight we are going back to the mission. I'm exhausted but can't nap. I wish I could though!

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is a day to celebrate Ireland and St. Patrick. When Laura was three, I bought her a Leapster game and made it look like a leprechaun left it for her. I kept the tradition going ever since.

Laura knocked on our bedroom door excitedly in the morning happy that the leprechaun left her a math workbook, T-shirt and a yo yo. It's so cute to see her face so excited and I know these moments of believe won't last forever. I asked her to shower and get ready for her Sunday school class (prep.) She came back all decked out in green.

I went out to the living room and we waited for Jeff to come out. He usually drives her to prep as I take care of Jason. He never came so I went in. Here he had a crazy dream that I told him he didn't need to take her. Jeff quickly got ready and gave me Jason.

Jason and I bonded over music. I also fed him in my own way, but it got the job accomplished. When Jeff returned, I got ready and ate. Before Jason, Jeff and I were hardly late anywhere. We both despise being late. Now since Jason, we are about ten to fifteen minutes late everywhere.

I hate being late but accept we have a new little life and Jeff is only one person. Jeff felt very annoyed by being late to pick up Laura and expressed his frustration. We are going to work on it, and hopefully improve, but hopefully not be too hard on ourselves.

I also feel terrible being dependent and not helping the situation. It's painfully frustrating to see things needing to be done yet can't do them. I try to do everything even skimp on my own care to help move things along.

We picked up Laura and headed straight to Mass. We learned that it was Mission week at our parish with different talks each night until Thursday. Jeff really enjoyed the speaker at Mass. After Mass, he suggested we asked my dad to baby sit Laura so we could go hear the talk. I was more than happy to go.

The rest of the day we cleaned before Jeff's mom came. She visited for a few hours. Jeff made dinner for us and my Dad then Jeff, Jason and I went to church.

Laura was funny at dinner. She informed my Dad that we don't act silly and she has to drink her milk. We are strict!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Parenting with a disability

Being a Mom with a significant disability brings on new dimensions to life. We are very happy being parents. Nothing will ever change that, but it is challenging.

During the first 5 months, honestly, there is not too much I can do for an infant. I can soothe him, hold him in the right position and let others know what I think or feel he needs. Other than that, I give him love, sing to him,read to him and look after him,but Jeff is his primary care giver.

Jeff is doing a great job. Jason is a pretty easy baby but during the night he's up pretty frequently. I wake up too but Jeff is the one who needs to feed him and change him. It's not an easy job.

I have been taking care of Laura primarily and trying to do whatever I can wherever I can. Jason will be a month old on Wednesday. It has been a good month and we realize this infancy stage goes quick. Pretty soon I will be crawling all over the house chasing him.

I'm just thankful to God that Jeff is maintaining patience and taking care of Jason like I would if I could.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Our new Pope

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is the new pope. He is the first pope from Latin America. He will go by the name Francis.

White smoke seen from Vatican City

White smoke seen coming from the Sistine Chapel signalling the Catholic Church has chosen a new pope.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A nice family day

Our Sundays are hectic. I used to teach PREP (Catholic education ) but now I'm on maternity leave. However, Laura still goes to her class. So we need to get Laura ready and take care of Jason. Jeff gets ready, takes Laura to class,I stay with Jason and then eat/get ready when he returns.

We go pick Laura up after class and go to Mass. Within these moments, I really feel our family of four. It's still new but we are getting our stride. I am very proud and impressed that Jeff gets us all ready and on time. We work together and I do help, but the main physical aspects are on him.

Jeff made lunch so we could eat at the park after Mass. We thought it was going to be warm, but it was cold. Laura complained the most. She was cold and complained she had no one to play with.

In no time she was running around having fun. Jason was bundled up as Jeff and I froze. Jeff ate and fed me. Laura ate and then Jeff fed Jason as I took Laura to the swings. We also explored and when we returned to Jeff, we all went for a walk.

Laura said she was having fun and enjoying nature. We visited a whole foods store before leaving. Laura, who complained the most, didn't want to leave. Jeff surprised us and took us to Dairy Queen.

We the took Laura to buy sneakers. Then we came home!!! I hung out with Laura and Jeff napped with Jason. It was just a very nice family day.

No pope yet

AP reports black smoke emerges from Sistine Chapel chimney: No pope on first try.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Laura is growing up

On Friday, I cleaned out my living room closet with Grace, my attendant. One of my favorite things to do is organize. I always feel a great sense of accomplishment when I can look at something and everything has a place.

Laura has been growing lately. She has always been on the small side all of her life. She is six and a half but weighs 39 pounds. Laura is very healthy though and strong. As I cleaned out the closet, I had to donate about 4 of her jackets. I always feel bad doing this since its a sign of her growing up!

Laura came home early because of a half day. She was in an excellent mood. Jeff picked her up and we were still putting together the closet when she walked in the door. Laura immediately got to work without being asked.

She put away toys I found in the closet and bagged jackets for donation. She was very cheerful. For the most part, Laura likes to clean and organize too especially if we all are cleaning too.

Jeff made her lunch and she jumped up to tell him it was delicious. Laura has been a picky eater and getting her to eat used to be a pain. She would only eat rice, pasta, vegetables and fruit. The last week she's been trying new foods and no battles at dinner.

I'm very proud of Laura. She hasn't showed any signs of jealousy. Laura's very attentive to Jason and loves to see him right after school. Jason seems to respond well to her as well. She is going to teach him a lot and look after him.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Seeing The Little Mermaid became a disability fiasco

Unfortunately, there aren't many places that I can go with just Laura. I'm unable to drive, and I need more help in my wheelchair than I do home on the floor. So when I saw that Phoenixville Middle School was doing The Little Mermaid play, I immediately wanted to take Laura.

The middle school is right behind our house. They actually just built a new middle school after tearing down the old one. Laura and I could easily go over ourselves. Jason is a bit young to sit through a play.

I planned on taking her on Friday night but my mom really wanted her to sleep over. I looked into it and saw we could go on Saturday night instead. On Saturday, Jeff and I did some shopping, went out to lunch, and I got my hair cut. My mom had Laura home by six.

When you have a disability that makes you pretty dependent on others, the simplest acts make you thrilled. Laura was a little nervous to go with just me because its so rare. But upon talking about it, she was happy.

We walked over about 6:30 and glad we did since there was already a large group of people. On our way, we sang Disney songs like Zippity Do Dah. We discussed who was going to play Ariel. Ariel is Laura's favorite princess.

When we arrived, Laura handed them the ten dollars we put in her purse. Then things got weird for a few minutes and I thought we traveled back in time to the dark ages of disability awareness.

Laura and I walked to the auditorium entrance and the ushers started talking to a woman behind us instead of me. They asked if we were alone and who did I belong to!! I said it was just me and my daughter but they refused to acknowledge I was speaking.

The man usher said to follow him as the two caddy women were still trying to figure out my owner apparently. Laura and I followed the guy who put us in handicapped seating. He still wouldn't talk to me and seemed perplexed that no one else was with us but at least he got us seated.

When he left and we got comfortable, the two women came back complaining behind me that we paid for general admission but seated in more expensive. Then the one said I don't want her to go upstairs. I laughed aloud picturing that conversation. Then they asked me again if I were alone and I very bluntly said, "my daughter and I are fine!"

The rest of the evening went great and we enjoyed ourselves. Laura cracked up at parts and had a big smile. Seeing her have fun was well worth being independent and dealing with crazy people.

Jeff suggested that I write to the school, and I think I'll do just that because that was ridiculous!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The birth of Jason - part. 2

I heard the doctors ask Jeff several times if he was okay holding me and seeing a needle sticking me several times in the back. Jeff said he was fine, but he felt bad for me. I admired him for that.

When the spinal was finally complete, the whole room seemed happy and relieved. I laid back down and the medicine took affect. Jeff said he never saw my body so still. Jeff held my hand as everyone got right to work.

Time seemed to go fast. There was a moment when I felt a little dizzy and nauseous but they put medicine in my iv to help. When they took Jason out, they sad that I would feel pressure. Honestly, I hardly felt anything. When I had Laura, it felt like a Mack truck fell on me.

The doctor held Jason over the cloth shield for me to see. I had tears of joy. He looked so beautiful. I truly felt proud of myself - something that I don't feel often. I felt proud that despite pregnancy sickness, a horrible cough that lasted over a month, sinus infections, the flu, and cerebral palsy - I carried the wonderful life in me.

Jeff was able to go see Jason. Then they let me see him and I gave them a kiss. Jeff went with Jason to the nursery. He weighed 5 pounds 15 ounces and 20 inches long. They told Jeff that he might need to go to the NICU because he was so small, but he was fine.

After I was done, family came back where Laura held Jason for the first time. I held him too and so did our fathers. I felt pretty good for a bit but then the spinal started to wear off. The nurse gave me pain medicine before I was sent to my room.

The remainder of the day is a bit blurry. I was in and out of sleep. My cerebral palsy wasn't happy about the bed or pain. My body kept jerking me awake after a few minutes of rest.

The rest of my hospital visit I will share at another time, but it was all worth it for our family of four!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The birth of Jason Alexander - Part 1

My son, Jason,  was born on February 20. I haven't written much about it because it's all pretty emotional with a lot of details. However, now he's sitting right next to me, I feel inspired.

On February 19th, I taught all day. I was a bit sleepy but my student did great and the day was pretty smooth. Laura was in a sweet mood after school. After dinner, I got out of my wheelchair.

Everything was taking longer. I went back to use the bathroom and change to my pjs. I won't lie. It wasn't easy, and I didn't want Jeff to carry me because I really felt terrified of falling.

When I came back to the living room, I hung out a bit and ate some Oreos for a snack before bed. I felt different. I couldn't get comfortable even in bed. I wasn't in pain but just really uncomfortable.

I woke up around 1:30 with a painful crampy pain throughout my pelvis area. I thought I just had to go to the bathroom so I slowly got out of bed and went. The pain remained.

Now this part, looking back on it, I feel rather silly. The pain would stop and start. It was so painful it took my breath away at times yet I denied I was in labor. I went in the living room and read all about contractions and labor. With Laura, I had lots of tightening but not pain. So I guess I thought by researching it, I'd know for sure before a false alarm.

I even drank water that I had out, but my body threw it right back up. The pain pattern seemed to be closer and closer when I read that labor contractions are intense, wrap around the back and don't change in change of position.

I quickly (as I could) crawled to the bedroom and told Jeff it was time. He helped me call my OB. She told us to head for the hospital. Luckily, I packed two days before but Jeff hadn't yet. Jeff woke up Laura who was very sleepy but cooperative.

He changed my clothes and very quickly packed his bag. I tried to help Laura too but the pain was too much so Jeff helped her as well. I believe we left the house around 4:45am.

On the way, Jeff called his dad and I called mine. His dad lives closer to the hospital and could sit with Laura until mine came. Both dads were quite surprised but were on the way. Jeff's Mom was out of town and my mom just had double knee replacements so they were going to not make it.

I remember I kept looking out the window. I asked Jeff to put on music so I could get through the pain, and I tried to talk to Laura on the way. When we got there, a nice nurse escorted us up to maternity.

Once they got me on the bed, they were having a little trouble seeing the contractions because of my cp movements. A very experienced nurse felt my stomach and said my contractions were a minute apart.

Jeff helped me with pain. He rubbed and held my hand. I just focused on him and knew I could do it. My doctor came and felt my cervix and said it was time. She called to get the operation room ready.

The anesthesiologists came in and discussed the spinal. They seemed very eager to help me not need to go under. I could tell they didn't get someone with athetoid cerebral palsy probably ever, but they didn't make me feel bad (like the guy did when I had Laura.)

Before I knew it, Jeff was in his gown outfit ready to go in and I was prepped. I felt scared, excited, and hopeful they could do the spinal. Everyone was serious but cheerful. Now the hard part. Three people, including Jeff, held me as tight as possible while they put the spinal in.

It took three times to get it in. My Ob was in front of me at some point and just spoke very gently but reminding me how strong I was.

The birth of Jason - part 1 

A stroll into town

Yesterday was a great day. Laura was excellent going to school. Then I did some work on my computer before Jeff and I took Jason for a walk. The weather was warm so we went into town.

Jason slept happily in his stroller until he was hungry. We sat on a bench as Jeff fed him. Unfortunately, the bench had too much shade and we were cold. However, if Jason was happy, we were.

After he ate, we ate lunch at PJ Ryan's. I had a very delicious roast beef and cheese sandwich with soup. Jeff had the Philly cheesesteak. Jason got lots of attention being the cute little guy that he is.

When we got home, Jeff kissed me and thanked me for a wonderful day. Of course, that made my day in itself. In a lot of ways, I feel like we are still dating with a lot of history. Having Jason has made us even stronger because we work together and have mutual respect for our capabilities.

I felt confident to have Jason stay with me so Jeff could nap. When Laura came home, I helped her with homework and my attendant helped make her lunch. All went smooth and peaceful for the rest of the night. Even Jason slept very well during the night.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Abortion doctor charged with only 8 counts of murder

In Philadelphia, an abortion doctor was charged with only 8 counts of murder after killing over 100 babies in late term abortions.

Yes, I am pro-life. I always was, but especially after having two babies, I cannot even understand how some people are 'pro choice.' The fact is that despite whether you are rich or poor, love your baby or don't, they have a disability or not- they are a living human being with a life.

My first ultrasound with Jason was done at 13 weeks. He was moving, heart was beating strong and he was obviously a baby. So, I really do not understand how anyone could kill a baby even unborn. If you just look at an ultrasound, the proof is there.

Monday, March 4, 2013

February 18 - my last Ob appointment

I had an OB appointment today, and Laura had off due to President's Day. One of my friends offered to have Laura visit and play with her daughter while we go to the appointment. So in the morning, I hung out with Laura. We played lots!

After we dropped Laura off, we headed to the OB. Little did we know that it would be our last OB appointment. I had a great ob doctor who had a good handle on cerebral palsy. We found out that my blood pressure was a bit high. My blood pressure was about low or normal throughout the pregnancy and now it was pretty high.

The most annoying thing about the visit was the nurse asking me to undress from waist down and get on table. It sounds easy but being nine months pregnant and not being able to do it myself, made it pretty hard. Jeff helped me and the doctor didn't even need me to do it.

My doctor told me that they were going to move my c section date to March 13. It sounded so far away!! I wanted Jason healthy, but I didn't know how much more my body could handle.

After we left, we ate at Chili's and picked up Laura. Then Laura and Jeff cleaned out the van plus set up the car seat for Jason in both cars. I packed my hospital bag when Grace came. It was getting exciting to think we would finally meet him soon!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Maple syrup festival

I woke up at 7 with Jeff and Jason.. As Jeff fed Jason, I took a shower. It's amazing how much quicker I am now compared to being pregnant. I'm thankful for this because I feel bad asking for help at all since he has to do all of Jason's physical care.

I'm now able to dress myself a lot easier (except ties, buckles, snaps or zippers.). After I was dressed, Jeff finished feeding and changing Jason, he helped finish getting me ready. I sat with Jason and talked to him, sang to him etc and Jeff got ready.

We went to the Maple Syrup festival in Audubon. Jeff bundled Jason up very well, but we quickly agreed that it was way too cold for anyone of us but especially Jason. Laura would have gotten more out of it. Games, maple syrup tutorials, and crafts are good for Laura but not so much for an infant. So we decided to go to the mall and walk around.

Jason slept the whole time despite everyone commenting on him being adorable. We didn't stay long but had lunch before coming home. When we came home, my mom visited for a few hours. She fed Jason and held him the whole time.

After she left, I took care of Jason who slept most of the time so Jeff could nap. Laura came home from her grandparents and we all hung out together. After Laura went to bed and Jason ate again, Jeff and I hung out and watched Dexter. We are awaiting another feeding before getting some sleep..

How society views people who have cerebral palsy

Have you ever had a day when you forget that you have cerebral palsy? You simply wake up, do your normal routine and don't even think ab...