Monday, September 30, 2013

Family eat together, eat better October

Eat better, eat together month is October. October is the best time to remember how important it is to eat together and eat healthy. The school routine is in place and the chill is in the air to bring us inside.

When people eat together instantly our social esteem raises. Not many of us like to eat alone. Children thrive on family time even if they refuse to admit to it. Turn the television off and turn on the listening ears.

Statistics say that eating together improves a child's grades and self esteem. They might just talk automatically without being prodded about their day. Conversation is always good between family members.

Healthy eating is always a good thing. It isn't always the easiest or cheapest , however, most beneficial for the health of the family. Soda is not good for anyone. Children need milk, fruit, vegetables and protein.

Have a good month and eat better!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Laura turns 7!

Last weekend was so much fun. My daughter turned 7 years old.  Seven years surely fly by. My pregnancy with Laura wasn't so smooth. I had morning sickness all nine months, had pain all over and had a mysterious pain in my right arm. That pain landed me into the hospital with a morphine drip because I hardly slept for 72 hours.

Like Jason, Laura was early. She was 3 weeks early born at 2:58am. She was tiny yet perfect. Laura is still tiny, and to me, perfect.

On Saturday, we had a small family party.  We had a great time. Jeff and I throw pretty good parties, I must admit. It's difficult for me to watch Jeff do all the physical stuff involved but I do the shopping, inviting, cleaning etc. Accept what you can do.

On Sunday, we had her friend party at Aerial's Gymnastics. She asked me for a party there ever since her older cousin went to a party there and told her about it. The unfortunate part was we couldn't invite her whole class. I always feel bad about it because I wasn't ever invited to a birthday party and know exactly how that feels. Terrible!

Laura had a blast though. Her smile said it all and everyone had a great time. They have people that do the parties for you. You just bring the cake. I'd recommend them to anyone.

What physical therapists and others who mean well should know

I was reminded tonight how frustrating people can be at times. My husband was trying to have me feed myself baked beans with a spoon. As helpful as I know he was trying to be, it was  annoying. In his defense, I know he meant well because he encouraged me to try the iphone, ipad and pull myself onto the toilet. All these things I thought were also impossible, were not.

However, I knew I could not feed myself with a spoon.

Sometimes I think people need to listen to someone before pushing them to do the impossible. Otherwise their well meaning words sound hurtful and discouraging.

I was reminded how I felt when an OT forced me into hours of trying to button a shirt. She refused to listen or understand my point of view. I realize I have severe CP and accomplished more than many thought but I do have limitations.

I hope physical and occupational therapists would understand the line of a healthy challenge to an annoying nagging. It makes the person feel inadequate and defeated. Instead one should ask what they would like to work on and encourage positively.

In the end, I was fed my baked beans by my handsome challenge, please!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Disney changed rules for disabilities

Disney World has changed its rules about people with disabilities. In the parks, people with physical disabilities were allowed to go in front of the line or through another entrance. Unfortunately, too many took advantage of the system and they dropped it altogether.

What many people do not realize is that waiting in line with a wheelchair or mobility device is very hard. People with a legitimate disability are not out  to scam the system or have special rights. It’s just nice to have a place to make a vacation a wee bit easier to handle.

But I guess that is too much to ask for.

Some people wanted to fake having a disability to get ahead. It is a real shame that this made them feel great. Then there are  the people with disabilities who thought it would be cool to scam the system to get money by being ‘tour guides.’

Thank you for making life more challenging for those with disabilities who just want to have a vacation without the stress of crowds and burning in our wheelchairs as we wait in line. Also in line we get strangers to stare at us, bump into us and often make fun of us.

Disney is no longer the happiest place on Earth...

Friday, September 20, 2013

'Twas the night before seven

'Twas the night before turning seven and lots of excitement through the house. Tomorrow Laura turns seven and I can't believe what an amazing young lady she has become. Her birthday is always a little emotional for me. I'm sure Jason's will be too.

Laura's father died when she was six months old. He loved Laura more than anything. I remember clearly him holding her moments after she was born. He rocked her and sang," you will be in my heart" from the movie Tarzan. I thank him for helping create her. 

Laura's sixth year has been great. She has learned how to read, became a yellow belt in karate, became a terrific big sister, has many friends and is one of the smartest people I know.  Laura has the biggest heart and so thoughtful. 

Today was the beginning of her birthday weekend. Cassie helped me bake cupcakes for her class. She was able to share them and they sang happy birthday to her. Then her school had grandparents day. Laura was blessed enough to have three come. My heart broke when I heard some didn't have any come. But Laura's helped them not feel left out. 

My dad was able to hang out at her class and take her to karate.  My mom watched her do karate. Then everyone hung out at our house, my dad took her to dinner then they hung out a bit longer. 

Laura's book order also came in and that was  also a nice surprise because that was part of her birthday present.  Now in the early hours, my little girl turns 7 at 2:58am.  Thank you God for giving her to me to raise on Earth!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Candy crush

I enjoy Candy Crush. It's actually my nighttime relaxation activity. Most people enjoy watching tv but I will grab my iPad and try to beat another level. 

I know I'm not the only one!  Jeff and I saw people at festivals playing the game. Jeff has seen people at the gym playing. The game spans across many generations.  I've seen children up to senior citizens play. 

I happen to think it's a good thing. However, if you are going into debt over it or spending way too much time on it, there might be a problem!  But if not, I think it's better on the brain than watching television. 

I like that you need to strategize moves,think ahead, and try to obtain the most points.  There is nothing more rewarding in the game than beating a level. The most frustrating is when you have one more move and no lives left!

So play in moderation but don't feel guilty because you're exercising the mind!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

School morning routine

Laura is back in school and everything seems to be going very well. She enjoys her teacher and her best friend is in her class. The first day was hard for me to let her go. In fact, I had tears for the first three days when the school bus pulled away. Once in a while, I still feel tears build up. 

We have a good morning routine. I get up about 8 minutes before Laura.  This way I can use the bathroom and start the shower for her. She showers, gets ready and we talk a bit.  

I have sneaker sandals that I can put on myself. The night before, Jeff puts my wheelchair in front of the couch. So I get on the couch and scoot to my seat. Laura fastens my seatbelt. 

I hung on the refrigerator a list of things she needs to do before and after school. This helps us not to forget anything. We normally have ten extra minutes that I built in for emergencies, wardrobe malfunctions or just a slow moving day.  Usually we chat or she plays on the iPad. I sneak in extra hugs or kisses.  

I often hear stories about school that just pop up out of the blue.  I enjoy hearing about life from a six year-old perspective. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Public partnerships need to care more

In addition to the sicknesses, I have been dealing with some other issues. I hired a wonderful new attendant and she started mid August. She has had horrible luck medically. She called off twice. And then couldn't make it in at all this week. Now normally I'd obviously question if I had made a mistake in hiring her. 

However, all her issues are legit. She will be back on Sunday and hopefully good from there on out. We made it work but I'm looking forward to her return. My back up has been wonderful and even changed her schedule to come help me. 

Jeff also helped more in the morning and did more housework to help. I am looking forward to some normalcy though. 

The other stressful thing is Public Partnerships pay all attendants in Pennsylvania. They are the most difficult company that I ever dealt with.  My attendant filled out all the proper paperwork etc and should have been fine to work by mid August.  To my dismay, they refuse to pay her for 47 hours because they determined the date.

So now what? My caseworker can't get anywhere either. I'm going to contact my senator but have my doubts he will help. It's absolutely absurd. 

She is staying with me hopefully for awhile. I'll let you know how it turns out, but it looks like I will need to pay her out of pocket. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Poor sick baby

The last two weeks have been a bit crazier than usual. Jeff caught a cold and shortly after so did Jason. Nothing worse than a sick child - especially a baby. 

We didn't rush to the doctor immediately but when he just sounded more and more congested, we decided it was time. The doctor diagnosed him as having allergies. It made sense to me because Laura has allergies ever since she was a baby.

When babies are premature, they are more likely to have allergies and respiratory issues. They gave him Singular to drink in his bottles. He did improve slightly but then he went downhill pretty fast. 

His eyes were red and goopy. Jason sounded very congested. We just started him on baby food and he refused to eat. So back to the doctor we go..

It's very sad to see your baby sick.  They whimper and try to smile but just can't. Jeff held Jason more and tried to keep him comfortable. In the meantime, I got sick as well and had a fever. I normally get whatever comes along.

So Jason and I had joint appointments. Jason looked so sad with his red eyes. It broke our hearts. He was diagnosed with a sinus infection and ear infection! The doctor put him on amoxicillin the antibiotic. Then he looked at me and said I had a sinus infection and I was put on antibiotics. 

Jason started feeling better the next day. I'm still bouncing back but better. Luckily, Laura has been okay.  We have been giving her the normal allergy medicine so maybe it kept it away.

Jason is now back to smiling, laughing,eating and being adorable as ever!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fall goals

The end of summer brings about new goals. Having a baby, a first grader, pets, an organized house, husband, working for the Examiner, being a social media person for the Pennsbury Inn and a first grade Catholic class I realize how valuable time is. I want to utilize my time well.

My goals until December are to take one hour a day for writing. This way it won't feel crammed in and stress me out. I love working so please don't get me wrong. But I feel a steady schedule will definitely help!

What are your goals this fall?

My birthday

Jeff made my birthday very special this year. The morning started off rough though. My attendant texted me right after I woke up to tell me she couldn't make it in due to a medical issue. Then on my way back from taking Laura to the bus, I cut open my hand by opening the gate. 

My morning improved. Jeff came out with Jason and we ate breakfast together. One of my closest friends spent the afternoon together!  She moved to Louisiana and I missed her so much. It was the first time she met Jason. Of course she fell in love! 

She helped me take Jason to the doctor. He had been coughing for a few days and it was time to get him looked at. At the time, the doctor diagnosed him with allergies. 

Afterwards, I took her to Wendy`s so we could eat lunch. If you have never tried the cheeseburger on a pretzel roll,  you need to. It's delicious!  Then we picked up Laura at school. She was absolutely surprised to see Tabitha and happy. 

We all sat on my deck and talked. Laura did her homework and Jeff said he ordered dinner. I didn't expect anything else.  Then I saw my nephew walk in,  my sister, mom, dad and Jeff's parents.  He planned the whole thing and I had no idea! 

Jeff ordered my favorite cheesesteak. He also got me a delicious chocolate cake. We all had a lot of fun and I got some wonderful gifts.

Here is to year 38!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What teachers need to know about disabilities

For many students with disabilities inclusion is the norm. I wasn't included until the fifth grade because back in the early eighties, inclusion was unheard of. Everyone would say that I'm a trail blazer. I didn't understand what that really meant then but now I do. 

When I was first included, teachers wanted nothing to do with me. I sat in the very back of the class by myself. I didn't feel like I was part of the class but obviously there to prove something. 

I would like teachers to realize that children with disabilities are still children. Look beyond the wheelchair, equipment, speech problems, spasms and whatever else be the disability. Find the child eager to learn, have fun, and belong.

Let go of preconceived notions about the child. Let the child teach you who they are. Include them in your class, accept them and challenge them.  

Some of my best teachers found the real Jessica and challenged me to do the best I could.  Children with disabilities need to be ready because adulthood with a disability is completely different.   Finding a job, managing your care, and being independent is harder with a disability. 

The bottom line is if you are teaching children with disabilities treat them as you would any student. Don't be afraid to challenge them so they are prepared for the rest of their lives. 

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