Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jason!!

Jason turned one officially at 7:50am on February 20. Laura woke up so excited it was Jason's birthday. I love how she loves him so much! Jason was awake anyway so I let her take his helium balloons in his room with his bottle. She was happy to see him before she left for school.

We planned to take Jason to the Elmwood Zoo for his birthday. It's a small zoo about a half hour away. The weather was warm for a change. So after my friend and I picked up his cake, we all went to the zoo. Unfortunately, the zoo was closed!!!

We all mainly laughed at the situation but found it annoying. We then went to King of Prussia mall. Jason enjoys walking around and looking at stuff. He was happy! He even said "ma ma da da!"
Then we went to Palmeros pizza for lunch and topped it off at Mix Berry frozen yogurt. They just opened and very tasty. 

That night we had cake. But guess what? Jason wasn't interested. He ate green beans instead!!

Jason liked his gifts and slept great that night. Now onto his second year of life! Laura  drew a picture for him at school. Her friends even signed it. 

Disabled at birth compared to later in life

I started a new feature on my blog Facebook fan page. Ask me a question and I'll blog my opinion or answer. 

Today I was asked about the differences between having a disability all your life compared to later in life. It's an interesting question. I can only give my opinion but a great idea for research for another article.

Sometimes I feel people who were disabled later on and those from birth are in different social groups. They have entire different perspective compared to others. They know what it felt like to be free of impairment. It must be very difficult having those memories. I, on the other hand, can only imagine.

I notice that those who were disabled later, celebrate anniversaries of disability onset. I just celebrate my birthday. CP is all I ever have known. I try to imagine otherwise but sometimes pretending just gives me a heart ache. I don't think I want to celebrate having CP.

There has only been a few times I've felt like this. Some people who had later onset feel superior to those who have had it since onset. Not many (so please don't yell at me) but definitely some. Some also seem to have more self pity. I can't say I blame them since they have had a taste of freedom. 

On the other hand, I think those who were disabled later have more of a going to try to walk again or live an active life more attitude. This could be because they know what they are missing and want to have it back!

Either way, we are all in the same boat and face many of the same challenges. The best thing to do is to keep pushing through and living life to be happy plus make your mark. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

6 tips on parenting a toddler

As Jason is more mobile and entering into walking, I need to step up my game. Like every baby his age, he wants to and should explore the world. However, the world isn't the safest place all of the time.  

When I'm on the floor with him, I have the ability to see what he sees. So I can spot that tiny paper someone dropped or a penny easily. When I took infant CPR, the instructor told me the best thing to do was prevention of choking. 

I'm limited to one semi working arm and one even less. I can crawl though and pretty fast at grabbing him. He is average weight for his age but Laura was always below average so lifting her was easy.  With him, I work my muscles a bit more. I can do it though.

Safety is always first. So when I grab him, I put my arm around his waist and as gently as I can, sit him down. Jason will try again and again to go after whatever it is but every time I sit him back down. Being consistent is key. If you aren't consistent at a young age, discipline will only get harder as they age.

I stay away from plopping him in front of a TV. TV as a babysitter is a waste in precious time and brain cells.  We read, sing, play with toys and tickle. Children don't need TV. They need love and attention. 

I don't like to overuse the word no. Jason understands it means stop but if I overuse the word, the meaning fades or he will block it out. I try to re direct as possible and show him all the fun stuff he can do. 

Losing your temper on any child shows weakness in you and not them. They are just figuring things out. I never yell at him. A firm no and re direction is all that is usually necessary. If he hits or bites, then I put myself or him out of the situation and say no. I try to show him alternatives to bad attention getters.

As a parent with a disability, you can't just give up and let others parent. Creativity, patience and being consistent have always worked for me. Not everyday is easy. Parenting is hard work but the better the foundation now, the easier when they are 2, 4 or even 14.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

11 month Jason

It seems like yesterday I was about to go into labor. Now he will soon be a whole year old. Challenges have happened but mostly great joys. I'm one very lucky mommy!


Jason has a natural draw to cars. His favorite toy is a race car that I got him when he was about 5 months old. He pushes it all over and now even the walls making car sounds. We also have a fisher price car that he likes going in and out of. Often he goes in head first!

It's hard to say what his first word was or is. He's been saying mama for months. Up until recently, he hasn't connected it to me but is beginning to. He does say Laura quite clear though. He says, "Oh wow!" He also says Hi! Jason will mimic you so must be careful what you say.  Jason will wave to you.

Jason will do so big with his arms when you ask him how big he is. He also tilts his head to the side when saying "aw!"  He likes to clap, dance and make noises.

He sleeps just about all night and takes two naps. The second one is getting shorter. He enjoys sitting in his crib making noises and playing.

Jason gave up baby food when we went to Mexico and eats whatever we eat, just small bites. Jason isn't very picky with food.

He has two bottom teeth and his top two is coming in. Jason can walk with his dinosaur walker and other walker toy but not independently.  No rush though. He's an excellent crawler and pulls himself up anywhere on anything.

Jason seems amused by my wheelchair. He watches closely when I get in and out.  He smiles when I drive around and I know he will need to learn very early not to touch my joystick. 

He loves going out and about. He looks all around. In Mexico, he did great. He missed his carpeted floor and spacious crib though.

Jason does know the word "no" and we try not to overuse it so it keeps the importance. For the most part, he will stop. But like every kid, he sometimes looks back at you with a mischievous smile and continue his task. Then re direction. 
All I can say is this year flew by and can't believe he will be one on Thursday. Everyday is a blessing.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's day 2014

I love St.  Valentine's Day. Pink is my favorite color and love is amazing. It's a great day. 

Laura had off from school due to yet another snow storm.  As I slid out of bed,  Jeff wished me a Happy Valentine's Day. He already gave me my gift.  A 24k rose. I love roses. 

He said the golden rose symbolizes his forever love for me.  Very romantic and sweet! 

Laura was already in the living room.  I wished her a Happy Valentine's Day. I gave her a present. She got books and a little singing monkey.  She was very happy. 

After Jason woke,  we gave him his present. It was a car and truck.  He goes, "vroom, vroom, vroom,"  when he pushes cars. 

I gave Jeff cologne and card. He told me I already gave him everything he ever wanted. Again,  very sweet. 

After lunch,  I gave Laura a special dessert of chocolate hearts and chocolate covered cherries. She enjoyed it. 

The rest of the day was playing with the kids,  cleaning, organizing and watching Laura at karate. It was actually warm out - about 40. My dad picked Laura up at karate. 

I came home to a delicious meal made by Jeff. Italian chicken, spinach, bread and egg. Yummy! 

We watched the Olympics and played with a happy Jason.   A happy day! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania seeks contestants


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania Program to Hold State Pageant


February 1, 2014


The Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania Program is currently seeking contestants for the 2014 Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania Pageant. The pageant will be held on Saturday, March 22 at the First Church of the Nazarene in Bradford, PA.  

 

If you are a woman between the ages of 21 & 60 who uses a wheelchair for 100% of your daily community mobility and have been a resident of Pennsylvania for at least (6) six months, you are eligible to enter the competition. Contestants are judged on their accomplishments since the onset of disability, communication skills and self-perception. Contestants are also be judged on their performance in personal interviews, platform speech presentations and on-stage interviews.


Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania is NOT a beauty contest and marital status is not a consideration.

 

The deadline for registration is March 1, 2014 and the registration fee is $75.


Visit our website at http://www.mswheelchairpenn.org to download an application or contact Megan Abrams, Pennsylvania State Coordinator, at (814) 331-1722 orMegan0876@gmail.com for more information.



##########




Megan Abrams
Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania President
Ms. Wheelchair America Secretary

Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting into the routine of being in the dark

By Friday, living without power was becoming normal, somewhat. Laura had off due to conferences so that was one thing we didn't need to worry about. However, she had her Princess Ball that night.

The Princess Ball is a dance at her school. The girls get dressed up and go with an adult of their choice. Laura also took her cousin.  It went off without a hitch. 

Our neighbors finally conceded and came to sleep at our house. They are without power too and no heat. We invited them Wednesday and Thursday but kept refusing. The wife was worried about our privacy. We continued to push and they finally came. 

I heard wonderful stories of neighborly love but also not so great stories. Some with disabilities being abandoned in their homes.  Elderly who are widowed and alone almost freezing to death. 

In my community, a shelter was set up. We would have went if we didn't have heat hooked up through a generator. I heard awesome volunteers and members donating enough food that it could be donated to the food bank. 

One of my biggest fears is one day I'll be alone and in a similar situation. I hope I'm never too proud to take the help. Having a disability makes it more complicated but hopefully people will still reach out. 

My neighbors enjoyed my children, watching the Olympics and heat!  They stayed three more nights. Even though our power is back on,  we will miss their company as well. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Princess Ball for Laura

It has been a week of no power. However, life doesn't stop. Friday was the Princess Ball at Laura's school. Last year she went with Jeff and had a fabulous time. This year she took my dad and cousin.

My neighbor always gives us clothes for the kids. They do not have grandchildren so Laura and Jason are their adopted ones. They give Laura beautiful dresses. She wore one to the ball.

Laura didn't have school Thursday or Friday due to conferences.  Jeff took her to see the Leggo movie during the day. When they came home, she ate food and I had her gather her dress and tights.

We ran to Kmart to get better fitting shoes. Her school asked for more cups so I quickly picked them up too. I was concerned that we would be late for her hair appointment because check out took forever!

We made it just in time.  I had her put everything on before doing her hair. She looked beautiful even before her hair was done. I felt nervous again because the hair place was running behind. But it all turned out fine.

They curled her hair, and I felt slightly bad that I couldn't do it myself. I'd love to do her hair. I'd braid it, curl it anything. My mom wasn't very good with my hair and I was jealous of the girls with braids and cute hair. I try the best I can by teaching her how to do the best she can. 

Everything went great and looked wonderful.  



Valentine recipes that look amazing

I would love to bake and cook.  My attendants and husband help that urge, but I'd still like to do it myself one day. Here are some recipes that I think would be amazing. 

Strawberry cake roll. - I love strawberries and cake!  Oh my, can you imagine how this would taste?

Banana, chocolate, caramel and crepes - What more could you want in life?
Banana

Chocolate covered strawberries - You can never go wrong when you give someone chocolate covered strawberries!

Chocolate strawberry cake - Try something adventurous with this yummy cake!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Valentine ideas

Valentine's Day isn't just for romance. It's about love. Family is love and we can express the love for family in many ways. Holidays are fun so instead of calling it a Hallmark holiday, get creative and make a lasting memory. 

Decorate your children's bedroom door with hearts. Not just any hearts but hearts with sayings on them.  Put sayings on them on what you love about them.  Put one on the door each day until Valentine's Day or even all of February. 

Fill a jar with pink, red and white M&Ms. You can put a note on the jar saying something sweet to the ones you love.  Or you can also fill the jar with red hot candy and write, "For my hot one!"  I suggest making sure they like red hots first though!

Use food to do the talking. Make heart shaped pancakes, pizza, cookies and more. Let your imagination go wild!  Don't forget the use of red food coloring.

Thursday just got better

Waking up Thursday we were disappointed to see no power. Jeff had to run some errands early. He came back,  re routed heat to living room and my attendant arrived. 

Laura had her parent teacher conference at 10.  Jeff could not go due to work but my dad said he would go with me.  Well,  long story short, he took Laura himself due to ice and my wheelchair. I was ok with that because she has such great grades that I didn't expect any issues. 

Jeff was also not able to get to work due to down wires,  trees,  and closed roads.  He tried though. 

The morning dragged a bit after Jason's nap. We couldn't do the normal cleaning,  laundry and all other stuff. When Laura returned and Jason woke up,  we took them to Kmart and Burger King. It was the warmest I felt during the day in awhile. 

When we came home, Jeff and my dad figured out a way to hook our main heater to the generator. Jeff tidied wires up etc. We finally started to feel normal. We had dinner and watched television before bed.  I also was able to  write blogs on my ipad. 

The most annoying part is not being able to vacuum, clean as normal, be able to go in rooms freely with lights and heat etc. We do have the bare necessities and cozy though. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dark Wednesday full of blessings

Around 2am Wednesday, our power went out again. We hoped that it would return by the time we woke. No such luck. Laura's school canceled again due to the ice and snow mix. At first it was a two hour delay but then they canceled due to power outages. 

My attendant couldn't make it due to the roads.  Afterwards is when I knew I am truly blessed. Jeff quickly jumped into action. He got right up,  gave Jason a bottle and went to the hardware store to buy a generator at 7am. He was extremely smart to do so because he got the only one they had. 

Laura snuggled with me to keep warm in bed.  We sang and talked.  We pretended that the bed was a boat and our animals were sea creatures.  Jason slept  extra long and was amused by Laura so Jeff could set up the generator. 

After Jeff plugged in some of the electronics and heater,  we all went out to the living room. The rest of the time blurred.  Jeff and my Dad trying to hook up our heater to generator. My kids were amazing.  They both played quietly.  Before I knew it,  it was two o'clock. 

I ordered us lunch and even though they couldn't figure it out with the heater quite yet,  it felt somewhat warm.  Jeff kept the generator going. He tried ways to hook it up and got our tv and Internet up. 

I sat on the couch and Jeff made me hot chocolate and covered me with a blanket. The hot chocolate was delicious. My friend brought over vegetable beef soup and another friend brought over spaghetti. 

My dad took Laura to his house. Jeff tried to convince our neighbors to come get warm.  They are older but wouldn't. I prayed that they would be ok. It went down into the high teens at night. 

We took showers before bed.  We have hot water still.  It felt like a hot tub outside. After getting Jason all warm,  we snuggled in bed hoping power would come back during the night. It didn't   

I'm blessed because my husband worked nonstop on the house,  power,   Jason,  my care and everything else. My children were angels. Very cooperative and calm. My friends who prayed and gave us food.  Family for helping Jeff set everything up. How can I complain? 

Our snowy Monday

This week could have been horrible. But it wasn't. 

On Monday, we had an early morning power outage. Jeff delayed his job because he didn't want to leave me alone with the kids and no power. Then due a snow storm, I received a call that Laura's school canceled. 

So I texted my attendant and she wasn't comfortable driving in. Jeff contacted his job,  explained the situation and they were understanding. We ate breakfast before the kids awoke. We all did work around the house in one way or the other. All was going great.  

Then the power went out again. This time it wasn't a half hour,  or a few hours.  It never came back!  Jeff took care of the snow removal and I did my best entertaining the kids.  

By six,  we decided to go out to dinner. Jeff called PECO and they said we were one out of eleven still without power and it could take up to 7am the next  day. 

We went to dinner and prayed power would come back. The first restaurant we tried was closed.  The next one had us and plow people.  It was tasty food though. 

We came back home and were sad to see a very dark home.  It was then made the choice to go to a hotel. Jeff and Laura went inside to gather what we needed and I stayed in with Jason. 

We stayed at a Motel 6 and pleasantly surprised how nice it was.  The kids took a bath.  Then Jeff and I got the giggles and could not stop laughing. It was fun. 

The next morning we got everybody together. Laura's school had a two hour delay so that helped us not be so crazy.   And we said good bye to the hotel and hello to power for a little while. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Our trip to Cancun 2014

We just returned yesterday from Cancun, Mexico. We were fortunate enough to go with my in laws and brother in law's family. So in total, it was 6 adults and 3 children under the age of 8. 

Jeff and I were in Cancun in 2010 for a honeymoon. We loved it and always wanted to return. We thought it would be in ten years from now and renew our vows. But we went this year.

Jeff and Laura were so excited that they packed two weeks in advance.  I packed a little less than a week before.  Jeff packed Jason and I made sure Laura had enough. I tend to overpack but I don't care. I rather have too much than too little. On this trip, I felt we all had just enough.

Taking two kids are a lot different than just us. Making sure everyone had all needs met, enough diapers, enough toys, enough snacks, enough extra what if clothes...just enough. When we went, I just wanted to pack the most attractive clothes that I had. 

Flying with a disability isn't as crazy as some might think.  It takes some thought, some patience and a lot of deep breaths.  I have a travel motorized wheelchair which was perfect.  It closes easily and much, much lighter than my quantum.

The night before we left, I could hardly sleep. It felt like Christmas Eve. If you know me, you know I do not like flying. I was more excited than anxious so that was good.  We woke up at 6 and got ready. Then we got the kids ready, ate some breakfast and waited for his parents. They were coming with us to the airport.

The temperature felt like two degrees. We were all excited to get out of the obnoxious cold.  It's been the coldest winter in such a long time. 

Stay tuned for more. 

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