Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chocolate day

October 28 is national chocolate day! Chocolate is eaten all over the word in thousands of variations. Dark chocolate, white chocolate, and milk chocolate are all celebrated today.

On average, Americans consume about 12 pounds of chocolate in one year. Holidays are often celebrated with chocolate especially Valentine's Day, Easter and Halloween.  Chocolate can be found anywhere and in any combination.

To celebrate chocolate day, enjoy some chocolate during each meal. Chocolate covered bananas, chocolate milk, chocolate sauce, chocolate dessert are just a few suggestions out of millions.  Don't forget the hot chocolate as well.

Surprise a friend by sharing a box of chocolates. Try a new chocolate recipe or cookie. Enjoy a chocolate candy. There are many ways to celebrate today.

What is your favorite chocolate treat?

Monday, October 27, 2014

October is Down syndrome month

October is Down Syndrome awareness month. Did you know that Down syndrome is a developmental disability that affects over 400,000 people in the United States? October is a time to celebrate the abilities of those with Down Syndrome.

Down Syndrome occurs when a baby has a full or partial extra chromosome 21. This extra chromosome will change the course of development.  There are three types of Down Syndrome - trisomy 21, translocation and mosaicism.  Trisomy 21 is the type found in 95 percent of the cases.

People with Down Syndrome now have the life expectancy to age 60. In 1982, the life expectancy was only about 25 years old.  Many who have the disability live full active lives. They attend school, work, and are able to make decisions for themselves.

Down Syndrome can happen to anyone regardless of race, income or ethnic background.  The characteristics of those with the disability are that they are shorter,low muscle tone, and upward slant to the eye.  However, each person with Down Syndrome is different in their own way.

It used to be that babies born to mothers older than 35 had an increased chance to have a baby with Down syndrome. But now eighty percent of the cases are from mothers younger than 35.

Luckily, due to medical advances, people who have Down syndrome live longer even they are more inclined to get sicknesses. They are more likely to have heart defects, certain types of cancer, hearing problems and memory loss.

Even though all people who have Down Syndrome have some cognitive disability, they are often mild.  They do not take away from the person's talents, personality, love and capabilities to live a life that they want.

Take time to understand people with Down Syndrome. They are individuals who might have some differences and challenges, but they are still incredible people. They strive to live out the most wonderful life possible.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kids care week

Children are our future so what we teach and example will therefore affect the future. October 26-November 1 is Kids Care Week. This week is dedicated in helping children find ways to make the world a better place.

Kids Care Week promotes volunteer work for children. By raising children who are compassionate and ready to help someone else the better our country will be. Here are some great ways to volunteer-not only for this week-but all year long!

Organize your pantry and donate what you don't use or extras.
Donate old book bags,toys and clothes.
Play board games at a senior center or nursing home.
Donate leftover food at a shelter.
Look through jackets that might not fit anymore and donate.
Share your talents with others.
Bake for older neighbors.
Share kind words with your family and friends. 
Donate books to library.
Recycle plastic and paper. 
Water plants and plant flowers.
Turn off lights you are not using.
Reuse things when you can. 
Try not to be wasteful. 
Turn off water as you brush your teeth
Eat lunch with a new kid at school or someone looking lonely.
Call your grandparents.
Practice random acts of kindness. 
Give your teacher a picture. 
Help your friends and family.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The most interesting thing about me

I recently read an article about a writer with cerebral palsy who had a professor who said her disability was the most interesting thing about her.  It made me think about my own life and wonder how people perceive me.

I have fought hard not to be defined by my own cerebral palsy. It isn't an easy task when your disability is so obvious and you need help. I've refused though to use it as an excuse to let it define who I am. 

When people meet me, of course, cerebral palsy becomes a topic. It's a very visual disability that requires assistance (my kind anyway.)  But once they get to know me, especially the ones closest to me, tend to even forget I have a disability. It's not something I talk about on a daily basis or even think about. I even have to think when I'm asked something about my disability because it is what it is.

I'll never forget when one of my friends was helping me at breakfast. She put me in my chair and put the food in front of me. Then she sat down and just continued on with the conversation. I laughed when I needed to remind her that I needed fed! Another time, my late husband told me that women who could walk looked funny to him since he was so happy with me and used to me.

Also, I told my then boyfriend but now husband that I wanted ice cream when we were talking online.  He told me to go get it.  He completely forgot that I couldn't walk. We both laughed at that one. 

Having a disability can't help but change something in you and somewhat shape your perspective. But it doesn't define your soul, personality or being.  If you are a bitter person walking then chances are that you will be a bitter person sitting.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Not for the weak or selfish.

It's too bad when you're eighteen that you don't know exactly what career choice is best.  School is so much easier because of no marriage and usually no children yet. You can focus on studying and enjoying life.

Many times, however, it isn't the case. Many people don't have a career in what they went to school for in college. Adults either return to college or want to when they can. Our family is in that boat right now.

Jeff decided to earn his LPN degree and license. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Big changes were ahead.  He has a degree in hotel management but that career path is no good for raising a family. Hours are unpredictable and long.

The LPN program that he is in is about a year and a half with the summer off.  We are nearing the end of the second month (but who is counting...right?). 

I am proud of how hard he is studying. He literally comes home, studies,makes dinner, puts laundry in, feeds me and kids then studies straight until 8 or after. He will put Jason to bed and study as we try to spend sometime together. Then we both wake up at 5:30 in the morning to repeat. The weekends are slightly better except Sundays that  he is there but not due to studying.

I know in the end that I'll get my husband back and it won't feel as I'm a single mother.  There are times when I'm helping Laura with homework on one end of the table, Jason is calling mom at the other end and Jeff is spilling out medical facts that I just want to hide in my room.  But I don't and won't. 

It might be a little more than what I expected and I find myself lonely, exhausted or feel bad I didn't get to write. Then I tell myself to suck it up, put on those big girl panties and deal.   In a year or so though I'll look back and think yes we did it.  But by then, I might be engulfed in my own studying for my accounting degree!!

School bus safety

National school bus safety week is from October 20-24.  School bus safety is very important for students and drivers. It is sad to hear of many tragic or even any accident at all involving a school bus. Remembering a few safely tips can help ensure safe arrivals for all.

Please stop when a bus is at a bus stop.  Too often cars keep going pass or in front of a school bus loading or unloading children. Drivers do not realize that kids are running across streets either to make it to the bus on time or run home. Drivers should not rely on a child to be looking both ways or judge correctly how fast a car is moving.

When students are walking to and from a bus stop, drivers need to be aware. Let them cross the street when they need to. If you are late to work or an appointment, driving safely still applies especially around children.

Students need to walk to the bus stop and not run.  They need to look both ways before crossing the street and be aware of the traffic patterns around them. At the bus stop, they shouldn't rough house or play around near the road.  They should not talk to strangers or get into a car of a stranger.  Only board the bus when they come to a complete stop.  Dress appropriately for the weather while waiting for the bus or coming home.

Teaching children how to behave on a school bus is just as important. They need to understand to not being distracting to the school bus driver unless help is needed. No yelling, swearing, standing, jumping or running around the bus.  Be respectful to the bus driver as you would a teacher.

Bullying needs to be something of the past. Bullying,violence, any kind of assault or being mean should not be tolerated.  If a student notices any of these activities taking place, they need to report the problem to a responsible adult.

Pro-life day of solidarity

October 21 is Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity. This means being silent during the day for the 50 million babies in just America who have been killed by abortion since 1973. It also means that messages about abortion will fill social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with hashtags like #prolifegen and #silentday.

Abortion is more than a religious issue and way more than a political issue.  Abortion is a human rights issue. Something went terribly wrong to make a law stating ending a life of a growing baby is acceptable. It's equally upsetting and shocking that people will go at great lengths to justify killing these human beings.

Calling an unborn baby a blob of cells or a potential person can only get a conscious so far. Learning the facts, knowing about baby development, and understanding that abortion basically burns and dismantles a baby in the womb should be enough for anyone to say abortion is a horrendous wrong thing to do.  But still some go on justifying and denying to help their conscious deal with reality.

Please do not give up on trying to help people understand abortion is never a good choice.  No matter what the disability or defect a person has a right to life. Adoption is a wonderful option. Plus there are many organizations to help women keep their baby.

Keep silent for babies but then let the education begin.  Education, prayers, conversations, volunteering and love will help both women and children.  Hopefully, abortionists will want to stop the blood on their hands and stop counting baby body parts.  One day at a time and with one action at a time.

For more information - http://www.silentday.org

Rachel's Vineyard - http://www.rachelsvineyard.org This site will help women who aborted heal and recover from any pain post abortion.  You aren't alone in feeling pain after abortion.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Our Friday

Laura has been off since her half day on Wednesday.  Her school began earlier than others in the area and is a longer day than other schools. She is learning a lot and I really think it is the best fit for her. During a trimester, they have what they call Student Lead Conferences. Your child goes with you to discuss how they're doing in school so far.

Laura's teachers had nothing but glowing things to say. She's doing third-fourth grade work and all in the 90s. Laura is respectful, easy to correct and eager to learn. All good things that makes a mom very proud.

When it ended, we went to the book fair. She already purchased books there, but I wanted to check it out.  I bought two books for Jason and one book for my nephew for Christmas.  And since Laura had such a good conference, I let her pick out something. She picked out a box of girly stationary.

As Laura and I were in her conference, Jason and my attendent checked out where the buses were.  He's learned to say bus and says it very clearly. He liked seeing them from a distance but not so close up.

Afterwards, we took them to Kolbs Dairy Farm.  We got ice cream, milk, apple cider, lollipops and a pumpkin.  Laura said it was the best day ever.  Jason didn't want to share his spoon with me, but he was very happy to get his own and did pretty well feeding himself!

Laura seemed surprised how many times Jason said my name. I think she got sick of hearing it and told him that I was sick of hearing it. I explained to her that I love hearing both their voices and he can talk to me all he wants.

After lunch, we baked brownies and relaxed.  I love being able to spend time with them together.  It's a great feeling to see them both happy and getting along.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My precious Laura

Hopefully, most mothers feel that their children are precious. I'd do anything for them and die for them in a second if needed. I don't know why but in the last six months Laura has been terrified about me dying.  I have a bad feeling it's from my joking about research on death and cerebral palsy. I don't know. 

It's almost a nightly thing of tears and worries. Laura has this incredible sadness about me dying. Tonight she told me she loved me as much as God's love. She said it will be worse if she died first and could see me but couldn't help me.  She hopes me, her and Jason stick together forever and die at the worlds end together. Talk about rip your heart out and how do you even console her with those fears?

I remember having similar fears about my grandparents dying, parents and siblings.  I often cried in my pillow in bed just worrying.  I'm trying to teach her that worrying doesn't do any good but I don't want to break her sensitivity either.  She's just an incredible kid and I cannot stand the thought of her being hurt by anyone.

Oh dear...

Monday, October 6, 2014

Walk for Life

So back in April, I was asked to be a speaker at the first annual Walk (wheels) for Life in Philadelphia. I felt honored to be asked. I've been very much pro-life since I was horrified learning about abortion. I think I was ten or eleven and some talk show was going over the topic. I remember feeling the same disbelief as I still do today that anyone, knowing facts, could think abortion was acceptable.

I also can't believe I choose abortion as a topic for my debate speech in 8th grade. I shook like crazy but I did it. Through out high school, I wrote plays, poems, research papers and speeches about the horrors of abortion. I did this mainly to educate but also to make some sense to it myself. I kept thinking I must be missing something that thousands saw and thought killing an unborn baby was acceptable.

I still haven't found the answer.  

I felt thrilled giving my speech along with many talented speakers. Father Frank Pavone has been a speaker on pro-life issues for years and years. Terri Schivavo brother gave an excellent talk about his sister.  Terri was starved to death by a court order. She was healthy except lack of mobility and communication.

Over three hundred people came to Love Park. My dad tòok me because I thought it was too adult for Laura. I didn't want to educate her on the horrors of abortion.

My speech focused on the fact that children with disabilities are being targeted for abortion. Children with dwarfism,muscular dystrophy, missing limbs and several more disabilities are being killed daily. The numbers are astounding. I focused on the amazing lives people have even with a disability.  A disability might be challenging but no life is for ours to decide the value. I also talked about the beautiful choice of adoption. 

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...