Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My hips used to hurt and now feel better

A few months ago, I could barely crawl or straighten my right leg. Whenever anyone put me in my wheelchair, the pain was striking and I couldn't even straighten my leg. I feared that being forty plus all of my sitting in the W position had caught up to me. It got to the point that I needed to take an Aleve daily. I know doing taking one daily isn't very good for your liver, but I needed it just to make it through the day. The pain made it difficult to sleep.

The first step I took was doing range of motion. I had my attendant stretch my leg in an up and down motion. Even though it was pretty painful, I started to feel better. I didn't give up just because it hurt. Although it was tempting, believe me.  I also would do leg lifts in the afternoon on my own and in bed.

 I also bought glucosamine and take two of them each afternoon. I've heard many success stories of people who took glucosamine that had joint pain. They told me how much better they feel.  One day we were at Costco and I remembered to buy some. When I came home, I noticed that they were huge white pills.  I decided to take it during lunch time. I believe they helped me a great deal.

Just like that, it seemed, I was back to myself with being able to move my right hip. Now I can crawl all over my house without any pain. It's so nice to be able to "run" down the hall to the kids rooms.  Plus I can help whoever puts me in my wheelchair by fully extending my legs. I know this makes people happy who is picking me up. 

So, if you're in a similar position, please try the steps that I took. I hope you find it successful.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

9 year old girls

Laura has always been one of the kindest, thoughtful, intelligent, loving and funniest people that I have ever met. I remember looking in her eyes at a week old and knowing she has the most amazing soul.  But like everyone, we grow and change. And in the last three months, Laura has done both and I'm trying to learn the best way to guide her.

I've heard all the horror stories of tweens. Like most parents, you always think that won't be us. We are closer than that or I parent differently so that'll never be me.  I was wrong.  No matter who you are, hormones happen and that can make someone a bit crazy.  As her mother, I want Laura to be happy and feel loved.  So, of course, I want to do everything I can to help her with that.

Sometimes she's fine, sometimes she cries, sometimes she sobs and sometimes she screams- all in five minutes. Then it continues all night long and the more you try - the worse it gets. It's all very new and frustrating for both of us. The saddest thing to hear is that she doesn't want to be this way but doesn't know how to stop. I can't make it stop. We just need to figure out methods that work for her while still being respectful to us.

Last night was a fail for both of us.  This morning and mid afternoon seemed pretty touch and go.  The rest of the day went wonderful. I did a few things differently thanks to the advice from my friends.  

I didn't esculate it by prodding, I just told her what needed to be done.  I ignored dirty looks and sighs to get to the bigger picture- getting out the door.  I compromised with her on times and how she did things. For example, I asked her to finish cleaning her room and she asked me if I was going to help. I told her no that I felt she was more than capable of doing it herself.

Laura said okay but then asked if she could watch a show on iPad while doing it. I normally say no, but instead I said the job only should take 20 minutes. If she can get it done to my approval, it would be okay.  To my surprise, her room looked great in less time. I could tell she felt proud and happy that she met the goal.  No tears or fights.

I understand this might not work each time and every day is different. However, I know we love each other and we will get through this. Also, I need to embrace that she's only nine once. Even though there are and will be lots of rough times - there is also lots of cuteness, coolness and intelligence to witness too.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Jason at two but almost three

Jason is growing leaps and bounds. Everyday he's saying new words and sentences. He's making new and logical connections.  Jason is just a neat boy to be around.

Jason knows his letters, can count to ten, recognizes numbers, and picks out letters from words. He showed me the other day that J is for Jason! He counts cars and other objects. Jason is a the type of boy that you can show him something once and he remembers. In fact, he has one of the best memory that I have ever seen for a two year old.

Jason is also a man of routine. We have hardly ever had any difficulty to get him to nap.  He knows that shortly after lunch, he can play a little more than nap. Jason tells others the routine too, and he could probably tell you the whole house routine if the vocabulary was there. 

Jason is usually easy going but sometimes he just wants to insert his stubbornness.  Luckily, it usually passes quickly and we move on. He definitely reminds you of what is important. He asks you to play with him and your immediately drawn in and centered to what is important.

Favorites:
When he wakes up in the morning, he calls Mommy. During the school week, Laura opens his door since it's around the time that she wakes anyway. Laura says, "hug to pass!" And they hug each other before he leaves the room.

He likes to clink glasses, plates etc and says, "Cheers!" Laura taught him this.

I ask him to let Lady and Lucky out in the morning and he runs to do it and usually says, "okay!!!"

When we've been out on errands, Jason will ask, "Mommy, want to see Lady and Lucky?" Translation: I want to go home.

He knows directions pretty well when we are out. He will tell me when we are about to pass a river or over pass.

He tells me when he sees a jeep, fire trucks and other vehicles.

Jason likes to say, "Mommy, will you play with me?"

He likes to sit next to me when I eat breakfast.

He helps me play with him by guiding my hands.

He says please and thank you.

Jason says, "Merry Christmas!" To people walking by.

He says Hi to people when we are out.

Jason says I love you so cute.

He likes his stuffed kitty, blanket and dog.

Jason loves showing all his cars.

Merry Christmas a different one, but happy Christmas

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. We had an interesting one but fun and worth it. I had to use my manual chair twice during the last two days. As some of you know, being in a motorized wheelchair and then a manual plus being carried up and down stairs can really throw a body off. But it was worth being with some and making others happy. When I was young, I was carried constantly and in many situations that never bothered me. Now I'm 40 and two kids later, my body says, "what are you doing??" 

On Christmas Eve, sadly, my Laura figured out that Daddy and I had the spirit of Santa.  Looking back on it, I could've covered it in many ways, but I didn't.  I think it was just that time she knew or my instincts would've covered.  Looking back on it, I could've said several things but none even entered my mind. We laughed, talked, and cried. But we talked lots about Santa and the loving aspect. We also talked about keeping Santa alive for Jason for many years to come! She said, "It sounds like a lot of work!" But she was happy to take it on. 

I whimpered back to my bedroom and cried.  I cried more than I ever expected to.  Part of it was that we were so close to the day.  I was mad it even happened, mad at myself, mad at Jeff and even mad at Laura for coming out an hour after bed.  It was late too! Then I reminded myself Christmas is about Jesus Christ and loving others. When I talked to Laura, she hugged me harder than ever that we did all of that for her.  So that made me smile.  I'm pretty sure I cried myself to sleep as Jeff rubbed my back.  No one warns you about all the emotions that a mom goes through. 

When I woke up Christmas morning, I still had that funny feeling in my stomach but no more tears.  It was just a new stage.  Then another thing happened.  Laura sleepily let Jason out of his room when she was supposed to keep him entertained in his room until we were ready for them to see the tree. Well, he wanted out and she was very sleepy. He ran right past her and right in the living room without anyone there to catch his reaction.  I just took a deep breath. I let go and embraced the moment before getting upset. I thought it is what it is.

Jason kept saying Christmas tree and was waving a little light saber around that Jeff got him.  He wouldn't let us put the lights on to see the light saber glow in the dark so I'm not sure if he noticed the impact of the gifts.  We all sang Happy Birthday to Jesus first. Then Jeff changed his diaper. We were trying to stall so my Dad could be there.

Once we all started opening gifts, love and fun were in the air. I felt very touched and satisfied that Laura gave presents that she got us all first instead of opening her own. I thought we did it and she understands that giving is just as good - if not better - than receiving.  

Laura didn't let on at all that she knew about Santa.  My dad was mad at me when he found out because he had no clue she knew plus he hates seeing her get older.  Me too, but such is life.



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fun December

I love the month of December. I enjoy being busy and giving to others so December has both of those things. Most importantly, I love Christmas. Celebrating the birth of Jesus is just wonderful. My childhood memories of Christmas is full of happy times. From decorating the house, the tree to Christmas morning December is great.

We decorated the house the first Wednesday of December.  Laura usually likes to decorate with me, but she told me that she only wanted to decorate a few certain areas. So, my attendant and I decorated when she was at school.  Jason was very funny in the beginning. He didn't like us moving things around and changing his house. He slowly became more and more interested and pointing out snowmen and such.  When Laura came home, she looked around and approved of our work. She also went right to work on the mantel.

Wherever we went out with Jason, he pointed out Christmas items.  He insists on calling Santa Claus Christmas trees.  I'm not sure why to be honest.  He loves looking at Christmas lights and says, "oh wow!" and "how cool!" The first weekend of December, we did lots of fun things.  We went to Sesame Place Christmas. Jason enjoyed seeing the characters, the beautiful Christmas lights, and the rides. He also liked the parade.  The next day, the was Breakfast with Santa at my church.  At first, Jason wanted nothing to do with him.  He even told my attendant that he didn't want to see him.  But as Jason turned away, I said why don't you give Santa a high five? To my surprise, he did!  Then he talked to Santa and finally sat on his lap!

On December 12, we went to pick out our Christmas tree.  I had hockey in the morning and the kids went on the Santa train with my dad.  Jeff decided to decorate the outside of our house. After Jason took a nap, we went to look at a tree.  It was so warm that I didn't even need a jacket! Jason absolutely loved looking at all the trees. It was as if he knew exactly what he was doing. He also enjoyed watching Jeff get it in the house!  The next day, Shawn and Laura mainly decorated and Jason cracked up seeing I got him a Lightning McQueen ornament and Mater from the Cars movie.  He loves seeing the tree lit each night.

Laura is also excited about Christmas.  She is getting older and questioning things more, but I believe the hint of magic is still alive.  She enjoys updating our Advent calendars (we have 4 and 2 edible.). She likes giving to people too. She helped me pick out some toys for children in need. She also went through her things for children in the foster care system.  As Laura gets older, I'm trying to teach the beauty in caring for others.

I have two favorite memories with Laura this Advent season.  The first one was when my dad dropped us off at
Kohls department store. Laura wanted to use her allowance to buy for family members and people the closest to her.  I loved how detailed and heart felt all of her choices were. She had a story or meaning behind each gift. I helped her somewhat but everything was mainly her idea.  It warmed my heart and makes me smile whenever I think about it. 

The second was last Wednesday night in my town.  One of the church's held an event for everyone with music and stories for Christmas.  Laura didn't want to go at first but later changed her mind. When she came home from school, she did her homework, showered and put on a pretty dress. They had hot chocolate and cookies upon entering.  We sat down and it opened with the song, "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." It was so pretty and everyone sang. But looking at my beautiful Laura with a smile and joy in her eye - it made the night.

Both of the kids have enjoyed our elf, Jack. At first, Jason wasn't too certain about the whole idea. But then he figured if Laura was excited, maybe there was something to this little elf.  First thing in the morning they both find him and giggle when they find him. I think we will all be sad when Jack goes home until next year because he brings so much joy.
   
H

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thank you to the hostess at Olive Garden

Last week we took the kids out to the Olive Garden for dinner.  It was the last day of school for Laura before Thanksgiving break. And Jeff also just didn't feel like cooking. I certainly didn't argue on going to the Olive Garden. I had a long day and wasn't feeling the best either.

When we normally go to places, in general, people make silly assumptions.  It's nice when people get it right.  We went in the restaurant and there was a little bit of a line.  Jeff escorted Laura to the bathroom, and I stayed with Jason.  When the hostess was ready, I told her we had 4 people - 2 kids - 1 high chair. She understood me right away. 

Shortly after Jeff and Laura returned, she sat us.  She pulled out a chair for me and said that it was for his wife when talking to Jeff. It made me smile because not many people just assume I'm his wife so to hear it without being told, was nice.  Then they put the high chair by Laura and before I knew it, she helped Jason with his jacket. Usually we get creeped out by people too friendly with our kids but her mannerisms were just kindness. Jeff helped me with my jacket.  Then she put him in the high chair. 

Jeff and I looked at each other but realized Jason was totally cool about it. I felt happy because she helped with one less step that Jeff normally has to do.  He never complains but sometimes I feel bad that he has to do it all. 

So, thank you, for your kindness and assuming the best instead of the worst.

Trick or Treat wheelchair style

Halloween is always more fun with kids of your own. As a kid myself, I wasn't too into Halloween because everyone knew me. My dad had to carry me into most people's houses. I also can't stand the cold.  I enjoyed giving out candy and my brother and sister would share their candy with me.

When I had Laura, I was excited about Halloween. My neighborhood is accessible so I could take her. Her first Halloween she was barely a month old.  She wore a pumpkin outfit and looked so cute.  As the trick or treaters came, they wanted a glimpse of Laura. At some point, we had to turn off the outside light because the doorbell kept waking her.

The next year she was a bumble bee and made it to a few houses.  But at two, she was really into it. She was an angel and went with her cousin who was five.  She enjoyed it.  She has been a dinosaur, bat girl, witch, Dracula, Red riding hood, power ranger , bee, pumpkin, angel and this year - Hermonie from Harry Potter.

Laura was actually on the fence about going trick or treat. The year before she was getting over a bad cold. So when we went out, her stamina wasn't there. I took her home and we handed out candy as Jeff took Jason around. She enjoyed handing out candy and being with me that she said she gave up trick or treating for good! I felt sad about this because she was only eight.

When September came around this year, I started talking about Halloween.  I got her to the point where she would go out and then come back and hand out candy. I told her that I wanted to stay out the whole time because I did when she was young and I wanted to see Jason too. 

Jeff went out and hooked two flashlights up to my chair.  I have terrible night vision so it was a huge help. Jason thought they were very cool and played with them too much that after Halloween, they went away.  But, they were a big help when needed.
Jason was a minion this year. He loved dressing up.  We always call him a minion anyway since he talks like one.  Laura met a new friend this year from school.  He lives 7 minutes away by foot.  They wanted to go together this year. Another motivation for Laura to go. He was Harry Potter so the two of them looked fantastic 

We all went together and had a blast.  Jason wasn't shy for long. He would go right up and say Trick or Treat! He also remembered his manners and said thank you!!  Laura stayed out the full two hours and also had fun. I think she felt a little bad about not being able to hand out candy but I told her she will have many years for that.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

End of October 2015

Here we are at the end of October! It went by way too fast for us. Jason and Laura are thriving and learning all of the time. Jason has begun to enjoy looking at books and will sit through a story (if you read fast enough!) In the beginning of October, he went over my Dad's house for the very first time while I went to hockey. We think Laura and her cousin were more excited than he was. But he loved riding in my Dad’s car.  He made himself right at home and had zero trouble at nap time.

Laura has been doing wełl at school.  The work has been challenging and she's learning how to overcome things that are more difficult. She's called me twice for good grades from school.  Laura is still reading away - sometimes one book per night. Even though I prefer her to sleep more, as long as she is pleasant in the morning and good grades - I'm not complaining.  Finding quality time with her has been a challenge. She has homework, science club, karate, friend time, her time, time with Jason, time with Jeff and all the grandparents want her on weekends! Just making the most of our mornings and evenings sometimes are all I can do. 

Jeff has been working hard at school and home. We also need to spend time together.  We were able to see some movies together. One at the theater called The Martian.  The other two at home when the kids were away. Jeff surprised me with Chinese and two different types of cheesecake for our home movie night.  The little things sure add up!




Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Zoob sparkle toys

Laura is nine and very into design plus building.  I like to always encourage this for her and look for toys that expand her imagination. I bought Zoob sparkle for her birthday and was simply delighted. It's a set of 60 plastic devices that interlock to make anything really. 

When she unwrapped the gift, she yelled,"cool!!" All the pieces are bright and colorful. You can design anything at no limits to the imagination.  Her two year old brother also loves them and can use them but a little harder for him.  I highly recommend. She plays with them almost everyday and her birthday was weeks ago. You can find it here: 
Zoob Sparkle

Dinosaurs Roar

Jason is two and a half still has his favorites when it comes to toys.  He still loves cars, but now he's getting more into dinosaurs! He has three bigger ones and now a book. The book is excellent with pictures plus sounds.  Jason has a hard time sitting for a story. So, books that has sound effects really gets him interested. The book is from Discovery and can be found : dinosaur book

The noises are realistic and he has a blast with it.  I highly recommend.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mammograms for women with disabilities

Several women with disabilities shy away from medical care that they need not because they are careless or want to be unhealthy. The problem is the reaction to our disabilities from medical staff and how accessible the facility is for someone in a wheelchair. These challenges make an already uncomfortable situation even more so or impossible.

Two days ago I went for my mammogram at Phoenixville Hospital. My attendant accompied me because I need help undressing/dressing and dexterity activities because of cerebral palsy. I warned her that sometimes people didn't always act as professional as they should but we get through it for my health. Being a mom of a nine and two year old, I want to remain on the Earth as long as possible.

My friend babysat Jason and we went. Dealing with admissions was easy and I actually felt like I was treated like an average 40 year old woman. I told my attendant that maybe it won't be as bad as I anticipated. We were escorted to the mammogram area. There were two technicians and a pretty small waiting room. One technician came out and asked me if I could remove my armrests if needed. I answered yes.  Then she handed my attendant a cover up and showed us the dressing room.

Sadly the dressing room was the size of a closet. Maneuvering my wheelchair and attendant inside was quite comical. She assisted me as we fumbled in the space.  I managed to get out of the room with smart driving.  I waited in the waiting room again trying to keep my cerebral palsy from opening the little robe and exposing myself to the room.

They finally called me in and I took my attendant. I did as they asked, endured the pain, was held still, counted to ten. This was my third mammogram experience and felt I was still the best. But the technicians whispered and disappeared leaving my attendant and I wondering.  Then they asked me to go back to the little waiting room which now had two other women.  Once again, I struggled to hold my robe together.

The tech called me back again and said she wanted a radiologist to see if the pictures were ok. I became nervous- did they find something?  I asked if all was ok and she said I possibly moved too much.  She said I could wait or leave. I opted to wait since she thought someone could look at it in fifteen minutes.

So back to the waiting room.  Now this is the most annoying part - she came back to the waiting room and looked me but motioned to my attendant to come. I went because it's obviously my body and she said that I should stay and only needed to talk to my attendant!! I said its my body and I'm coming in. It was bizarre and surreal. Then she proceeded to talk directly to my attendant avoiding me completely. She said that the radiologist could be a few hours and they'd call me.  I was so offended over the disrespect about my body. I couldn't believe it.

Yes, apparently they do need me to get mammogram again but I refuse to go back to the hospital. I'm going to try another facility and hopefully be treated like a woman and not a child. I told my doctor about what happened and am writing the hospital.

Next week ironically I'm going to speak to future nurses about how to care for people with disabilities. I hope my talks help them understand so people are better educated.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Grocery store tales

Going to the grocery store is always an adventure. Not because of buying food, but you never know what you'll encounter. I usually go grocery shopping on Wednesday or Thursday. Whenever we pull in, we never know if we will find a suitable handicapped parking place. Even though the store has an adequate amount of handicapped places, they are often  full of cars without placards or by many hidden disability folks. I'm usually the only one ever in the grocery store with a wheelchair.

Even though I'm pretty well known in the store and my town, I still get the looks. The looks of pity, shame, surprise or questioning. Most of these looks I let go and carry on. I go grocery shopping with my attendant. I handle my grocery list on my lap and she pushes the cart and gets what I need. When my son, Jason, comes - he either walks with us or rides in the cart. It all depends on his mood and behavior. Being two, they both change in a moments notice.

Some of the comments we hear are either so ridiculous or borderline insulting. People automatically assume I'm my attendant's daughter. Or they assume I'm mentally incompetent. When either of the two occur, my attendant and I make it very clear that I'm her boss and directing her. The other week a cashier called me a kid to my attendant even though I sat there telling her what credit card to use.

When Jason comes, no one knows what to do.  He calls me mom a thousand times a store visit, climbs on me, and I talk to him like any mother would. There's no real denying he's my son so people are stuck.  So, they stare or just make comments to him.  I love when people say to him that he is a big helper as he's putting five plus packages of Oreo cookies in the cart at record speed.  Big help getting us fat, I guess.

I understand people mean well and try to do what is best. But sometimes the best thing to do is let people with disabilities just be themselves and carry on daily life. If I inspire you, great, but I really need to buy milk now!!!

B

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Pope on his way to Philadelphia

Pope Francis is on his way to Philadelphia. He will arrive in Philadelphia in 40-45 minutes. Pope Francis will be giving Mass at the Basilica of St. Peter and Paul.  The costs of his whole trip is over $385,000 starting from Cuba.  Pope Francis will be speaking at Independence Hall at 4pm. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Parking lot safety

When I was pregnant with Laura, I took an infant CPR class with my sister.  Even though I knew my physical capabilities weren't exactly there to administer CPR, I wanted to be educated enough that I could help in any way possible if a situation occurred.  I'm glad I did!

The instructor was very good and talked to me about various scenarios.  We discussed how I mainly am on the floor at home and how that in itself could help my child.  I was told that the main cause of a child not breathing was when they eat something off the floor and choke. By me being on the floor, I could see what no one else can and remove it from the child.  Prevention is the first key to safety.

I took his advice seriously. I decided that since I couldn't do all the physical attributes in parenting, I could prevent.  I try to be one step ahead at all times.  Crossing the street is one hazard that I wanted to keep them safe. 

As soon as they both could walk, me and whomever we might be with, taught them to "walk with mommy." This means to hold on to my armrest on my wheelchair and walk with me. If they can't hold on because the armrest is too hot or some other reason, they have to stand close and walk with me.  

To this day, Laura will naturally grab my armrest and walk with me.  She's almost nine. Jason is now very good at it. All I need to say is walk with mommy and he will.  He also reminds himself.

When Laura was younger, she didn't like holding anyone's hand. I like to keep things light and fun so I made up a song to make crossing the street or parking lot fun. It goes "parking lot safety, parking lot safety - we are doing parking lot safety!" It's very simple but makes a serious thing into fun.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The forty year old woman with cerebral palsy

Forty years old always sounded so old even when in my thirties. I don't know why. It is just a number and what you do within that year is important. Well, kind of. There are a few things that we have lesser control over as we age. For awhile, there was a time a long time ago, that people with cerebral palsy were fortunate if they lived past 40. This wasn't because of the actual physical disability but lack of appropriate care for the aging person.

Physically, with cerebral palsy, muscles do wear out a bit faster and muscle control does deteriorate over time. It's not immediately. I notice that things that used to be relatively easy for me to do, isn't so much.  But I'm not about to throw in the towel, sit in my wheelchair all day and give in to my body changing. I have two children who need me and a husband who loves me. I have goals to achieve and places I haven't seen yet.

Saying aloud that I'm forty is still weird. It doesn't roll off the tongue as easy as thirty. I guess eventually everything will catch up and it'll feel natural until I'm fifty. But I got to say, even though I have more to accomplish, I can say I'm happy with where I am. Two beautiful children, a husband that likes to surprise me small and big, pets, and support from friends and family. I did more than even I imagined I could.

My birthday week started with a birthday party at my sister's new house. The kids loved swimming. Jason was able to swim with Laura and my nephew.  We had a nice time.  On Monday, we went to eat at the Cheesecake Factory and then took the kids to the Please Touch museum. We all had a great time there. On Tuesday, we went to get Laura's eyes checked and new glasses. It was difficult to watch her struggle with the exam. But I'm glad she has a new prescription for her eyes.  On Wednesday, I went grocery shopping and out with Jeff. I also had a meeting that night.

My birthday 

My favorite thing in the universe is to see my children happy. I decided to take the kids to Hershey Park! The weather was perfect. Needless to say we had an awesome time. Expect to read a new blog about Please Touch and Hershey Park soon. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jason's Summer 2015

Jason turned two and a half exactly ten days ago! I'm not sure where time is flying but it sure is fast. Jason, I think, has had an extremely fun summer. In addition to fun, he has advanced greatly verbally.

Jason can now say his name, I love you, names of people he couldn't say before and speaking in sentences. He also apologizes. When someone looks tired, he'll ask, "are you tired?"  Words are just coming daily.

Laura and I are very close. But Jason has a lot of my personality and likes. For one, he loves to go places even if it's just a walk around the block. He finds humor in just about anything and he's a morning person.  He has an amazing memory for as young as he is. One thing that they both have in common is that Laura and Jason are very smart and catches onto things quick. 

Jason can recognize all of the numbers in the alphabet now.  He's a master at sleeping in his big boy bed and it takes little prompting to remind him at cleaning his toys up after nap or waking up in the morning. He does a much better job at keeping his room clean than the living room. He can wash his own hands and brush his teeth. However, he has little desire to learn how to dress himself. He knows animals and animal sounds. But he isn't always the nicest to his pets and needs reminding that they have feelings too.

Jason's favorite toys are still cars, trucks and buses.  Laura has taught him how to spot a jeep from miles away. He points them out whenever we drive or walk anywhere. Jason does like dinosaurs but vehicles are number one. He's beginning to let me read to him more and more but doesn't have time in his opinion to hear the whole thing. He rather hear the beginning and end.

Jason has a few favorite tv shows- Curious George, Sesame Street, Blaze, Paw Patrol and now Max and Ruby. He loves his iPad and not too happy when mommy or daddy takes it away. He loves You Tube Kids and watches anything car or truck related.

This summer he discovered the moon, fireflies, Hershey Park, Please Touch Museum, beach, parks and fireworks.  Laura and Jason aren't big on ice cream.  Jason had fun on our vacation to Colonial Williamsburg. He saw ducks each day. He also gained lots of courage in the pool.

Jason impresses me with how much he understands about my cerebral palsy. When I mention I need to use the bathroom, he'll jump up and open the door for me. He just does it out of the kindness of his heart. He can plug my wheelchair in and puts my footrests up or down. Jason still likes feeding me and giving me drinks. Everything I can and can't do is just natural for him. 

Jason loves Laura and now says her name correctly, He used to say Las or Des.  They are best friends and love each other very much. Laura has a lot of patience for Jason and teaches him daily.

Now we enter fall and I wonder what this will bring new to Jason!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Laura Summer 2015

Every summer, since before the start of school, goes too fast. Moments are bitter sweet because its actual time you get with your child without distraction. This summer has been great and flew by once again. Everyday Laura has impressed, challenged, and intrigued me. 

Laura has read and read. She is completing the Harry Potter series and is into Judy Blume books. She spent many nights reading away and waking up late.  I can't complain about reading too much.  

Laura has learned the game Checkers and Chess thanks to my Dad. She taught me how to play Chess. She's an excellent teacher and we enjoyed playing together.

In June, she had a free summer program about physics basically.  It was only an hour a day but she enjoyed it.  My friend saw it and I remember waiting a long time online to register her. She learned a lot!

Laura enjoyed two weeks of summer camp at Science Explorers. One week was in July about about space! She loved it and learned so much. The camp was right across my street so easy for me to pick up and drop off.  I have a signature stamp Laura could do to sign in and out. The other week was in August about the deep sea. She liked it and educated us all about brackish water, the Dead Sea and salt water. Since these were both close by, I visited her at lunch when they were outside. She was very happy.

In July, my other friend told me about Jurassic World Vacation Bible Camp. It was three half days jammed packed with games, music, and pure fun.  It was for free and she had extreme fun!

We went to Atlantic City and Ocean City. We did outside concerts and local fairs. We watched movies and stayed up late!

Last week we went to Williamsburg Virginia for a week.  Laura loved it and was sad to leave. She swam, liked seeing Colonial Williamsburg, and enjoyed the beach. She got two hermit crabs.  Laura also learned to play Boggle.

Laura has grown closer to Jason and they are great together.  She has excelled at karate every Tuesday without complaining. She is learning how to bike. 

Next week she enters the Third Grade.  I will miss her very much but am excited for new opportunities and fun that I know she will have.  Laura was close to tears the other night as I put her to bed. I asked why? She responded, "The end of the day means another fabulous day together is over and I will miss it with all of my heart." I know exactly how she feels.





Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Approved by Catholic bishop clean power plan

 Great news for the environment! The White House’s plan for clean power is a welcomed and much needed step. The chairman of the U.S. Bishops committee on domestic justice and human development couldn't agree more.

What is the clean power plan? The clean power plan sets federal limits on coal fired power plants. The Archbishop of Miami said that this is an essential step to protect all people especially children, elderly and those who have health difficulties. This plan will have a great impact in helping the environment from pollution and climate change.

The clean power plan assists in keeping with God’s plan for a healthy sound Earth for years to come. God gave us Earth as a gift to take care of and not destroy. This plan is a step in the right direction.

Power plants are the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions. The plan will set standards to lower emissions by 32 percent by the year 2030. The plan will give states ways to develop methods to obtain goals for their needs and situations.

Some say this plan is too difficult to actually work. Also, they say it will be very expensive to do.  However, the administration says that an American family can expect to save $85 a year by 2030. Besides financial benefits, there will be health improvements too by lowering premature death and help the environment.

http://www2.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/clean-power-plan-existing-power-plants

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Information on Pope Francis visit

Over a million people are expected to see Pope Francis when he comes to Philadelphia on September 26-27 that marks the closing of the World Meeting of Families. His visit here will conclude his trip to North America which includes Cuba, New York and Washington DC. He will visit Independence Hall, celebrate World Meeting of Families and Mass on the Benjamin Parkway.

The World Meeting of Families Congress was created by St. John Paul II in 1994 to understand the role of families and give an opportunity to share challenges plus blessings. The congress is made up of people from 150 countries. Their meetings will be held at the convention center in Philadelphia from September 22-25.  Up to 10,000 to 15,000 are expected for the meetings.

The Festival of Families will take place on September 26 on the Benjamin Parkway. Music especially by Andrea Bocelli, visual artists, other music artists and Pope Francis will be at the festival. 

Be prepared to walk and dress appropriately for the weather. Major cellphone carriers are organizing more cell coverage all over Center City. Free wifi will be available and charging stations. More than 3,000 porta potties will be available and 300 will be wheelchair accessible.

Handicapped seating hasn't been determined as of yet. Multiple medical areas will be around for medical emergencies.

Milk chocolate day

July 28 is milk chocolate day. Milk chocolate is eaten by the millions all over the world every single day. Ice cream, candy, pudding, milk, cake, pies and much more all can be made with the simple ingredient of milk chocolate.

Mostly everyone has heard of the Hershey bar. The Hershey bar is the fourth top selling chocolate bar in the world. Snickers is actually number one! 

Milton Hershey is the creator and created a town in Pennsylvania named Hershey. He had plants that made Hershey bars and other Hershey chocolate products. The town even smelled like sweet chocolate.

Since the time Milton Hershey designed the Hershey community, he wanted a place for employees to relax. His mother thought it was a terrible idea, but in 1903, Hershey surveyed a property.  In 1907, Hershey opened the park with a baseball game.

Did you know that a manufacturer named William Dentzel from Philadelphia made the horses for the merry go round in 1912? The carousel cost $15,000 and had an array of animals. Hershey Park has come a long way since 1907, but it remains a fun and relaxing place for families. 

Enjoy milk chocolate on July 28 and each day!

 - National milk chocolate day

Milk chocolate day

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Respect parents day

Respect parents day is on August 1. Parents need to teach and show children how to respect their parents. Unfortunately, it doesn't just come naturally when we're born. Children need guidance and can't do it alone.

Respecting parents means to listen to them, help them, and be kind. As children grow older, they try to have an identity of their own. Talking back or sass is very common especially as they enter the teenage years. 

Here are some ways to help you manage when children talk back:

Keep calm - It's easy to be mad when a child talks back or sassy to you. You automatically feel disrespected and your feelings might be hurt.  Your first response might be to yell.  Yelling is proven not to do much but escalate the problem.  Take a deep breath. Remain calm but firm. If out in public, tell your child the conversation is on pause until home or in car.

Figure out the problem - Age and hormones might be the root of sassy talk. However, there could be a bigger issue.  Dig deeper to the situation. Are they feeling hurt, alone or afraid? Are there issues with school? Any friends issues?

Explain to them acceptable ways to talk - You probably will need to repeat these steps over and over. Tell him or her the right way to talk and respect adults especially parents. Model it and practice it daily.

Carry out consequences - If you warn with a consequence, follow through or your child will learn quickly you don't believe what you say.

Praise them when they are polite!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pronto Peel

Do you have trouble turning on and off your television because of your disability?  I do.  The remote turns over as I push buttons or I can't aim it right.  It's a pain in the neck.

Jeff bought me a device with an app called Pronto Peel.  It basically turns your iPhone into a universal remote. I can turn my television on and off plus change channels and volume control. All Jeff did was plug in the Pronto and download the Peel app.  Everything is pretty easy to set up.

Now I can turn on Sesame Street for Jason and a movie for Laura.  I can do this all by myself.  No more waiting for someone to help me.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fourth of July

I played with the kids in the morning. Jeff had to work so I got up early to shower and get dressed.  Jason told me Jeff brushed his hair and teeth.  He was very proud. We looked at kohls online. We ate breakfast.  He hugged Laura when she woke up.  They played and watched Frozen.  When Laura faked a cry, "Jason said she's crying." Great sentence.

After Frozen, Laura made a party in Jason's room.  We had cookies, candy and played games.  Before the party,  I was on the phone with my mom.  They were both calling, "mom!"  So cute.

After the party, I cleaned the living room of toys.  Jason played and Laura read.  My dad took Laura out for lunch.  When Jeff came home, he cleaned the bedroom and rearranged it a bit. 

We were invited and went over Grace's house for a picnic. Jason had fun playing with twins that are three.  Jason now says, "lightening McQueen." He loves the Cars movie.

We came home. Jeff put Jason to bed and cleaned the kitchen plus did laundry.  No fireworks this year - Jason's sleepy and Laura is not home.

Hardest disability moment - not being able to help Jeff rearrange furniture 

Best disability moment - when Jason saw me put on a shirt myself over a tank top and said, "cool mommy. Cool shirt."

I love that Jason gets my disability so much. He knows it better than most and so caring. Always looking out for mommy.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A letter to Dad

In honor of Dad's everywhere that are raising a child with a disability.

A Letter to Dad

Dear Dad,

I'm sure that when you heard the news that I had a permanent physical disability that you felt scared.  What do you do? How do you operate as a parent? Parenthood is difficult enough without a disability involved. Now what?

I want to thank you for never giving up on me.  You found me in the body that just won't cooperate. You accepted, to the best of your ability, to be a dad no matter what and no excuses. You loved me when it was the easiest and the hardest.

You saw the child, and parent like the disability was just one aspect of life. It didn't mean to let me get away with everything or treat me as a baby. It meant you saw who I truly am.

Thank you for fixing my equipment whenever it broke. Helping my wheelchair look cool even when it was hard. Learning how to do hair because my hands just can't do it.

Thank you for giving me the self worth and esteem to help me live as independently as possible.  I'll never forget and strive forward no matter the challenges that awaits.

Love,
Me just who I am

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Goldfish!

Jason has been eating Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers for awhile now.   He's two years old and it is easy to say that goldfish are one of his favorite snacks. He especially likes to eat them after his nap.

On Wednesday, my attendant and I sat down to get my grocery list and coupons together for the store.  Jason wanted all of my attention that morning. I told him that I needed to work on the grocery list and to go play with his cars until we were finished. 

Jason stood up like a shock went through him and ran into the kitchen. He pointed to the counter and yelled, "goldfish!!!" It took me a second to realize that he was telling me to add goldfish to the list. We ran out of them during the weekend.

When I figured it out, we couldn't stop laughing and I was floored that he connected me saying grocery list to needing to buy goldfish! Not bad for two!  

Needless to say, Jason was a very happy boy when we were at the store and he let everyone know!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

27 months is so fun

What is Jason up to these days? Jason is learning in leaps and bounds.  I'm simply amazed with his learning and language development. He is 27 months and happy as ever.

On Saturday morning, I went in Jason's room to let Jeff get a few minutes of sleep.  I can't get him out of his crib, but I can talk to him and read. I pulled out a book with colors and read it twice.  Before I knew it, Jason was telling me that Lady was black, Lucky was white with black and pointed out pink!  He likes pointing out pink and blue.  He can tell you that Mommy and Daddy cars are blue. He also can point out orange.

He knows that he is two and says it clearly.  

I hear him call, "Mommy!"  He calls for me in the morning, throughout the day and at bed. I love hearing him say my name.  He is both a Mommy and Daddy boy.  After his nap, he knows Daddy is home and gets very excited.  

Jason still has a love of cars, trucks and buses like no one I have ever met.  He can hear a bus from any proximity and yell bus as he runs to catch a glimpse.  Jason talks about, "big trucks" and "cool cars."  He likes to line his cars up and says, “are you ready? 1-2-3 Go!" Then pushes the cars like a race. We also race on my deck.

He knows many letter sounds and can recognize the letters. These are often letters he has learned from observation. I have always sang the alphabet song to him. I also sing my own version- Apple, Apple Ah Ah Ah and so on.  Now he sings it too.

Jason is still easy to put to bed.  He'll follow you or lead the way to his crib. He naps about 2-2.5 hours and he will sleep about 10-11 hours a night. We aren't complaining!

Watching Jason and Laura grow is beyond fun and such a privilege.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Speaking for nursing school

In eighth grade, I had to give an oral presentation in my English class. My classmates were so nice looking back because I was beyond nervous. When I'm nervous my CP takes flight. I had a hard time even just answering a simple question in class.  

With CP, stress makes movements and your speech so much worse than it normally is. It's something that is very hard to control but I seem to have a handle on it after a few minutes of speaking. The funny thing is I knew I wanted to be a teacher so I needed to overcome this big problem. I think I did pretty well overcoming my nervousness.

In high school, I took a public speaking class to better myself. The teacher thought I was insane and tried to talk me out of it. I stuck with it and succeeded. That class helped me tremendously with my speaking. In college, I gave several disability awareness presentations.  I think this helped me so much as well. Then winning Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania really helped me overcome my public speaking issues.

Jeff asked me to give a disability presentation for his class.  I haven't had the best experiences with medical professionals.  I haven't been treated with much respect or dignity. So, he wanted me to go in to educate future nurses about cerebral palsy, pregnancy and tips to educate nurses. I accepted, and even though I spoke before several times, I was nervous. Speaking in front of family is scary because they know your best and have expectations.

Jeff helped me with listening to me practice and tweek my PowerPoint.  I was honored that he felt confident to ask me to speak. The last thing I wanted to do was let him down. I took Jason with me just to introduce him to the class.  I made sure we arrived early. I enjoyed seeing his school and especially him.

After everyone saw Jason and I was set up, I began to speak. At first my body was a bit spastic but quickly relaxed.  I felt in my element and an educator at heart.  I love helping people and that is why I'm a teacher in the first place. 

The students and teachers seemed to really enjoy my presentation. I could tell Jeff was happy with it.  When he came home, he took us out to dinner to celebrate my talk.

Off to find the next presentation.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Laura's First Holy Communion

Laura had her first Holy Communion on Saturday, May 2. This day was definitely beyond special to me. It might sound crazy but I love being Catholic. In a day where people are going to Church less and less, I want to go more. To see my children to get the same sweet joy that I feel about Jesus makes me overjoyed.


I wanted the day to be as perfect as it could be.  I could hardly sleep I was so excited.  My attendant worked for me that day - she normally doesn't on Saturday. She helped getting me and Laura ready before we headed to Mass. Jeff took care of Jason and they met us at Mass later.

The day was flowing with sunshine and warmth. When I saw Laura in her dress, it took my breath away. I knew that she would be beautiful but it still was more than I could possibly imagine.

We went to the Church early for pictures and I'm crazy about punctuality. My Dad met us and he had tears in his eyes when he saw Laura. I amazingly kept it together.

After a bit, I took my seat in Church.  The rest of my family came as well. I kept telling my Dad not to start getting emotional or it be all over for me.  He did pretty well, I admit.

The kids came in the church two by two - boy girl normally.  It was absolutely adorable watching them come in like that.  The service was beautiful and amazing watching her receive the Holy Communion.

Afterwards, we had a small party for her. It was really nice especially the weather held out too.  She received gifts like a Bible, Rosaries, and other figurines. I gave her a lamb, snow globe that plays Jesus Loves Me, Precious moments and a new iPad case.

Now she can receive Holy Communion with me on Sunday's and any Mass service. She looks so grown up now. Jason will be receiving his in about 6 years.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Sick day

Laura stayed home today because she had a bad stomach bug yesterday. This morning she was very white and tired.  It's not easy making these decisions but all you can do is hope it's for the best.

Laura felt better as the day went on.  She and I shared many laughs and enjoyed each other. I love the true uncontrollable laughter of a child. I love being the one making her laugh.

I ordered Chinese for lunch because that was the only thing Laura wanted to eat. She ate more and more as the day continued.  We worked on her book report and spelling assignments. 

Then she took out her games and said it was family game night. We played cards, hangman and a short version of pictionary. It was so much fun. Jason ran around with his cars.

After dinner, I felt a little achey so went to change for bed. Jeff and Laura took care of cleaning the living room and kitchen. Jeff put Jason to bed and did laundry. Showing love is all in the little things that makes the heart happy.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

Mother's Day is a beautiful day to celebrate the gift of motherhood. When I was young, I think 5, I knew I wanted to be a mom. Not being able to never crossed my mind which is funny because so many people do not realize that people with cerebral palsy can have babies.

Laura ended up spending the night at my Dad's house. When I checked my phone, my dad texted me that Laura had been sick to her stomach multiple times during the early morning hours.  He said that she was very brave and courageous.  My heart ached for her.

She was sleeping and he told me to go to Mass and he'd keep me updated. It felt extremely weird to go to Mass alone especially on Mother's Day. But Church recharges my strength batteries and very important.

After Mass, Jeff picked me up and planned to take me to breakfast. Well, every place was booked so we just went home.  I spent lots of time with Jason before Laura came home.  Unfortunately, on her way back, she got sick for the last time In my dad's car.

Laura broke my heart when she began to cry about ruining my day.  I assured her she didn't.  She gave me a card she had chosen by herself. It bought tears to my eyes.  Then she gave me card that she helped Jason make. So sweet.

Jason napped and we had Laura on the couch. I helped Jeff study and we both checked on her throughout.  She drank some water and ate dry toast.

After Jason woke up, Jeff took him to the grocery store.  He wanted to make me a special dinner, and it was.  

He came home and served me my favorites.  First was Caesar salad and then after that was lobster tail with hot butter.  I couldn't believe how good it tasted. Better than any restaurant.

Last but not least -ribs on the grill. So so delicious.  I was definitely spoiled and loved.  Laura ate chicken noodle soup. Jason loved the Caesar salad.

As Jeff cooked, he also mowed the lawn. Pretty cool. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Last slc of second grade

Today was Laura's last SLC (student lead conference) at the old school and in second grade.  They are moving to a new building in August.

Het teacher's said very positive things about Laura. She is friendly, flexible, easy going and smart. She is a bit chatty in math class and her grade slipped a little bit. But only less than a percentage point will bring it back up to a 90.

I am very happy with her school performance. She is an avid reader and very insightful. She amazes us each day. 

After the conference, we went to a book fair.  I spent a little more than planned but I don't mind buying books.  To me, that is an educational investment. 

I taught the rest of the day and got ready for a disability awareness presentation next week.

Jason can now say help please and thank you!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Go to the core and find Jesus

Sun came streaming through our bedroom window as I sighed at the clock saying it was 6:55. Our alarm went off at 7 and I didn't want to get out of bed.  I could have easily slept until 8. 

Today was the second to the last prep class. It was a fantastic year and went by too quick.  My classroom aide did a great job and we complimented each other well.  I taught first grade, and they quickly accepted me with disability and all. I love teaching. 

The rest of the day was full of family and fun.  Jeff cooked steak in the grill and it was yummy!

Before bed, we watched Grey's Anatomy. Of course, I cried my eyes out.  It bought back painful memories of Israel's death. It was sudden, unexpected and changed me and Laura forever.  Losing someone takes all your strength that all you can do is rely on Jesus because your soul is stripped to the core.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Holy Communion retreat

Jeff worked this morning so Jason and I hung out.  Laura had her First Holy Communion retreat today. Luckily, my dad could take her to it because I had to stay with Jason. My dad came over in between though and hung out in case I needed any help.

Laura had an excellent time.  They made things like a Tabernacle and tasted the bread to get an idea of what it would taste like. She said she wished she could do it again! I thank the volunteers for that.

Jason and I played a lot. He also showed off his new found language development to my dad by saying ball, apple, car, duck and more. He also says school bus, truck, helicopter, train, no way, please help.  He's getting there!

When Jason napped, I did a few things on the computer and played the Sims.  Not very productive but my mind needed a break.  Jeff mowed the lawn for the first time this year.  He didn't miss it.

Tonight we went to Wegman's grocery store.  Jason sat in a seat at a kids table and watched TV as he ate.  We were really floored when he threw out his trash without asking or prompting.  He even threw ours away.

At Lowe's, he loved exploring and running around. He'd never go too far without yelling mom or dad.  He liked climbing on the tractors and seeing what they are like.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Getting ready for the big day

Laura was very cute this morning before school. She wanted me to go over plans for Holy Communion. Her First Holy Communion is next week. She has been learning more and more this year in preparation during PREP. She has wonderful teachers too.

I told her that her great grandfather is planning to attend. Her eyes lit up, and replied, "I knew it was special, but I didn't know it was that special!" Laura was definitely excited.  I explained receiving Jesus is more special than we can ever comprehend.

I'm also excited for her. I got up before six to order the party food. I bought her dress and shoes weeks ago, and a few special gifts.  I can remember sitting in Mass when Laura was two and my grandfather told me that it wouldn't be long until she received.  It seemed like so long until then but now it seems much too short.

This week I'll be running lists in my head to make sure everything will go smoothly and most importantly, she's happy.  I'll try to contain myself seeing that sweet girl wearing white and having her first moment of receiving Jesus.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Play dates are fun

It was an exciting day at our house for Laura. Her friend came over for a play date in the afternoon.  They have been friends since kindergarten.  We love the story that Laura told us was that they bonked heads on the playground.  They've been pretty much best friends ever since.

I taught Prep first and Laura had her class.  Then we went to breakfast with my dad. Laura was getting anxious that we would be late getting home, but we weren't. 

He was here right on time. They did very well, and had a great time together. Jason tagged along too after his nap.  They had so much fun that her friend didn't want to leave. Definitely a good sign and looking forward to more play dates. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Being a mommy...

My disability does not get in the way of my mothering.  When I think about my children, cerebral palsy is the least thing I think about. Sure, I feel little jabs of, "oh, I wish I could help with....'" but all parents feel that way.  It's like my disability fades away when we are together and I'm simply, "mom."

Jason is the perfect example of this.  He's only two but knows just about everything I can and cannot do for him. He also knows what I can and can't do for myself.  If I'm without a drink, he'll find one. He'll tell someone I need food and where my plate goes so I can reach it.  He will feed me without question and pick up dishes.  All of this just seems natural flow and not a word needs said. 

Jason knows what I say and takes it seriously. To him, I'm mommy and that's all there is needed. Others might change him, bathe him etc but Jason knows I'll always support him and make sure everything that needs to happen does happen.

Today, at yoga and toddler time, Jason must've said my name thirty times.  Everyone knew I was his mom.  He likes to stand on my footrest and hug me (and steal my phone sometimes.) He makes me feel so good and like I'm doing a good job.

Laura tells me often that I'm the best mom in the world.  Whenever I hear these things, I know my disability is just a part of life. It doesn't hold anyone back unless you allow it to.  Embrace being who you are and others will follow.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cinderella

When I was little, I believed in kindness, love for each other and romance. I think this is just things that God created me to have.  Unfortunately, I witnessed too many unkind things that I'd even like to forget. However, I haven't given up on kindness.

The movie, Cinderella, has tapped into a piece of my childhood.  Courage and kindness.  People say that I'm courageous, but to me, I'm just living my life. Courageous is helping others in the most dire or difficult circumstances.  I had to tap into my courage though several times, but I think we all do at some point or the other.

Cinderella showed not only kindness but grace. Her life wasn't wrapped around her looks or possessions. She wanted people and all living creatures to be happy and comfortable.  Cinderella constantly put her own happiness on hold for the sake of others.  She is a true role model and a rare find in any movie.

Of course, the romance just makes your heart glow.  I couldn't stop smiling even if I wanted to (which I didn't.) Many ladies like the idea of looking beautiful and have the love of her life appreciate her.  I think it's just human nature and the movie successfully conjures up those feelings in each of us like it's actually happening to you.

One of the greatest thing I adored in Cinderella is that the prince didn't fall in love with her because of her appearance. He fell in love with her spirit and personality.  He didn't care about how much money she had or other material things. He loved her for just being her.

Forgiveness.  Cinderella forgave and forgave.  That is a powerful quality in a person to possess.  In a world that is cold and unforgiving, forgiveness goes a long way.  To forgive someone is to free your soul as the other person.

I obviously can't say enough about this beautiful movie. Please go see it in the theater and let the warm story surround you.  It's definitely worth watching and experiencing.

Monday, March 23, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

Childhood is a second in our lifetime. I owe a lot to my parents, but my childhood wasn't the easiest.  At an early age, I knew how I would raise my children, and I do my best I can to accomplish this goal.

I try to make every holiday special. On St. Patrick's Day, I had the Leprechaun visit Laura with something small.  Nothing big or expensive. I thought her reaction was adorable.  So, every year, the leprechaun comes.

Laura always writes notes, and she wrote a note expressing gratitude and said she liked him or her for coming.  This year he gave her a book.  He gave Jason a neat truck/car set.  Jason didn't quite get the whole Leprechaun theme but he certainly enjoyed his gift.

I love being their mom and I know it won't last forever, but as long as I can, I will do the best I can.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Report card time

I can't say enough about Laura's school. I'm very happy we choose to send her there. She goes to a charter school and it's challenging yet cater to each student's strengths and weaknesses.  They are the number one charter school in Pennsylvania and we are so glad they are only a few minutes away.

Laura received all E's which is their equivalent to all A's. What I like about her report cards is that they give details in each subject about her successes and what she needs to improve on.  The only negative was that she needs to participate more in classes.  Not bad at all. 

But what really gets me excited is reading how helpful she is in multiple classes.  I read she helps other students, helps the teacher and helps clean the classroom.  I read how kind she is and she follows rules and directions.  She respects others and herself.

Excellent grades are always great, but someone with real integrity, kindness and genuine respect is so much more.  I'm blessed that she's not only my daughter, but my friend.


Jason coming out of his shell

 Jason is a very fun, outgoing guy at home. But when you went out in public, he would rarely smile or talk to anyone. Slowly, he's been coming out of his shell by giving people a high five, answering yes, and a smile.

The last week or so something changed, and I find it truly amazing as he unfolds. On his family birthday party, Jason greeted guests by saying Hi and sharing his toys.  He didn't mind sharing and was generous. He even gave people his beloved balloons to hold.

Then I noticed the next day, Jason saying Hi to people as we walked by. I always try to give a passerby a smile and a hello. I think it rubbed off.  I love that it takes people totally off guard that this little boy is saying "Hi" to them. 

Yesterday, at play group, he was very confident. Jason walked right into the room and played.  He used to just play in the general area that I sat, but he actually went across the room and played with other kids.  It was so cute and he wasn't scared when he couldn't find me right away even though I was watching him the entire time.

After cleaning up all of the toys, the librarian sings songs and reads a book. Jason has been doing the song, "shake it," pretty well for a few months.  But the other songs, it was touch and go.  Well, to our surprise, he did all the moves to all of the songs.  So, so precious.

He had yoga today where he preceded to say Hi to each child. This victory was annoying to other parents.  Jason was much more into talking to the kids then participating in class so we left a bit early.

Jason still loves buses.  He has since the beginning of the school year when he saw buses out the window.  Now when he sees a bus, he will say, "Hi bus!"  As they pull away, we hear "bye bus!"

Every new word, every new move and every new challenge met - I just want to bottle up.  Simply amazing. 


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Story time

I have been taking Jason to story time since he's been one.  It's been fascinating watching him develop confidence and learning new things. He has come a long way since the first time. 

Jason used to cling to us and get scared over everything. Now he plays, and knows most of the songs.  I love when he says, "mom, look'" whenever he's proud of what he is doing.  I'll never get tired of it.

Jason goes to about 5 classes a week and loves it. He will run up to me and hug. Then he will run to my friend and back again.  Jason loves the music and dancing.  He's not a fan of sitting through a story though or into the crafts just yet.

I'm so grateful to have a library so close with so many free programs for children.  Laura loved it too when she was a toddler.  We have been taking him to yoga too but he's the youngest one.  He doesn't quite get everything yet but he is catching on. I think it's wonderful that they have such programs. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Parent tip savoring the moments

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about the future.  At the library today I caught myself thinking, "I can't wait until Jason likes to sit through stories. Then I thought that it's silly to wish those things because it will come in its own time.  Why wish childhood away?

Each age has new challenges but also beautiful moments.  Time is something we can't control and we can't hit rewind. Although I'd love to go back to talk to Laura again at three or experience Jason's first laugh.  It's impossible.

So all we have is to live in each moment like it is our last. Don't rush growing up because it'll happen all on its own.  Our job as parents is to make each day as happy as we can.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Jason is two

Jason is now two! I call it the terrific two instead of the terrible two. Why make it so negative?  

On his birthday, we went to the grocery store and I got him a balloon with the movie characters from Cars on it.  I never saw him so happy with a balloon! He stared at it and said, "mom, look!" 

Jason loves the Cars characters and show. It's neat to see that he recognizes pictures of characters now.  I just love seeing him learn, say and do new things.

We had a small party with our neighbors because they won't be able to attend his big party. We also gave him our presents. He was so funny when we did birthday cake. He couldn't figure out when we turned off the lights and started singing.  He went from confused to scared to happy in a matter of a few seconds.

Jason's favorite toys came from my neighbors.  They were sunglasses and a set of rescue vehicles.  Jason loves cars and trucks so this was right up his alley.

Jason is growing to be a fun and smart little guy. He is helpful, caring and courageous.  He's 27 pounds and 33in. 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Spelling test tip for parents

Laura started having spelling tests in Kindergarten. As soon as she received her words, we study. Here are some tips you can use to make it fun and educational.  In all three years, she has received A's except four times.

Review each night.
Have the child spell the words orally but on the night before the test, have them write it out like the actual test.
Have them act out the words.
Make up siłly sentences to remember the spelling.
Make up songs to the spelling words.

Check out the web for other ideas!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cold weather tip for people with cerebral palsy

I have athetoid cerebral palsy and my muscles do not like the cold weather.  Living in Eastern Pennsylvania, this winter has been very difficult. My legs go stiff as a board when I go outside and my arm has spasms. Some people might feel as if this isn't a big deal at all. But what they don't understand is its hard to get muscles back.

Don't be foolish by being unnecessarily cold because you want to be normal. Bundle up, use gloves or mittens if your hands won't allow gloves. Get a poncho.  You can get stylish ones so you don't look like a tent.  Wear uggs. Honestly, they are the best for cold feet. Have someone warm up your car or van for you.  Use heating pads or electric blankets.

I always take my kids out to the bus.  However, in this severe cold, I have a friend take her or my attendent will walk her to the bus.  I'm only on this Earth for a set time. Might as well make it last. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Parents with CP tip - Use your tilt

The tilt function on a motorized wheelchair is great for a million reasons. But for a mom with a disability, tilt is an awesome tool. Both of my children have benefited from my tilt function making all of us just a bit more independent. 

When my son was two years old, he became fascinated when I tilted my wheelchair back. I let him stand on my footrests and will say, “up!” I slowly tilt my wheelchair as I have a firm hold on him with my knees.  I never go too high and go down. At two, he liked it simply for the fun of it and being with me. Also, he learned up and down plus how to ask questions.

Now that he is three, he uses tilt for more functional purposes than just entertainment. For example, when he wants to get something off of the table or counter, he will come and ask me to help him. He gets on, I tilt enough so he can reach the item and lower him down.  It makes him happy to be able to get what he wants and me happy to help him.

If my daughter is unable to reach something in the refrigerator, I can also help her by this tilting function. I absolutely love to assist my children as best as I can so things like tilt help make that a reality.

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...