Monday, November 17, 2014

Family


Being a part of the limb different community is nothing short of incredible. Of course it's scary when you first find out as a parent that your child has a limb difference. I've written before about the many emotions that I felt. It's like a tidal wave, ups and downs initially. Then you reach out for guidance, for support and get scooped up by the many families who have children with limb differences and adults that have limb differences that are making a difference in the lives of children.

When Bella was a few years old, a mom named Stacy reached out to me. She and her husband Jon were pregnant with a son who would be born with a limb difference. His name is Logan. We've emailed back and forth and became friends on Facebook. I feel like I know their family. On Friday, we got a package in the mail from their family, a shirt in Bella's favorite color, a card with adorable little owls and a handwritten note from Stacy and money for us to go to Camp. Bella immediately had to wear the shirt and sported it all over town. The note is in her purse. This is just one of the many examples of our community. I hope that someday we'll get to meet their sweet little family. For now, I stalk their Facebook for pictures of their wide-eyed smiley guy. He reminds me a bit of Grayson with his giant eyes, I love it! They just so happen to live in North Carolina, a place that Ryan and I have never been. Maybe there will be a vacation sometime in our future to meet the three of them!

I'm here to support our community in any way that I can. I've talked to several moms on the phone about our experiences and Bella. If it helps them, it's worth it. It's a small difference that I hope to make in our community of children with limb differences. For now, I hope that we have a new pen pal. Snail mail is the best! I guess you could say I'm a tiny bit old fashioned :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Family Tradition

A little family tradition that we started at dinner time is "best part of the day". As parents we all know that there are rough days and kids have rough days too. This reminds us all to think of the highlights of our day instead of the negative. This brings the focus back to the good! I love it. When we are all sitting around the dinner table someone starts it "Best part of the day ____, GO!" and the person who's name is in the blank starts with their favorite part of the day. We do this, until our whole table has had a chance to have a turn. We even include Luca even though he's not fully able to verbalize, he laughs or does something silly and then we respond with "oh that's great" or "oh that sounds like a great day" then giggles start from the other kids because we all know that no one has any idea what he said.

Sometimes we can't think of one best part and have a few! Other times when someone is really thinking, we'll say something like "what about doing ___?" then they say something about that not being it and fill in the blank with something else. It takes the focus off of people not eating or throwing food and onto something fun instead. It's something the kids and our family look forward to each evening. It gives us a chance to really hear what's important to them. Often times I think they'll say one thing and they pick something completely different. It's a fun way to get to know what they love most and what matters to them, it really allows their personality to shine through. It also allows us as parents to think about how different they each are and what makes them tick.

Last night, I sat on the couch after working. All of the kids were fast asleep (that's the toughest part about having long shifts, missing them all day). Ryan was watching TV. He stopped the TV as I was working on homework and said "Best part of the day, GO!" and I told him finishing my paper before work. It brought a conversation about me going to school and my grades and such. His favorite part of his day was picking up the kids and making a great dinner. In the midst of the madness of our life, it was nice to take a little break and think of the good. I encourage you to take time to think about the best parts of your day!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I just emailed Miss Iowa

There was a post by Molly, the mom that started the Lucky Fin Project, about Miss Iowa coming to Wisconsin. Nicole Kelly is a beautiful example of what all women should be, smart, beautiful and confident. I think all girls should have someone that they can look up to as a role model. Bella is blessed to have so many positive role models in her life! The thing that I've found about the limb difference community is that all of the girls and women older than Bella are happy to guide and help her in any way that they can. To describe it as amazing would be an understatement. To have girls and women that are like her is important. They know how to do things that I can't teach her, like tie shoes or button buttons. They also know how to teach her how to deal with the tough situations, the questions, the curiosity. I can guide her in all of these situations but since I was born with both hands there are just some things that I don't know how exactly to guide her. Having these people in our lives is important.

So I emailed Nicole and asked her to come to speak to Bella's school or to have dinner with us. I would LOVE the opportunity for Bella to meet yet another incredible role model. Nicole is on a mission to speak to schools and help them grow and learn. This is a tremendous thing for her to do. To go on a "stage" in front of little curious children, full of curiosity, full of questions, full of excitement. I have no doubt that they can be greatly impacted by her. She has the ability to shape and influence these kids in a great way. To show them to be confident, to go in the direction of their dreams, to be kind and understanding. I'm hoping Bella gets to witness first hand what Miss Kelly has to offer!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Mom, what kinds of kids did you take care of today?"


I got off work yesterday and Bella came running down the hall and jumped into my arms. She had already been in bed and came out to greet me. I had a rough day at work and this just made the entire day melt away in my mind. Nothing else seemed to matter except this 5 year old who's arms were around my neck and legs were around my body. Her body was pressed to mine like a big koala bear. My day floated away and I soaked in this moment. She asked me to come cuddle her in her room. Usually I'm hungry and exhausted, last night, I needed that moment with my girl.

I carried her "like a tiny baby" as she requested and plopped her back into bed. I covered her up then snuggled in next to her. As I snuggled next to her she asked "Mom what kinds of kids did you take care of today?" I proceeded to tell her a little bit about my day. We talked about what we in the pediatric nursing world call "special needs" kids. I explained that some kids I take care of can't talk or walk. She said "Mom there's a girl at my school that's like that, she's in a wheelchair and doesn't talk". We'll call her Kyra.

"Mom, I know a girl at school named Kyra and she's like those kids. Do you talk to them?"

"Yep I talk to them but they don't talk back. Sometimes they laugh or smile or even giggle.  You can still talk to them and smile at them even if they don't talk." I told her.

"Yeah I sometimes I say Hi Kyra. She doesn't smile or do anything she just sits in her wheelchair" Bella replied.

"Well that's really nice honey. She may not smile but I'm sure she hears you and that probably makes her happy to have you talking to her."

"Mama, when I grow up I want to be a nurse like you and take care of kids. I want to work at the same exact place as you. We can go to lunch together and ride to work together. We can have the same days off and do things together on our days off.

"Well that would be awesome. I would love working with you and having you take care of kids with me!"

It's moments like these, when your kids have your full attention and are asking what seem like simple questions that you should take full advantage of. Yes, I was hungry. Yes, I was exhausted. All that mattered in that moment was my daughter and the questions and excitement that filled her mind. It's times like these that I get to teach her about my life outside of my most important job, motherhood. I'm a pediatric nurse and was long before she came into my life. Nursing is a passion that I love and adore and I can't imagine who I am or what I would be without it. I'm glad I get to teach her why I work and what I do. I'm glad she has questions and I'm able to answer them. I want her to spread her wings and grow into something she loves and is passionate about. 

Baby girl, I hope your life is full beyond measure with love and passion! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Online fundraisers

We have several online fundraisers going on currently. We decided now is a great time of year to do fundraisers so that you can buy your Christmas and birthday gifts now and part of the profit will come back to us to help Bella get to Camp No Limits once again!

I was a wedding crasher at Steph's wedding, not really but it's a long story! She offered Jamberry to help us raise funds and keep your nails looking great. Buy 3 get 1 free!

My friend from years ago, Stephanie offered up her business. Silpada is beautiful .925 sterling silver jewelry. This is her direct link for our fundraiser. Silpada

My friend, TMI Amy offered to help you become addicted to essential oils. Young Living is the brand of oils I use for our family. I'm continuing to learn how to use them properly and Amy is an incredible resource! You should see her oils collection, it's pretty impressive! Each premium kit purchase gives us $10 for camp. Use think link and email me to let me know you ordered so I can tell Amy to receive our $10! My email is sarahzizzo@hotmail.com or bellacampfund@hotmail.com

Angela is someone I've never met in person but helped us get pregnant with Bella, I'll spare you the details! She was one of the first people to know that Bella was conceived. She's also a Norwex rep and has offered to help you become healthy and chemical free. Follow the link and enter Sarah Zizzo when prompted. Chemical free cleaning

Think about your family, your friends, your coworkers, bosses, all of the people in your life with upcoming birthdays... Think Christmas, get that shopping done early. Help us reach our goal of attending Camp No Limits again this year and continue to raise awareness about limb differences in the process! If these products aren't of interest but supporting us is, follow the paypal link to donate directly. We appreciate your love and support!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Siblings

In one of the limb difference groups we are a part of, a mom posted this:

"I felt like adding a discussion post of the siblings of limb differences. The awesome kids who may lead the way and very protective of younger kids with limb differences or admire the older siblings who are different. Then the challenges of creating balance of fair between the normal and limb different siblings. For example my youngest daughter gets more attention at times and she is very limited in amusement parks. Then I am sure in the future she will attend special camps and conventions to meet kids like her. Then have more specialized extracurricular activities for balance, flexibility, confidence and strength.

Is it weird to seperate kids based on abilities? The boys go on fun amusement parks, get bikes early, and play a wider variety of sports while their sister is left out. Then she goes across country, go to camps, and enjoy specialized extracurricular activities that I will likely deny the boys for cost reason"

My response was this:
"I think it's also important to recognize the siblings. I also think it's important to recognize that each child is different whether or not they have a visible difference! My youngest son loves balls and being outdoors. My middle son loves baseball and playing catch. My daughter (who has a limb difference) loves arts and crafts and prefers to be inside. Embrace them all for their differences! As for camp, we all go as a family. It's important for the siblings to be supportive and get an opportunity to see all different kids and met other sibs of limb different kids."

I thought more about this post all day. I couldn't shake it for some reason. Is my daughter "limited"? In my opinion, she anything but limited! Does she have to adapt, you bet! We all adapt in different situations that are new or uncomfortable to us. I always wondered how my brother and I were so different when we were raised in the same house, with the same parents and the same rules... then I had my own children. From get go, they were SO different! I learned as I had each baby, that you have to adapt to each child. You must figure out what works for THAT baby! It was like starting all over each time, hell I was starting all over each time! 

Bella is independent, strong and stubborn. She falls and hurts herself and she pushes you away (she's just like I was as a child!) She's strong willed and has her opinions. Her style is very unique. She's picky about how things feel on her body, how socks lie across her toes and how waistbands feel on her belly. She's a leggings girl all the way, she hates wearing shoes and would rather be barefoot. She loves arts and crafts and being indoors. She's quick to make new friends anywhere she goes. This girl could run on no sleep for days, I'm pretty sure she did as a baby :/ 

Grayson is hot or cold. He is a lover, a "nuggler" and desires to be curled up in your arms. He loves being outside and playing catch. He's easy going with his clothes and will wear almost anything. He loves wearing shoes and zip up hoodies. He's quiet and is timid to put himself out there to meet new people. He can go from happy to ticked in 2 seconds flat. He's NOT a morning person at all. He's a master sleeper. He loves dance parties.

Luca is a circus animal. He will walk into a wall and not even realize he did it! He loves to be naked. He loves to kiss and also loves to hit. He'll play with any kind of ball and has a heck of a throw. He's a wild toddler, a climber, no fear at all. He loves to read books and be dirty... really dirty! He's a fickle sleeper to this day. 

My point with all of this? My kids are all very different. Bella's limb difference does NOT define her even though it is part of her. Each child should be embraced for their differences and those differences should be celebrated. We don't treat her different because of her limb difference. We treat her different because different things make her tick.

As for camps and activities, Camp No Limits is a family affair, at least for now. The boys don't have a choice in that one. It's a good opportunity for them to see other limb different kids and adults, to ask questions about differences, to be exposed to siblings of limb different children and it's a fun vacation with great people! There will be times in their lives when they do go to different camps due to their different interests. There will also be times in life when we all go to camps together to have a vacation or show support of one of our family members. For us, each of our children will be treated different. Not due to their physical appearance but due to their needs, whether that is physical, mental or emotional. As for sports, so far Bella likes to talk too much and isn't into sports yet. We've given her the opportunity and she's been part of the parks and rec soccer program, it just wasn't her thing. We are all about exposing our children to a variety of things so they can explore what makes them happy. As for this mom asking about amusement parks, I have a strong sense that their daughter will have fun even if she doesn't get to ride all of the rides! Maybe she won't even like the rides! It's hard to say because she's so young. 

As for us and our family, parenting each child is different. We treat them with love and support no matter what. We will also teach them to be supportive of each other's hopes, goals and desires. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Our first ONLINE fundraiser!

This is the first of MANY online fundraisers to come. Think of Christmas, think of teachers, wives, mothers, friends, sisters, daughter, cousins, aunts, nieces, all of those important ladies and girls in your life! My friend Steph is doing very well with Jamberry and graciously offered a percentage to give back to Bella's Camp No Limits fund.

This is your opportunity to purchase things that you want or need and give back to Bella as well!

Bella's Online Jamberry Party