Showing posts from 2014

My heart just skipped a beat

I was in the middle of a job application that asked you to fill a portion on disabilities. I scrolled quickly past then stopped and scrolled back up... My heart skipped a beat, or maybe it stopped, but I'm pretty sure I'm having palpitations currently. Do you see what I see? ___________________________________________________________ You are considered to have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or if you have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition. Disabilities include, but are not limited to: BlindnessDeafnessCancerDiabetesEpilepsyAutismCerebral palsyHIV/AIDSSchizophreniaMuscular dystrophyBipolar disorderMajor depressionMultiple Sclerosis (MS)Missing limbs or partially missing limbsPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)Obsessive compulsive disorderImpairments requiring the use of a wheelchairIntellectual disability (previously called mental retardation)
I'm n…

The birth of little Bella

While planning the fall kindergarten party, I met a lovely woman named Amy. Here's her story of how "little Bella" came to life...

"Meet Bella. My son, Samuel, met her this year in Kindergarten and he just adores her (so do I....LOOK at her!)Coincidentally, shortly after I made my first doll with a limb difference, Sarah (Bella's mom) and I were put on a fall party committee together. I don't believe in fate, but the timing was pretty amazing!!!
Samuel has been begging me to make Bella a doll, so Sarah and I decided that she'd have one by the time Bella went to Camp No Limits in January. Unbeknownst to Sarah, her neighbor Sherry (whom I also know) contacted me to make a surprise doll for Bella. Tonight, Sherry and her daughter played Santa Claus (because they couldn't wait any longer) and gave Bella a doll that looks just like her (hand and all  ) Introducing Little Bella...I have been dying to post these pictures of her doll, but I figured that Sarah …


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 immediate…

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 sa…

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 peo…

"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…

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…


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 f…

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

Camp Re-cap

I didn't post all the pictures from Camp No Limits last January. Life and these kids make putting pictures into albums almost impossible. Here is our album that's now on it's way to us... almost 9 months later. :) Enjoy!
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And so it begins...

Bella asked me to talk with her class. So the next day, I emailed her teacher. She was right on board and welcomed me to come to class THE NEXT DAY. As a mother, with my first child, who happens to be a beautiful girl, who happens to be smart and kind hearted, who just so happened to be born a little different, I'm learning as I go. Even with the second kid and the third one, I'm still learning. Being a parent is no joke! The pay is not in cash money but in hugs, tears and kisses instead. I'm learning, I'm growing, she's learning and growing too. One thing is for sure, we are all in this together, united we stand.

Today, I braved the crowd of twenty-something kindergarteners and one teacher (who has been doing this for 20+ years). I was nervous, my stomach hurt, my heart ached. Would I say the right things? Would they understand what I was telling them? Would they understand her difference and her abilities? I hoped, I prayed, I crossed my fingers and I went for it…

Kindergarten day one

The first day went off without a hiccup. Ryan, Grayson, Luca and I took Bella to school and walked her down the hall and into her class. As her mom, I could tell she was nervous.

"Hold my hand!"
"Hold my hand TIGHTER!"
She walked into the school hand in hand with Daddy and Grayson and I carried Luca. She was dressed in a beautiful outfit her Tutu bought that had a bright yellow tutu and a white top with ruffles on the sleeves and a big bright flower on the front, her hair in pigtails. Where had our baby gone? Who was this big girl walking into school?
We walked into the classroom and got settled. Unloaded her backpack and hung it on her hook, sat the treats for the class on the table and got her situated in her seat with the other 3 littles waiting at her table. We kissed her goodbye...
"Wait I need to go potty!" "Come in here with me!" "Adults can't come into the kid bathroom, we'll wait right here for you and we won't leave&qu…

Starting Kindergarten

In less than a week, our baby girl, will be starting kindergarten. How is that even possible? We've been super busy since we came home from camp and quite honestly, it's hard to even shower some days with 3 little kids. We've been running and exploring non-stop! It's been a fantastic summer and we have no complaints. The weather was perfect, a great mix of hot days and cool nights. We've gone to Ryan's families cottage as many times as we possibly can and we've lived it up for sure! Our fire pit that was built last year was put to use plenty of times.

Tonight was open house night at school. Bella was nervous, which is completely the opposite of her typical personality. It's weird to see her like that and it takes some time for me to figure out how to respond.  I held her left hand and she reached her right hand across to hold my hand tightly, either that or daddy and I each had a hand. I think she's like me, nervous to start a new adventure but exc…


Camp No Limits came and went. It seemed like we worked hard to raise funds and we waited all year to go and then it was here and in a flash it was over. I first want to thank so many of you that donated so we could meet our goal of going to camp. I must admit, I was sad to see it all end. In a matter of four short days, these children and their families became an extension of our family. They became a community we can reach out to for whatever we might need or have questions about. I'm hoping to make a photo album soon of our adventures so that she can look back on all the joys that those four short days brought her and our family.
This is a pivitol year for Bella, with people teasing her at the playground this summer, her asking all sorts of questions, us trying to learn how best to help her and her trying to learn and embrace so many new tasks. Ahhh the life of a four year old and all that it brings! I think it was important to go and for her to see there are other kids like her …

Our experience at Shriner's

(At soccer practice)
We had our first appointment at Shriner's in Chicago on December 20th. I was super emotional prior to our visit and had a hard time blogging because every time I sat down in the days before our appointment to blog , I would cry. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I can be an emotional person, especially when it comes to something that involves my children. I felt like we were going to Shriner's to modify Bella and in our eyes, she's already perfect. I'm thankful for the Lucky Fin Project and the many other resources in the limb difference community. After talking with some of the other parents and the limb different adults, they put it in a different light. They said not to think about modifying her to make her different or better but to think of it as giving her a tool to make her life easier if she chose a prosthetic. Shriner's was amazing! I think they fed all of their employees happy shots before they started their shift. E…