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!

On being thankful...

Each November I try to write on Facebook some of the many reasons I am thankful. This November started out with a bang. So far it went like ...