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Showing posts from 2016

Gloves, the struggle is real

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Every year for winter, Bella struggles with gloves. I usually flip the glove inside out, sew the fingers closed, then cut the fingers off and she wears the glove as best she can... in years past, it consistently falls off. We put it back on, it falls off, we put it back on... and so it goes. It's a constant struggle but something she's never truly complained about until this year.

This year has been a bit different. It's bitter cold here this week. Like, my car said 1 degree but with the wind chill its -26, yes NEGATIVE 26. I mean that's cold! You need gloves, no question about it. With or without a hand, you need both limbs covered. Heck, you need your whole body covered and properly geared. Grayson's poor nose and cheeks, the only thing that's been exposed, has wind burn from the cold.

Us two handed folks take for granted that our wrist actually holds our glove in place. While Bella has movement in her left wrist, there's no real definition between the …

First there was us...

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Before there was Bella.... or Grayson.... or Luca. There was us... just us. It's easy as parents to get into the swing of things and completely side track your love or even like for one another. You get caught up in dirty floors, dirty faces, laundry, dishes, meals, Girl Scouts, guitar lessons, homework and well... life. You forget about blogs, about writing thank you notes, about handwritten cards, your passions... you also forget to really take the time to nurture your relationship. It ebs and flows.
Sometimes we go through life not taking the time to really embrace the one that started it all with us. Sometimes we reconnect on a date night or on the dance floor. Most times, you arms are filled with your children and not your spouse. It's easy to kind of just let life take over. Date nights become less of a priority and surviving is your only priority at times, especially with three young kids and a dog.

This past week, we reconnected... in a big way and NO we didn't m…

Sadness

I don't post about politics or religion, it's pretty much irrelevant to our cause for this blog. This blog initially started as a way to educate others about limb differences and help raise funds for Bella and our family to go to Camp No Limits. Today, this all still holds true. Education creates power.

Today my goal is still to educate and help raise funds for Bella and our family to go to Camp No Limits. I've been given the incredible job as a pediatric nursing professor and course lead for pediatrics. I love my job. Like really love it. I love my students and my colleagues. I love the knowledge that they share with me and the collaboration that occurs daily.

Today, I'm bringing politics into this blog... I won't brag or trash either candidate. Today, I will tell you that I'm sad. I'm sad that this election has caused riots. I'm sad protesting is occurring in our cities across the united states. I'm sad that my children are hearing about these h…

Be still my heart...

*this was saved and never posted*

It's bittersweet when school starts. It's a love hate thing for me. I see Bella's excitement to see her friends again. Our family runs on routine. We ALL do much better when things are well planned and we have a schedule. Heck, we even merged our calendars and started using google calendars to keep track of everything. I like knowing whats coming next and how I can be prepared. It helps to keep me from losing my $hit!

We've been talking up starting school for the last few weeks. After all, it is Grayson's first year in school. I can't believe my little lover is ready for school! It's bitter sweet for sure. He's such a love bug, he's kind and considerate. He's sweet and sincere. He's the best "finder" on the planet, you lose it, he'll find it... quickly! He loves dirt and worms. He LOVES wolves and is passionate about learning all that he can about them. He is the baby that mended my broken hear…

Homemade DIY shampoo

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If you don't know us well, I'll let you in on some insight. We are a little bit crunchy and hippie. We cloth diapered all 3 of our kids. We now use the old cloth diaper prefolds for rags in the garage or when camping. We make our own laundry detergent, we use essential oils, we made our own version of Vicks, we mostly buy used clothes for the kids, we religiously recycle, homemade beard oil. ... yeah the list goes on. We try to do our part to make the environment a better place for all of us. We've been using this for about a year. Ryan and the boys love it. Bella and I had some greasiness at first. We've once again started the whole family on this shampoo due to the lice incident. Research says lice don't like peppermint or tea tree.

Here's our recipe
– ¼ cup of distilled water,
– ¼ cup of Castile Soap (in liquid form and be sure it's UNSCENTED)
– 2 teaspoons of jojoba oil,
– 1/8 of teaspoon of peppermint oil, and
– 1/8 of teaspoon of tea tree oil.

Instruc…

Are you ready to itch?

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A few weeks ago we had head lice at our house... as in we, I mean Bella. I was pulling her blond hair into a ponytail and noticed a few little sesame seed looking things in her hair. Immediately I knew what it was... cue the itching, the scratching, the panicking!
No nits were present, just the lice. I picked the 5 lice out of her hair then proceeded to treat her head. Poor babe! It took over an hour. Ten minutes of treatment time followed by an hour of combing every single hair with the teeny tiny comb that came with our kit. Not our idea of a good Monday.


These are not my pictures but rest assured I took about 10 pictures and sent them to my pediatric nurse friends. I can tell you now that they were all itching and scratching when the text came through. They tried to calm my frazzled nerves but I can tell you now, I'd rather have a yeast infection than head lice at my house. (Yes you read that right! TMI maybe but oh so true!)
Yes we did about 10 loads of laundry on hot. We w…

Perfectly flawed

My aunt posted about missing my grandmother. She died what seems like many years ago... before I had kids. She had ALS. It's a horrific disease. My aunt said she was "perfectly flawed". It made me think about myself and about my kids.

When I went to visit my sister in law before Bella ever started daycare, another mom came in to pick up her son. She said "he was born with a cleft lip, it's not like missing a hand or foot something." I remember my heart sinking as I nursed my little 6 pound love bug under a nursing cover. I don't remember the specifics of what happened but I do know that although Bella has an obvious limb difference, it's by no means a flaw in my eyes.

Bella is perfect. She has flaws just like EVERY SINGLE PERSON on this plant. Some of them have yet to be discovered I'm sure.  I'm her mother and I am not here to put them on the internet... what I will put out here are my flaws. Some of my flaws are also my strengths... one ex…

Life and madness

This life is a crazy life but it's our life and I wouldn't trade it for the world...

I'm sitting at our kitchen table trying to work. I'm surrounded by half-eaten bowls of cereal, a reading journal, play doh, a number of water cups, a cereal box, tiny shoes, messy walls and sight words to name a few. I'm also surrounded by this computer, a pediatric textbook (that's a mere 2046 pages), a binder full of exams, printed off powerpoints, highlighters, pens, post its, a flash drive, my cell phone and a purse.

Today was busy as are most days. I did 4 loads of laundry without rewashing a single one (Can I get an Amen?!). I met with a student. I met with another mom. I met with a teacher at our child's school. I went to recess with Bella and Grayson. I heard a secret from one little girl about how Grayson told her that he loved her so much he could kiss her (help me God!). I laughed... and I've almost cried.

I'm a full time working mama. My days are filled …

Facebook depression

I teach a growth and development class for the college where I work. I love love love my job. It makes me feel proud. Proud that I get to shape these individuals into better students, into future nurses, proud that I have a group of dedicated colleagues, that care as much or more than I do, that give 110% all of the time. I'm truly blessed to be combining two of my favorite things, nursing and education.

Last week, I taught about family and social media. There's a thing in our text book called "Facebook depression". Each time I teach that topic I wonder what our world is coming too. Social media has the ability to make people depressed. As if we don't already have enough going on in our world that we need to add to it in a negative way.

Last week I thought about it in a different way. Maybe people get depressed from social media not only from the negativity but maybe it makes them feel like they are not enough. They didn't create the perfect pinterest classro…

Love the ones your with

Life is short... the dishes will be there, the house will still be waiting to be cleaned, the toilets- they can wait too... Let the laundry pile up, let the rooms be messy, let cleaning wait and love the ones you care most about. Really love them. Let them feel the love. 
A few days ago, something happened. It's private and I intend to keep it that way. It scared me, my life flashed before my eyes, things can change in an instant. Often times, we get so caught up in the every day things, homework, dishes, dinner, baths... that we forget that the people that we love the most are waiting for us, wanting and needing our attention. Cherish those moments, turn them into memories... When all is said and done, you will remember the memories the most. I promise. 
This wake up call has made me think. I've kissed my kids more than ever. I've actually stopped in the hallway to kiss my husband. I stopped cleaning the kitchen to wrap my arms around his body and really feel it in my arm…

Class talk

Two weeks ago I went to talk to Bella's class about her hand on her request. That's kind of how we've worked it every year. She tells me IF she wants me to come talk and then I reach out to her teacher when she says something. It turns out that the teacher had a super cool activity planned so she thought my talk would fit right in, turns out, I also don't teach on Fridays so it was perfect timing. It also happened that I received a text from a classmate's mom saying "ask Bella about Billy" *name changed to protect privacy*... so basically all the stars aligned for it to be perfect timing.

This year we talked about some of the same things: She was born that way, I found out when I was pregnant, she can do everything you can, she does some things that you do but just differently. She has to TRY things even if she thinks she can't. Their class has a saying "No I can't, only I'll try". This fit in well with my chat. I explained that some…

Myoelectric testing

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We've been waiting...and waiting...and waiting for Hanger to tell us that they received insurance approval for a prosthetic. Our pediatrician already wrote a prescription for it. Who knew you'd need a prescription? Crazy but true... Turns out Hanger never submitted it to insurance at all. Instead they went ahead and retrieved the myoelectric (myo) tester from another location to be sure that Bella's muscles in her left forearm work properly to control a myo. This has been over a month long process just to get the tester.

(This is an image from the internet that shows what a myo could look like for someone like Bella)

Yesterday, we went into Hanger to do the testing. Turns out, Bella's muscles are on fire! She was able to move her wrist in the ways that our prosthetist asked in order to trigger her muscles. Demonstrating that these muscles triggered means that Bella would be able to control a myo. She was super excited! She loved watching the tester lights go up and dow…

Oh Apple...

It's true that I love Apple products, they are so user friendly... WHEN they work! My computer isn't currently recognizing my phone which creates some issues when trying to upload photos. In the meantime, a LOT has been going on! Stay tuned for a TON of blog updates!

Adventure Day

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I don't even know where to begin with Adventure Day... So I'll keep the words to a minimum and share a TON of pictures. So far, only the Maine Camp No Limits has this type of activity. It's all about sponsorships and availability of a business of this sort to do an activity of this nature. If you know a business that would be interested in sponsoring something like this at Camp No Limits, please reach out to me and I'll put you in contact with the right people.

The two Bella's







(Having your tongue out helps you run farther and faster)                Peyton and Bella



Who will take who down? 
Or will you take yourself down? This might be my favorite video from all of camp! 

Luca even took a try at the rock wall!                        And Grayson too! Bella refused ;) 


Until next time... 

The Camp No Limits Maine variety

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This year, our Maine vacation ended with five glorious days at Pine Tree Camp in Rome, Maine. It was off the beaten path a little bit and secluded from all of reality. Just what we needed at the end of an action packed trip! We were in the cabins because God knows that no one else wants to be tortured  hang out with our three kids 24 hours a day. We pulled in to find the Camp No Limits RV!! How excited were the kids to discover this? They thought it was super cool. Bella even asked if we could put the sign on our travel trailer. The kid doesn't love camp if you can't tell!


The camp location sits RIGHT on the water. Outside of our room you could hear the water. We even had a little patio that Ryan and I enjoyed at night. All of the camp activities take place in a big common area that has an amazing view of the waterfront as well.
(Right outside of our window) Camp No Limits has an "itinerary" each day that guides you through the activities. You can chose to be involve…

Why cousins make the best friends

We are lucky to have Ryan's siblings living close by. We are also lucky that we all had kids near the same time. There were EIGHT kids in 3 1/2 years, four boys and four girls... could it get much better than that? Pretty crazy but mad fun and lots of love. It's always action packed when everyone is together and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

This week, two of the girl cousins stayed the night. They are six and seven. While eating dinner they were talking about going to State Fair. They talked about all of the rides they rode, the stuff they ate and the things they saw. Their conversations are so funny. Bella, L and S sound so grown up when they talk now!

"Hey we saw a kid with a hand just like you at State Fair! He was like older than you, like 8 or 9" S

"No for sure he was 9"- L

"Ok he was probably 9"- S

"Cool, I saw a guy with two prosthetic legs"- Bella

"Yeah that's awesome!"- L

What I love about this is that it…

It happened... again.

Today we went to Nixon Park, if you haven't been and you are in the Milwaukee area of visiting, I highly suggest it! It's awesome! There is a great playground with a place for bigger kids and a set for smaller kids, there's a spider web and a merry go round. Do those things make anyone else want to vomit? There's also a great splash pad that's open Memorial Day to Labor Day from 10am-7pm. It's a perfect place for all three kids to burn a ton of energy. Bella, in particular, has been begging to go! With only a few weeks left of summer and me off work for a couple of weeks (yay teacher schedule!) we have to live it up!

All parents know that the very first thing kids ask for when you get anywhere is food. Like seriously, breakfast 1, 2 or 3 didn't fill you up? Oh and the two snacks before we left didn't either? So we packed lunches AND snacks to take along.

I sat on the side and let the kids do their thing. Bella is all about making new friends so she'…

When do I jump in?

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We booked a "fancy" camping trip to the Wisconsin Dells months back... then a family emergency came about and I had to emergently cancel our trip. So we rescheduled for a couple weeks ago. By fancy I mean, this place had a pool and tons of kid geared activities. It was the Yogi Bear Jellystone. (Review to come later!) It's a couple hours from us so we could easily be all loaded up the night before then hook up when Ryan got off and head out, with hopes to arrive before dusk!

One morning we opted to hit the pool before it got packed. We hit the pool around 930 and Bella was dying to go down the slide. 955 came and she was the first in line. While her and I were swimming just prior to this, I watched as two girls looked and whispered and then looked our way again.

Waiting patiently, she watched for the lifeguard to come to the slide. We made silly faces at each other while she stood in line and I stood in the pool. I noticed the two girls standing behind her, looking, then…

Flying with kids: How to keep you from losing it!

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We travel as far as we can, as often as we can! Sometimes, that means camping nearby and sometimes that means traveling to Maine for Camp No Limits! Here's how we stayed (semi) sane during flying with our three littles.


1. Check the car seats if you can. I refuse to rent car seats, I've seen what my car seats look like and there's no way I want a rental. It's between $9-$20 a day to rent a car seat.  You can find a booster seat for around $20 at any big box store. Besides the ew factor, I KNOW how to install my seats safely. If there's one thing I'm a complete freak about, it's car seat safety. I want to be sure that my kids are safe so the best way to be sure of that is to take a seat that I'm confident that I can install securely and safely every single time.

2. Hand sanitizer, don't forget it!

3. Have each kid carry their own backpack if they can. Our kids are 3, 5 and 7. We made them each responsible for their bag.

4. Now is NOT the time to limi…

Our favorite school lunch supplies

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With school gearing up and now Bella AND Grayson going to school, we have lots to do and buy. Bella has taken "cold" lunch four days a week or more since she started school. We do "cold" lunch for several reasons:

1. Have you seen what's on the trays at school?
2. Kids get to pick and chose what they want. Which leads to....
3. Strawberry milk and a scoop of peaches. which leads to....
4. $2.85 for something I could have packed for less than a $1
5. Ugh the choices, the look and smell not so great.
6. Allowing her to pick ONE day, allows her to decide what she really wants and have an option
7. We talk about budgeting and money when discussing "hot lunch"
8. She gets a LOT of say in her "cold" lunch
9. She takes things she actually eats in her lunch
10. She gets a groovy lunch bag :)

Here are some of our favorite things for packing lunches:

1. Ziploc containers- These are our all time favorite containers... Ziploc has discontinued them *inse…

Options

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We had our appointment with the prosthetic company a few days ago. I'm still trying to digest things. I think Bella is filled with excitement. I'm still trying to process it all. Insurance, myoelectric, body powered, occupational therapy, cost, time, learning, exploring, deciding, attempting. Never once I have I doubted my daughter's ability to figure things out in her own way. I can't tell you how many times I've practiced one handed shoe tying, zipping and buttoning. I've thought about how she'll open makeup containers, curl her hair or paint her nails.

Our appointment opened a few doors. Bella is dead set on a hook, she does NOT want a hand. She initially (a few years back) said they look "creepy". Currently she said "They aren't really creepy any more it's just not what I want". Fair enough, her body, her decision. So we discussed "hook hands". We have a couple of options. A body powered hook that would strap around…

Maine vacay

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When planning our time off for the year, we revolve it around Camp No Limits. Since Ryan takes a week, we added a few days on to the front part of our CNL trip so that we could explore Maine a little bit. Man was it action packed!

The first few days we stayed at the Ramada in Portland, Maine. It was a good location near the things that we wanted to do. There were tons of food options within 10 minutes of our hotel and a grocery store too.
Day one, right off the plane, we stopped at Fisherman's Grill. Ryan's the big foodie so he planned many of the places that we ate. Apparently according to his research this was one of the best lobster rolls around. So, we ordered a bunch of stuff, lobster rolls being one of them. $80 later and we were set! This place was TINY on the inside and had 4 tables outside. It was HOT but we opted to eat outside anyways. The lobster roll had some sort of mayo on it and we both agreed that it was only ok, none of the kids would even try it!
Hot, sweat…