Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I'VE MOVED!!!

After nearly three years of using blogspot, I have decided to start blogging on my own website.  Please check it out and tell your friends!!!  Just click the link below and select the Blog tab.  Thank you so much for the support!!!

http://www.jeanabbott.com/

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Dentist

These days, even going to the dentist is easier.   Yes, I can physically drive myself there, but the simple fact that I can brush and floss my teeth like other people make sitting in the dental chair that much easier.  

Growing up, I dreaded dental appointments.  No matter how many times a day I brushed my teeth, I almost always had a cavity.  The hygenist would spend what seemed like forever scraping the plaque off my teeth.  I would tense up and my hands would ball up from the stress.  To say I dreaded these cleanings would be an understatement!  

These days I don't look forward going to the dentist, but I rejoice in knowing that my appointments don't take any longer than that of a  "normal" person.  I feel so lucky that I can take care of my teeth and gums on a daily basis with ease.    It's something that I never thought I'd be able to say and it feels GREAT!.  



Friday, April 18, 2014

Glad To Be Wrong

Four years ago, I sat in a wheel chair as my brother wheeled me in for the doctor's visit that changed my life.  When I entered that room, I was shaking from spasms, couldn't walk, could barely move my arms and had no desire to speak.  I was exhausted from simply living my life.  

I left that appointment with a prescription for L-Dopa.  I never anticipated that the medication would work and wasn't going to have it filled.  My husband reminded me that I had nothing to lose and urged me to take the first dose as soon as we got home.  

About 2 hours later, I felt stronger than I had in months, if not years.  Yet, I still didn't believe that my life was about to change.  I have never been so happy to be so wrong!!!  

Good Friday and Easter will never be the same for me.  It is the time that I focus my attention on all that God has given me: caring parents, supportive brothers, fun children, etc.  I just never thought that mobility would be added to that list. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Living a Double Life

It just so happend that I moved after recieving my new diagnosis.  It was part of the plan prior to my life being turned upside down for the better.  When I meet someone for the first time, I know that they are completly unaware of the road I have traveled.  Sometimes I choose to share my story and other times I decide to keep it to myself so I can appear "normal" for another day.  Overtime, I end up telling my story because not only enjoy sharing my miracle, but it can be fun to see the reactions of others.  

For the past year, I have been chatting with a woman at the YMCA either before or after my workout.  Today was the day that I gave her the short version of my story.  She looked back at me with big eyes and commented on how far I have come and followed it up with, "You should write a book!" It's definatly a conversation I will remember for a long time.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Taking Care of My Boy

My little boy is sick and I am able to take care of him.  That's something I couldn't do for my girls.  I wasn't able to carry them when they were toddlers because of my lack of strength and poor balance (especially in the evening).  

At 11pm last night, I was tending to my little guys needs.  I put him in clean pj's and replaced his dirty sheet with a new one.  As I tipped the crib mattress on it's side, I couldn't believe that I was doing this so late in the evening.  Back in the day, I couldn't put sheets on any bed, much less a crib!  And to do it at night would be unimaginable! It's a great feeling to know that I can take care of my baby no matter what the circumstances.  

Yes, I am exhausted and other chores around the house will have to wait, but in the mean time, I will give thanks for having the ability to take care of what matters most: my family.    

Have a great day and stay healthy!  


Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Sharon

Ten years ago I brought another child into this world and she has brightened my days ever since.  Being pregnant was so difficult and unlike my pregnancy with Winona, I did have to stop working around the seventh month.  Not only was I unable to get around the office, but I would become dizzy and light headed as well.

First Christmas
I'd rather not focus on the negative aspects of carrying a child to term, so instead I will finish this entry by telling you how wonderful my ten year old is.  Sharon has always been so accepting of my disability and never ashamed by my abnormalities.  When Sharon would meet someone for the first time she would say, "Hi, my name is Sharon and my mom can't walk."  It always made me smile and I loved that she was okay with her mom being different from the other parents at school.  Nowadays, Sharon will remind me of my new found abilities by stating, "you couldn't have done that before" and flash me a heartfelt smile.

I am so lucky that God chose me to be her mom.  Not a day goes by where I forget to give thanks for this loving girl who is so accepting of others.


First Day of Preschool

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

4th Anniversary

It was four years ago today, that I was wheeled into the neurologist office for a second opinion.(it was also Good Friday).  Steve and I left the clinic with a prescription that I didn't intend to fill, much less take.  In all honesty, I didn't believe for a second that with l-dopa I would be able to walk without the aid of others or a device.  I am so thankful that my husband made me try that miracle drug.

I can't believe how far I have come in these four years.  I am no longer dependent on others to get to the store, gym, church, etc.  Plus, I can volunteer at my kids schools, cook dinners, bake birthday cakes, dress easily and so much more.  

Because of this diagnosis, I feel like I am a better wife and mother.  For once, I can take care of them.  But who can forget the biggest change of all?  Because of this life altering medication, I have my son, the third child we always dreamed to have, but never thought possible.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Life Goes On



I was misdiagnosed for 33 years and living a life without the ability to run and play like all the other kids in school.  When people hear my story, they almost always ask, "Aren't you upset that you missed out on a normal life ?'  The answer is always the same, "No."

First of all, I know that my neurologist didn't intentionally misdiagnose me.  I may not have appreciated his poor bedside manor, but I'm confident that he wanted to help me have the best life possible.

Secondly, I had a really good life!  My parents gave me more love and happiness in a week than many kids see in a lifetime.  I had friends who stood by my side and defended me when others would be cruel.  And I married an amazing man who loved me for me.  It didn't matter to him that I couldn't play basketball with him or go on long walks around the lake like the other college kids.  And because I married this wonderful man, I have three loving children that I wouldn't trade for the world.

Yes, my childhood and young adult life was challenging!  Yes, I had struggles that I wouldn't want to relive, but doesn't everyone?  Every experience I had for the first 33 years of my life helped mold me into the person I am today.  And I like me!

Being angry about what could have been won't change the fact of what it was.  Life is a gift and every additional day I get on this Earth is up to ME as to how I live it.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Bit Tired

I didn't get a very good nights sleep last night so the amount I'm able to do today is limited.  I dropped so many items while getting breakfast ready for John that my floor was a mess!  But, that's life with DRD and I am grateful that moving slowly and dropping things are part of this new me.

Back in the day, a night of sleep like last night would have meant a day on the couch for me.  Even though, my body is having a rough day, I was able to met my mom for coffee this morning and make homemade dinner rolls (that's easier than it sounds).  And sure, I spent quite a bit of time on the couch.

With DRD, I have to rest every afternoon.  It's just a part of my life and I'm happy with that.  It sure beats being confined to a chair!




Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Funny Story

My goal is to blog three times a week, but at times I am not sure what I should blog about.  How can I not know what to write?  Can it be that I'm getting so used to my new life that I'm not appreciating this precious gift of mobility?  Of course not!  It doesn't take me long and I've got my next post.

This afternoon. Sharon and I went to the mall.  We walked around for close to two hours!  As we walked the mall I was thinking how much easier it was to just walk rather than navigate my mobilty scooter through the crowd.  I do not miss those days.  However, I do have a funny story to share with you:

When Sharon was two (my parents were with our family) we went to Walt Disney World.  I used my mobility scooter to get around the busy park.  Sharon was so little and rode on my lap most of the day.  As my parents and I were trying to decide what to do next, I pulled off to the side to get out of the way. I looked up at my dad as he spoke and was started by the unexpected movement of my scooter.  I don't know how I let it happen, but Sharon had pressed the GO button on my cart and we were speeding down the Magic Kingdom street. In a panic, I turned my handle bars from left to right weaving in and out of the crowd.  Why I didn't just pull the key out I don't know.  I was so scared that I was going to run a little kid over and kept yelling at Sharon to "let go!!!"   Little did I know, he chased us until he could reach to pull they key, which halted the mobility scooter and simply saved the day.

Sure, that may seem like a funny story now and Sharon still talks about her favorite ride at Disney (my cart); but; I can't help but be thankful that I don't need to depend on a chair to get me from point A to point B!  I am so grateful that my legs can carry me where ever I want to go, no matter how tired I may be.  Does it get any better than this?  I don't think so.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Up

While cooking dinner this evening, John walked up to me, raised his hands above his head and said, "Up," for the first time.  I looked down at him and lifted him up and praised him for using his words.

This was not only a big moment for John, but for me as well.  When the girls were toddlers, I wasn't able to lift them while standing, much less hold them while I cooked dinner at the stove.  I couldn't control the tears stinging my eyes and found myself hugging my little boy.

Sure it took me longer to finish making dinner with John on my hip, but this was a moment I will treasure in my heart forever.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Independence

My husband Steve, just returned form 10 days traveling to Costa Rica and Brazil (for work).  That left me alone with our three children and a very quite home in the evenings.  Because I have never lived on my own (I went from living at home with my parents to living with Steve), I don't fall asleep easily knowing that I'm the only adult to help my kids in case of an emergency.

As I've explained in previous posts, if I don't get a full 8 hours of sleep, my physical abilities are limited. During those ten days Steve was gone, I dropped items, experienced leg cramps, tripped on my own two feet, etc.  Luckily, he doesn't have to travel for work often and I am able to take a nap in the afternoons while John sleeps.  Plus, I can take additional L-Dopa as needed.

L-Dopa...is my miracle drug.  It allows me to experience life in a way that I never dreamed.  You see, I was able to be home alone with my kids.  Before L-Dopa, when Steve traveled for work, we had to make arrangements for someone to stay with me or plan for friends and family to stop by and check in on us.  To be an independent mom is so liberating.  Yes, it's a lot of work, but knowing I can do it makes the days go by faster and worry free while my husband is gone.   Instead, I think about how lucky I am to have the ability to do it on my own.  What a gift!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Worth It

My goal in life is to help others.  I'm hoping that through my book and blog I can inform others about my misdiagnosis and offer hope to kids and adults dealing with physical disabilities.  I always felt that God made me contorted and spastic for a reason and if I could help just one person everything I went through would be worth it.

Today was that day!  Not only did someone tell me that their daughter tried L-Dopa (my new medication) after hearing my story (she is now walking without assistance), but I also got a response to one of my blog entries saying that I have given a reader's daughter hope that she too can find love and marriage despite her inability to walk.

I am so appreciative for the life I was given.  And I mean All of it!  Yes, all of it.  I would relive my  life of falling multiple times a day, painful surgeries, body cast, being stared at and teased all through middle school.  I am so blessed and hope that I can continue to help others through my blog, upcoming book, Twitter and Facebook.  Never in a million years would I have thought that little ol me could make a difference in this big, big world.


Monday, March 10, 2014

The Loss of A Friend

This morning I woke up feeling refreshed and grateful for a good night of sleep, which means I will have better mobility and dexterity today.  I turned on the news and saw that it woul be sunny with a high near 50 (it's been months)!  I shot out of bed thinking Nothing's going get me down today!

Sadly, when I was leaving the YMCA (after a great workout),  I was told that the gentleman who takes care of my son in the childcare had passed away last week.  It came as such a shock since I had just seen him earlier last week, with his usual happy greeting and a high five for my boy.  Dropping John off in the childcare will never be the same.  

This is a reminder that life is short and we really need to take the time to appreciate the little things in life.  When you go out to enjoy the nice weather this afternoon, I ask you to take a moment to think about John's friend and give thanks for all the people in your life who may not be close to you, but make your days a little bit brighter, like Darrel did for me and John.  

You will be missed Darrel.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Falling

Today has been a great reminder that I am not normal.  I have fallen twice today and find that frustrating.  Yet, at the same time, I am so grateful that falling is no longer a daily occurrence for me.  Years ago, when I would tumble, I would have to crawl to the couch and pull myself back up OR call for help.
Yes, my ankle hurts and my knee is slightly skinned, but I could get myself  up off the floor without any worries.  I would call this a good day and I am so grateful!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Run, Jeanie, Run!

Now that I'm on Twitter, I've been thinking a lot about inspiring quotes to share with others.  Forest Gumps' "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get," came to my mind and made me smile for many reasons.


First, I think the quote is spot on! When I wake up in the morning, I'm not certain what will happen, but I can choose how I react to it.  I try my best to stay positive, but I am human and can overreact (just ask my husband).

Second, Forest Gump came out the year I graduated high school.  For the first time, I felt like I related to a character in the movies because Forrest wore leg braces as a child.  I'd tell my friends that those braces looked like the ones I wore and they'd smile and say, "Run, Jeanie, run."  Of course, we'd burst out laughing and repeat our rendition of the movie a few more times.



Lastly, Forrest stopped having issues with his legs and became quite the runner.  Sure, I am not able to run like Forrest, but I'm able to walk on the treadmill, yoga and chase little John around the house (all things I never dreamed would be part of my life).

So, yes.  I really do believe life is like a box of chocolates and every one of them has been a blessing!  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Wonderful Father

The other day I did a post about my amazing mom, but she didn't raise me alone.  My dad is just as wonderful, and I am so grateful for all the times he was by my side.  I know that I don't always give my dad the credit he so deserves in raising me to be a strong woman and feel that this post is long overdue.  

My dad was always good for making me laugh when things seemed difficult and helped me when times were tough.  He would drive me to work when I phsyically couldn't, bring my family dinner when I couldn't cook and cheer me up on days I felt like I couldn't smile.  Ever since I can remember, my dad has been there for me.  I can honestly say that I am who I am because of him.  Thank you Dad.  I love you.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A New Challenge

I have always been one to appreciate the little things in life, even when my mobility seemed to fail me daily.  I guess that's why I am even MORE grateful for all of the little things I have in my life, especially my new physical capabilities.  I often think about what I'm able to accomplish these days and am amazed at how much others have helped me along the way.

So, here's my challenge for you.   If you didn't have the use of your hands, legs, sight, hearing, etc., what would you be unable to do or enjoy.  I urge you to pick one limitation and think about what you would have been unable to do today.  This would be a great activity for your kids too!   Have them wear a pair of mittens to do their chores, put a pebble in their sock or cover their eyes with a bandanna.  Can they imagine living like that for the rest of their lives?

The following is a list of things that I did today that would not have been possible not long ago:

cooked eggs for breakfast
stood on a chair to put away a pan
carried out a big bag of recycling
rode 35+ minutes on the stationary bike at the YMCA
walked on the snow
carried 3 bags of clothes from my car into my condo
used a can opener easily
changed John's diaper quickly
lifted John into his crib
washed my hair in the shower
typed this blog entry without hitting the wrong keys

Looking at this list, I know that these aren't monumental items to most, but they are to me!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Toughest Mom

I cannot watch this video without getting tearing eyed. Growing up,  I faced challenges each and every day of my life.  Because of my mom I never gave up hope and never expected to be anything but the best in whatever I set out to achieve.  

When I watch this video, I can't help but be grateful for my mom, who too is the toughest mom out there.  I don't know how she did it, but I do know that I will be forever grateful for all the times she pushed me to do my best, all while showing me how much I was loved.

I love you. Mom!

I urge you to take a moment and watch this 60 second  inspirational video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RR-r2n5DLw&feature=youtu.be

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Paralyzed By the Snow

As the snow falls from the sky and the clock shows that the girls will be home soon, I can't help but think about the days when weather like this confined me to my home.  Before my correct diagnosis, once the winter hit, I wasn't able to meet the girls at the bus stop and walk them home.  My scooter didn't have good traction and would likely get stuck in the snow trapping me in my home.

Winona and Sharon would run the one block home from their stop because they were so scared of the neighbors dog, which was never tied up.  The dog didn't chase them often, but when it did, my heart would break and I would feel as though I had failed as a mom.  How could I not protect them? 

I know I shouldn't be so hard on myself, but being a mom to Winona and Sharon is the most important thing to me (and of course now John).  At least now, thanks to new medication, I can be the mom I want to be day and night.  Life is Grand.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Making The Best of It

I've always been a strong believer in Everything happens for a reason.  Growing up it helped me to accept the physical challenges I had to deal with on a daily basis.  Everything from dressing to shopping was difficult.  Knowing that God made me "different" helped me to understand that I had a purpose in life.  Plus, it made me look at what others had to deal with and I quickly discovered that there were a lot of people out there with bigger problems that me.

Today while waiting for my oil change, I met an amazing woman with a heartbreaking story.  When she was 20 weeks pregnant, she lost her husband unexpectedly.  Yet, she sat there holding her one year old son and informed me that even though it is difficult she believes that this is how it was meant to be.  Of course she misses her husband and misses the involved father he was to their five year old daughter. And I can't help think she may be the strongest woman I have ever met.  

Today I left the dealership a different woman.  I have always tried to appreciate the little things in life and help others realize that life is a gift, but this mother made me realize that the loss of a spouse can happen at any age regardless if there are children involved.  Yes, I always knew that this could happen, but she really made me think about this horrible reality.

I know that I can't control everything in my life, but, when my husband comes home from work tonight, I plan on giving him an extra long hug, because you just never know when it might be the last.



Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Talent Show

My oldest daughter, Winona, was in her middle school talent show last night.  I was so excited to go cheer her on as she played Fur Elise on the piano.  A couple minutes before the show was to begin, Steve, Sharon and I took our seats and attempted to corral John into our row.  As the first act took the stage, it was clear that John was not about to sit quietly and give the students the respect that they deserved.

Annoyed that I wasn't going to be able to relax and watch the show, I grabbed John and took him to the back of the gym.  From 6:35 until 7:40 I held my 25+ lb toddler on my hip and swayed back and fourth to the music.  My back grew tired and my left arm became sore, but the appreciation of being able to hold my son for this long meant so much to me.  You see, in the past, Steve would usher me into an event like this and find me a chair ASAP, because I could hardly walk at night, and standing for more than a couple minutes wasn't an option.

 I was able to enjoy my daughter playing her piano piece AND hold my son as he snuggled into my neck.  Plus, I could see Steve and Sharon sitting close together watching all the talent on the stage. All I can say is that it was an incredible night and I have so much to be thankful for: my husband, three children and mobility that allows me to thoroughly enjoy it all.

video

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Goodnight

Around 9:30pm, I went to check on John before going to bed.  Just as I was about to put my hand on his bedroom door, I stopped dead in my tracks as thoughts began racing through my mind:  I just walked across the living room without furniture walking, I'm able to enter his room without waking him and the one that stung my heart I was never able to do this with either of the girls.  

There is no denying that I have moments when I feel like I missed out on life.  Those are natural thoughts that anyone would have.  I just feel like it's up to me (and only me) to focus on the positive.  I had a good life and am now living a great life.  Sure, I was never able to check in on the girls before I went to bed, but I was able to hold them in my arms and kiss them goodnight, which is something that not every parent is able to do on a nightly basis. For that, I will be forever grateful.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

What Makes You Beautiful?

My cousin sent me this inspirational quote the other day stating, "This made me think of you Jean."  


I read it and thought wow, this is amazing.  Quickly, I decided that this isn't me at all.  I re-read it again and realized that the traits included in this quote indeed describe me to a tee.  My life was never easy.  I had to prove to others that I could succeed, even if I had  failed.  I grew up enduring countless medical examinations with a smile on my face and hope in my heart.  

Because of my life experiences I have so much compassion for what others are going through.  On my most difficult of  days I always give thanks because I know there are those who are worse off.  I've been this way ever since I was a young child.  What kid thinks like that?  I guess this one did.  

I may not consider myself beautiful, but I do consider myself strong, forgiving, caring, loving and understanding, which in turn makes me beautiful.  

As you drift off to sleep tonight, think about your daily actions and purpose in life.  Then ask yourself, Does this make me beautiful?  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Simple Things In Life

I haven't had this much trouble walking in over two years.  And I find this to be wonderful!  You see, I'm not having a difficult time because I didn't get enough sleep or because my muscle relaxers aren't working.  I'm walking like a zombie, because I worked my muscles in a class at the YMCA yesterday and my body doesn't know what hit it!  Isn't this great??!!

I love that I can feel the burning in my quads simply because I did an activity that others can do.  I really think this class (Bodyflow) is going to help me get my pre-baby body back (if that's possible and I think it is).

I can't help but seem overly excited about such simple things in my life.  Granted, I was hoping to partake in the class again tomorrow, but I do know my limits.  My muscles are quite fatigued and are causing some balance issues (this class uses a lot of balance) and I don't want to risk falling on by face.  However, I will be back at it again next week!!!  And will LOVE every minute of it!!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bodyflow

This morning I got the best workout of my life!  I took the class Bodyflow at the YMCA.  It has a little bit of Yoga, Thi Chi and Pilates all rolled into one.

I've been wanting to take this class for quite awhile (I bought my mat over 3 months ago).  My thought was that this would be a great class for me to work on my balance and tone my muscles at the same time.  Before the class began, I spoke with the instructor to let her know that I have balance issues and to not be concerned if I didn't attempt all of the poses.  I am happy to say that I participated in it all (with some adaptions).

By the end of class my legs were quivering and I'm now wondering if I'll be able to move tomorrow.  :)  But, hey, I did it!  And I look forward to continuing on with this class and watching my balance improve over time.

Thanks to my friends. Leann and Laura for joining me!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Miracle Baby

Today is Winona's 12th birthday.  Every year on this day, I can't help but think about the nine months I was pregnant with her.  It was by far the most difficult thing that I have ever had to endure.  Some say that my new diagnosis is a miracle, but the real miracle is that I was able to carry a healthy baby to term.

9 months old

Like many pregnant women, I experienced a lot of morning sickness, which made it impossible to keep my medication in my system.  As a result, I was unable to walk on my own and had even more limited use of my hands.  During those nine months, I was completely depended on others for help.

Steve had to step in and assist me with more things than a husband should ever have to deal with.  He drove me to and from work, dressed me, bathed me and fed me.  I guess you could say that my pregnancy was prepping him for fatherhood.  ;)

Yes, this was the most uncomfortable nine months of my life (until I did it again with Sharon).  Honestly, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  Winona has a smile that lights up my day, a laugh that makes me want to laugh too and a caring heart that is not common in most children her age.  I am so grateful that out of all the women in the world, God chose me to be her mom.


4 years old
First day of Kindergarten

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Special Dinner

I've been dealing with a bad cold all week and have pretty much taken a vacation from cooking.  Because I could hardly hold on to anything without dropping it, we've had pizza, pot pies, corn dogs and I'm sick of it!!

I'm still not back to where I need to be, but since I got a pretty good night of sleep last night, I decided that my family needs a real meal tonight.  In just a little bit, we will be sitting down to BBQ spare ribs, baked potatoes, corn bread and apple crisp for dessert.

Since my new diagnosis, I have really enjoyed cooking.  I guess that's why it's so difficult for me to sit on the couch when my DRD tells me to.  We may be eating well tonight, but I know from past experiences that tomorrow my body will be shot and I'm okay with that.  Today, it was more important to me that my husband and kids eat a non processed meal.

I'll just end this post by saying that I never thought I'd be able to cook for my family and find it such a blessing that I can do it with ease, even if that mean a difficult day for tomorrow.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cold Knees

This bitter, Minnesota January is starting to get to me.  Or should I say, getting to my knees.  We've had sub zero weather for nearly a week and my knees have been in pain.  While I was running my errands today, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to check everything off my list.  I guess that's where my stubbornness can come in handy.   I got what I needed and even forced myself to go to the gym.

Ever since I was 15 years old, lifting weights has made my muscles and joints feel better.  That is one thing that has stayed the same since my DRD diagnosis.  Keeping active is a necessity for me.  The high tomorrow is going to be 0!  I have to go to the Y tomorrow.  The only dilemma is whether or not I lift weights or join the dance aerobics class  in the morning.  Either way, my body wins.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

WONDERful!

I love that feeling of not being able to put a really good book down.  This weekend, I read Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  If you only have time to read one book this year, I urge you to make it Wonder!  This book can teach us to be more understanding, couragous, strong and most importantly, kind.

Growing up, I was kind of like August (the main character).  Sure, my face looked normal, but that was about it.  If I was standing or walking, I was being stared at.  This novel clearly shows what it's like to feel sadness because of the actions others put on us.  However, it also shows how family and friendship can help us overcome anything!

I truly feel that Wonder should be read by everyone of all ages.  This novel will change how you view others and help you appreciate all the good things in life.

Happy Reading!


http://www.amazon.com/Wonder-R-J-Palacio/dp/0375869026

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dancing Queen...Almost

There is one down fall to no longer being in constant spasm (it's equivalent to lifting weights all day): I have gained weight!  Sure, I'd rather have my mobility than have a rocking body, but I still want to be fit.   I have always been one to lift weights at the gym because it used to be a necessity for me.  I had to keep my muscles working so they wouldn't wither away to nothing.

Since my new diagnosis, I still enjoy going to they gym.  However, I also enjoy making homemade breads and cake and then eating them!  I still have not gotten back to where I want to be since having John and feel like I need to switch up my workout a little bit.  So, today I bit the bullet and hauled a friend of mine with me to the YMCA for Dance Aerobics!!   Can you picture me doing this????

Let me be honest with you.  I have no rhythm and spend more time focusing on keeping in step with the rest of the class that I'm usually about 3 seconds behind everyone else.  But I don't care!!!  I was doing it.  It may not have been pretty and even though I felt sick to my stomach for a couple minutes, I danced for an hour!  I must add that I think I had a smile on my face for 90 percent of it and plan on doing it again next week!

So, if you live in the area and want to join me (or want a good laugh), I'll be at the Ridgedale YMCA, Thursday at 9am in Studio A.  I'd love to see you there!!!!!    If I can do it, you can do it!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Princess Jean

You know how all of the fairy tales start out by saying something like not long ago in a far off place?  That's how I feel about my entire life!

Today has been a very busy day, yet I decorated Winona's birthday cake without hesitation.  Sure, I wasn't able to get a good primary red, but I was able to put hundreds of stars on a cake and magically turn it into a One Direction dessert that any 12 year old would love.  But honestly, all that matters to me is that one particular 12 year old loves it, and she does!

This  cake may not be perfect, but it was made with not only love, but appreciation for being able to complete a task that I never dreamed possible.  When I look at this cake, I can't help but be grateful for the hands that allowed me to complete this craft.  However, I can't help but think about the woman I used to be and how she dreamed about the day she could make her daughter a dream cake.  I never thought that I would have the capabilities to spend hours making anything for my first born daughter, yet here I am admiring something I created.

To say, I am thankful would be an understatement.  Because the tears are on the verge of falling, I can't find the words to express how I feel on this particular evening.  All I can say is that I hope I don't ever wake up from this enchanted dream that I now call life.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wonderful Chore!

I just vacuumed my living room (7pm) and I can't help but be grateful.  Yes, I'm tired from the day, but I vacuumed at night!  That is more than a big deal to me.  You see, before my correct diagnosis, I rarely did this household chore because it usually resulted in me falling multiple times, even if I did it in the morning (my physically best time of day).  I always say it's the little things in life that are the most important and I'd say that being able to do a chore with ease (at night) is unbelievable! Life is great!!!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Heavan on Earth

A good friend of mine told me to watch the video by Mark Wills, Don't Laugh at Me.  It's amazing how much emotion can come from listening to music.  When I heard the line, "Some day we'll all have perfect wings," it reminded me of my mom.

When I was about elementary aged, I'd cry out with frustration (to my mom) about all the things I wish I could do with ease.  My mom looked and me with so much love in her eyes and said, "some day when your in heaven you'll be able to walk and run with all the other kids."  Little did either of us know that my heaven would become a reality here on Earth where I can run and play with my own little children.

Thanks Laura for the song!

To view the video click below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVjbo8dW9c8

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Smiles Not Stares

 I came across this wonderful photograph on Facebook the other day.  The woman who wrote this has Cerabal Palsy, which is similar to Spastic Dipligia (my original diagnosis).  This photo jumped out at me and brought so many memories rushing back to me in a matter of seconds.


I can honestly say that prior to my diagnosis of DRD, I don't recall a time when I went out in public and wasn't stared at.  When I was a little girl and would complain about strangers not taking their eyes off my walking, my mom would quickly remark, "Their just looking because your so cute."  Of course, I knew that wasn't the reason, but it made me forget about the gawker, even if for only a moment.  

I have no doubt that most of the people who had a hard time taking their eyes off the girl with the spastic walk, were good people.  I don't judge you or wish you ill will.  I only ask that from this point on, you make a conscious effort to not stare at the adults or children who cannot control their physical limitations.  The memories I have will be with me forever, but I'd love for the disabled children nowadays to be able to look back at their childhood and not remember receiving a long, blank stare.  

Please feel free to check out the Facebook page I got this photo from. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Advocating-For-Cerebral-Palsy-Awareness/689521254394142

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Fill 'er Up

I tried to be independent for as long as I possibly could.  Around the age of 30, I got to the point where I couldn't stand long enough to pump gas into my own car.  I'd either have Steve or my mom fill my tank.

This evening, Steve was driving my car (with me and the kids in tow) and we needed to get gas.  When we stopped at the Holiday Staion, he hopped out of my car and began pumping while emotion filled my heart.  I'm not sure how I am no longer the woman I once was.  In my old life, I had to plan ahead accordingly.  If I wanted to drive myself to a friend house or my parents home, I had to be sure there was enough gas to get me there.  Basically, I kept my tank half full so I wouldn't put myself in a bad situation.

Nowadays, I don't give it a thought as to how much gas is in my tank.  If I want to go somewhere, I get in my car and go.  Being independent is such a luxury and one that I thought was gone forever.  I have so much to be thankful for: my husband, Steve and a body that allows me to do what I want (two things that I never thought I'd have).


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Love Of My Life

I am excited that I am getting closer to a completed memoir.  I'm currently working on the section where I met Steve and fell in love with him.  I think this is the only section of the book that I could read over and over again without growing tired of it.  It shouldn't surprise me though.  Meeting my husband was by far one the best things that happened to me.

Growing up I assumed that I would never marry and would put my focus on being an awesome aunt.  My mom always said that I would, "end up with the nicest guy of all."  Here I am at the age of 37, married to the love of my life.  I feel blessed that he was able to look past my spastic arms and legs and see the happy, positive woman that I was/am.  He always said he liked that I didn't dwell on what I couldn't do.  

As I receive help organizing and editing my book, I can't help but be grateful for my entire life.  Yes, there were many challenging days; but the days being surrounded by good people, like my husband make up for it.  If I had to choose between a new diagnosis and meeting Steve I wouldn't have to think about it.  I would choose Steve and the wonderful life he has given me.  My physical capabilities are just a small part of who I am and as I've said before, I like me! And I love my husband!!

Celebrating our 10 year anniversary in Canada (2010)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hot vs. Cold

So, it's cold outside.  I live in Minnesota, so when I say cold, I'm referring to sub zero weather with a wind that freezes your face!  The Gov of this fine state has called off school for Monday, something that hasn't happened since the mid 90's!

With the snow flying and my body chilled to the bone (after getting groceries), I decided that today was the perfect day to make homemade Potato Corn Chowder and Spaghetti Sauce.  These are two things that I have never attempted to make.  Oh, and don't worry, I don't plan on serving them together.

I couldn't help but smile as I chopped veggies and measured out spices for nearly two hours.  Back in the day, it was all I could do to make Hamburger Helper! Plus, in weather like this, my muscles would become to spastic to do anything other than sit.   I love that I enjoy cooking for my family.

Now that my cooking is nearly done, I can get started on the laundry that is waiting for me outside the bedrooms.  It is a blessing that I can do what I want, when I want.  It's colder than heck outside, but I grateful that it's cozy warm in here.