Reach for the sky!

This past Sunday we did something I did not think we would ever be able to do.

We reached for the sky….

When our oldest three children were younger, we thoroughly enjoyed attending events and special productions. Fireworks, movies, concerts, even amusement parks. It was fun for all of us and made for some amazing family memories.

But then Faith was born and things got a lot more complicated. Suddenly we had to factor in so much more into “simple” family fun.

Would the time interfere with medication schedules?

Did it involve any waiting?

Loud noises?

Bright lights?

How fast could we get out if needed?

One of the places you DON’T want to be with a child in sensory overload, screaming, thrashing, and vomiting is on a tiny passenger ferry in the middle of Charleston Harbor. Trust me on this one.

Faith is 8 now and we have made some great leaps this year. Her ability to reason has increased greatly. Imaging trying to reason with a 2 year old and a 3 year old. You can fa-get-ta-bout-it with the 2 year old, but you might, just might have a slim chance with the 3 year old. This year Faith has been more like a three year old.

When we were given the chance to see Disney on Ice – Toy Story 3, my knee jerk reaction was “No”. We don’t DO things like that.

But then a tiny, probably heavily medicated, part of me thought….”Why not try….?”

We chose not to tell Faith about our upcoming adventure. We know that time is very hard for her to understand and if she is anticipating an event, it becomes an obsession. She will hyper focus on the event and to be honest….make it pretty miserable for all around her.

The morning of the event (We chose the 11:30 showing since it would not interfere with any medications) we told her that we needed to get dressed and she needed to choose a few toys to take in our special travel bag because we were heading to the city. We reassured her that we were not going to the doctor and that it was just a fun trip. She willingly got in the car – that can be a challenge at times – first hurdle cleared!

She was anxious during the ride to Kent because going in the car on a Sunday morning is not part of our normal routine.

The drive to Showare Center is about 1 1/2 hours. Right at the very end we began to lose her. She was starting to stim and repeat “comfort” phrases. That usually means we are at critical mass and about to explode. Right as she began make the squeaky noises that we know precede a full blown meltdown she spotted this:

“It’s Jessie! It’s Woody! It’s Buzz! Mommy look! Look! Look!”

As we pulled into Showare, we hung Faith’s handicap tag up and were immediately directed to the handicap parking. Easy and fast. As we stopped, a parking attendant approached the car to make sure we were ok and could handle unloading. What great service! At this point we chose to not bring in Faith’s wheelchair. The distance to the door was manageable and we felt that Faith was rested enough to manage that walk. We walked to “Will Call”. It was a very short, easy to manage walk and we encountered no line.

However, by the time we reached Will Call, Faith was struggling. At that point I asked at the window if we could change our seats to ones with no steps to help Faith as much as possible. I offered to show the ticket person our disabled card but she didn’t need to see it. After a small switcheroo, we had our ADA seats and we entered.

The lights and noise and general commotion caused some hesitancy at first. Faith was moving slowly and seemed very anxious.  In order to refocus and direct her I used the old parenting standby…..the bribe.

Look! A Jessie dolly! Just what you were going to ask Santa for! Would you like one? 

She handled the commotion around the vendor very well and even, with some prompting, asked for the Jessie all by herself.

Jessie in hand we resumed our walk to our ADA seats. The directions and signs were very clear and we found the right section with no issues. As soon as we showed our tickets, the usher walked us right to our area and made sure we had what we needed to be comfortable.

At this point she was calm but it became apparent that we were on thin ice. Lots of yelling, excited children, vendors walking around with spinning lights and food, loud music. Faith began to hyper focus on the hats for sale. It seemed that every kid there was either wearing a Woody or a Jessie hat.

“Where’s my hat? Mom? Where’s my hat? Dad? Where’s my hat…….”

Don’t judge me.

When the lights went down, she reached for my hand. Scared but excited. The bright lights were not too much of a distraction and while they did move around a lot, did not seem to bother her as much as I thought they might. The music and voices were at a loud, yet tolerable level. She only had to cover her ears a couple times. And her wonder….her wonder was infectious.

“Look! It’s my toys! They came to alive!”

My only real complaint about this entire day is this….this picture below is what the view is for a handicap child who is unable to stand up for any length of time. This is what Faith’s view was:

The ADA seating was right at the ice, however there were several additional rows of seats actually on the ice. And the children in those seats, like the rest of the arena, were encouraged to stand and dance part way through the show. Once they rose from their seats, the ADA seating was blocked. Faith was able to see tiny snitches and glimpses of the show, but since she was unable to stand, she mostly listened.

The voices were dead on for the movie and the story line was right on with parts of all three movies. The special effects were fun and not scary. The “fog” was not overpowering and did not have a funny smell. The cast tried very hard to engage the crowd and made a point to wave and smile at the kids (who could see….).

As we exited she saw a flyer for Phineas and Ferb On Ice. A little voice beside me asked….”Can we see Perry?”

Maybe kiddo…..

{disclosure: Mommy Rambles was given tickets to Disney on Ice – Toy Story 3. However I was not asked to write a review and all thoughts and opinions are my own}

My John Hancock

My Memories Suite

And the winner is #4 – Wife of a Sailor!

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I am scrapbooking failure.

There, I said it.

I have the best of intentions. Really. I do.

But my scrapbook pages always end up looking like a kindergarden art project. I take that back….they look worse than a kindergarden art project.

(Hanging head in craftymom shame)

I figured I would be a perfect test subject to try out digital scrapbooking software. There are a lot of programs out there and I had no idea which one would work for me. (Read: Tech illiterate and impatient) When I was given the opportunity to try out My Memories Suite, I figured I would give it a go.

Downloading to my Mac was very easy with clear step by step instructions and installing it went without a hitch.

I opened up My Memories Suite and did not read any instructions. Yes, you read that right. I dove right in attempting to make a digital scrapbook with reading any how-to’s. Within 10 minutes I was finding my way around within the software without any problems. Several times after I clicked a button, I had to yell to hubs, “Hey! Come check this out! Look what I just did!”

In 15 minutes I had created an entire album.

All milestones are something to celebrate, document and treasure. In special needs families, that is even more true. Milestones are hard won. The birth that didn’t go quite as we expected? The first birthday that we weren’t sure we would be able to celebrate? The first step that was the result of months and months of Physical Therapy? The first taste of a new food after being G-Tube fed only? Starting school? (Sniffle, sniff, I’m starting to tear up. Let’s move on)

MyMemories has generously given me the opportunity to give away a copy of this fun-a-licious software to one of YOU, my lucky readers. ($39.97 value)

Mandatory entry: Cruise on over to MyMemories and take a look at Digital Scrapbook Kits. Come back here and post in the comments below which kit is your favorite.

Extra optional entries: (1 extra entry for each one. Just post in the comments below. One comment per entry)

“Like” MyMemories Suite on Facebook

“Follow” My Memories on Twitter

“Share” this giveaway either by Facebook or Twitter (2 extra entries per day!)

Want to get your hands on this fun and powerful software? You can purchase My Memories Suite  now at MyMemories using a special discount code just for my readers! $10 off code: STMMMS236 (Code is good only for 10 days from today, so hurry!)

Giveaway ends June 27 at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be selected via Random.org. I will contact the winner. Winner will then have 48 hours to get back to me or another winner will be chosen. Mommy Rambles was given a copy of this software to try and review.

Stokke Tripp Trapp

It’s hard to be little. The world is geared for grown up, not little ones. Their legs are too short, their arms are too short. It’s just plain frustrating. Times that should be fun, such as meals or coloring at the table, can be hard on them. Too big for a high chair, too small for a normal dining room seat, tired of sitting on phone books to reach.

Enter the Tripp Trapp.

In an amazing invention, that has remained unchanged since 1972, Tripp Trapp changed the mealtime game. This chair grows with your child. And when I say that, I mean it. The Tripp Trapp chair can take your child from birth (with the new optional Newborn Set) through infant (with the optional Infant Set) straight through the college years and beyond. The Stokke Tripp Trapp is built to last as long as it will fit. It is made from solid wood, in a rainbow of colors and wood stains.

No more struggling to reach the table, no wobbling on top of stacked books, no dangling feet. (Did YOU ever have to sit on top of telephone books as a kid? Or was that just my family?)

Both the seat and foot rest of this chair are adjustable for the perfect fit for YOUR child. Long legs and a short torso? Done. Short legs and a long torso? Done. The Stokke Tripp Trapp has the ability to fit any child, at all ages.

What really makes this chair stand out to me, is it’s ability to support all children, even those with special needs. The incredible versatility means that little tired or restless legs have a place to be secure. Children who have a hard time in a regular chair due to low tone issues will find the curve of the back a place to be supported. If more support is needed, the Stokke Tripp Trapp also comes with straps for more security. This chair is perfect for therapy time or ABA. Having one chair that can adjust to various heights needed for different therapies can help provide a sense of security for children as well. It’s always nice to have something familiar when working hard on new tasks.

I would just like to add….wow, that chair is comfy! (Yes, I sit in it also!)

Our Tripp Trapp is blue

http://www.stokke.com/highchair.aspx

Tripp Trapp® chair
A modern classic.

The Tripp Trapp® chair, created in 1972 by the designer Peter Opsvik, has never been bettered. In 1972, revolution was a fact. Back then no one had seen anything like the Tripp Trapp®, and almost 40 years later it is still unique: the only child’s chair that can take you from baby to adult, keeping you secure and comfortable all the way.

The Tripp Trapp® designer’s inspiration came from watching his own young son, Tor, struggle to find a comfortable position to sit in at their family table. Having grown out of his old-fashioned high-chair, but still far too small to sit on an adult’s chair, Tor was left dangling his legs and struggling to reach the table. What do you do when your feet don’t reach the floor and you can’t shift your weight when you feel the need? Well, you can’t move the chair down to the ground, because then your elbows won’t reach the table. So how about moving the floor up to meet your feet? That’s what the Tripp Trapp® does, by providing a stable footrest that supports a child’s feet and allows it to sit at the correct height, its elbows inheight with the table, in comfort and security. Then there’s the problem of your upper body not being supported because the back rest is too far away. The Tripp Trapp® chair’s unique depth adjustability solves that one, meaning that no matter how big or small your baby, his or her feet and back can be perfectly supported. Not only does this chair grow with your child, it can adjust to custom fit your child’s body, enabling comfortable and natural ergonomic sitting.

Tripp Trapp® design: Peter Opsvik

**Mommy Rambles was provided a Stokke Tripp Trapp in conjunction with a fundraiser**

Baby Bjorn Active Carrier

 

 

Baby Bjorn Carrier Active Organic

Really not sure what to say about this carrier besides, it is a must for moms and dads.

When Faith was tiny, I had so many concerns about her development, both physical and social.  She survived a right hemisphere stroke, has hemiplegic cerebral palsy, and although we didn’t know it at that time, she also has autism. She would often suffer apnea episodes (stopping breathing) and seemed very removed from her environment. One of the things that both Jimmy and I felt was imperative, was keeping her involved in the world. The thought of her hanging out in a stroller being pushed ahead of me at knee level was not ok with me. Nor was her spending time hanging out in her car seat, away from touch and stimulation. She needed the extra protection, touch and movement that a pack carrier provided.

For us, the Baby Bjorn carrier was perfect! She was safe, secure and I could feel her breathing. She was kept at just about eye level. As we engaged people around us, so did she. Walking down Rainbow Row, shopping in the mall, running through airports, riding the ferry. We used our carrier almost daily for just about 3 years. It was incredibly comfortable for both Jimmy and I to wear, and it adjusted size in a flash. The fabric held up beautifully to literally years of wear.

When I look back at Faith’s babyhood, I truly feel that this was one of the best purchases we made.

www.babybjorn.com/us

Caring for the next generation

For us, keeping the next generation in mind has always been a top priority. That’s why we’ve launched a line of products made from organically grown cotton. With BabyBjörn’s organic products you keep your child happy and safe while protecting the environment.

The BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Active is one of the BabyBjörn favorites we’ve chosen to produce using fabric made from organically grown cotton. The baby carrier is sturdy and designed for anyone who leads an active everyday life. The baby carrier provides the proper pressure point relief thanks to the enhanced lower back support and wide, padded shoulder straps. At the same time your child is safe and sound in the baby carrier.

The baby carrier is easy to put on and take off without assistance. All adjustments are made from the front. As with all our baby carriers, it was developed in collaboration with medical experts to suit newborns optimally.