A Mom’s Journey into Inclusive Play, Advocacy and Partnership

Inclusive playground visit January 2017.

Advocacy has many meanings. When I think of that word, I imagine protests in the streets to build awareness or a fight to right a wrong with a certain issue. It’s a way we rise up to support people who are under served. It’s how we support a cause to achieve a common goal for the greater good.

Parents with children who have disabilities are the strongest advocates I know. Between medical appointments, school IEPs, state rights and down to daily interactions in the community, we advocate for inclusion, support and compassion. A simple trip to a playground can be a battle of sorts when it’s not designed for all.

Our small town started promoting a new park build with a 10,000 square foot playground in 2016. I was so busy between my kids’ school, the work schedule and life I didn’t think much of the call for community comments. Continue reading

Planning a Petting Zoo Birthday Party for Special Needs Kids

Birthday party invitations are few and far between when you have child with disabilities. My daughter who is part of the SPED program at school has been invited to two birthday parties in the last 8 years. My son who is able-bodied and has a group of buddies he hangs with will get invited to birthday parties throughout the year.

Before we moved out of state from our hometown, it didn’t matter if the party invites came in for her because we had big birthday parties with grandparents, family and cousins. Living in Arizona, we don’t have that network so her parties became dinners with cake and a couple of my son’s friends. Continue reading

Horse Therapy for Kids with Disabilities

Horse Therapy for KidsI love horses. I do. I rode for years with a friend when I was growing up. She was a natural trainer when we were kids and has a successful training business today.

When my husband and I relocated to Arizona, I remember telling him one of my goals was to get back in the saddle. I missed it and was determined to start riding again.

Our new town has an equestrian culture and I stumbled across a horseback riding class for special needs kids. I put my riding aspirations on hold and enrolled our daughter who has disabilities. I was nervous the first session, but it was amazing to see her light up. Continue reading

Sensory Processing Issues and The Morning Routine

Sensory Processing DisorderSequence, lace and bows make little girl clothes cute and adorable. For the little girls with sensory processing issues, cute and adorable becomes a nightmare. It’s scratchy. It burns. It irritates.

Sensory processing issues was a new term we learned when our daughter’s conditions were finally diagnosed. Her conditions include a lengthy list with sensory processing issues plus developmental delays and intellectual disability.

Sensory processing refers to the way the brain receives messages from the senses and turns them into the appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Continue reading

5 Ways Stay-at-Home Dads Are Changing the World

Stay-home Dads RockWhen we lived in Silicon Valley, we did what a lot of what Silicon Valley parents do. We had the double income, two mortgages and two car payments. We also had two kids with two childcare bills. The American Dream, right?

We struggled. We were miserable and knew it wasn’t for us anymore. It was hard to let go because we were both born and raised in San Jose, before the term “Silicon Valley” became so popular. We wanted something different from the norm and California was too expensive to raise our kids on our terms. It took us a few years to decide to relocate. We relocated to Arizona before we had kids and then moved back to the Bay Area. After we had kids, we realized we couldn’t make it work there and the costs were a constant struggle. Continue reading

7 Tips for Relocating with Kids

Relocating with KidsHow many times have you moved? Since my hubs and I were married in 2000, we moved over ten times. Back and forth to Arizona plus several moves around the Bay Area. All without kids. We are in the middle of relocating to a new state. By the time this blog post is published,  we will be on the last leg of our move to Arizona. It’s been a long road.

We agonized over this move. Should we? Shouldn’t we? Will the kids be OK? Will it set them back going to a new school?  The list of questions went on and on. Taking the plunge to relocate is a commitment. It will kick-start a massive coordination effort in order to get you there. Add a six and three year old into the mix and massive turns into mammoth. Continue reading

Giving Thanks with New and Past Traditions

Every year we see post after post about giving thanks during November.  I love reading what people are grateful for and learning about the traditions they share with family & friends. Years back my family had a large party with a traditional Thanksgiving feast every year. Turkey, fixings, candy, dessert and so much fun.

When I was a kid, my sisters and I received a chocolate turkey wrapped in bright foil from See’s Candies. Funny thing is my mom works there now. So my son and daughter get a turkey every year. An old tradition that has continued. Continue reading