Sunday, October 25, 2015

Bippity Boppity Boo: Turning a wheelchair into a carriage

[Re-publishing in time for Halloween]

Someone wanted to be Cinderella for Halloween. And if she was going to be Cinderella, then she needed a crown AND a carriage.

The crown was easy.

The carriage was a bit trickier.

I checked Pinterest and came up with a plan based on the wheelchair this mom had made.
Once I started assembling ours though, we had a problem. If I built the carriage around the seat or enclosed the carriage at all, Ying couldn’t see to drive. Party foul and a moving violation!

So, I revamped my plans a bit and sent out an SOS text to my neighbor who came over to assist.

Here’s the final result (minus Cinderella in costume):
wheelchair carriage-001
In case the Cinderella in your life needs a carriage, this is how we did it. I wrapped white crepe paper around two hula hoops. Then I wrapped tulle around the first hula hoop. I pulled the tulle through the center of the hoop and tied it into a pouf with a rubber band. I wrapped the tulle taut around the handle bar and then pulled the tulle through the second hula hoop. Then we zip tied the hula hoops to the chair and handle bar in four different places. (Once we had the zip ties in places, you couldn’t move the seat up and down.)

Finally, we used orange wired ribbon to tie off the poufs. Then I hot glued stars to the tulle. I used rubber bands to tie off the tulle so that we can recreate the carriage again for the school Halloween party and trick-or-treating.
pink wheelchair to carriage
Cinderella thought her costume was beautiful and her carriage divine!

Cinderella not what your princess had in mind? Here are a whole bunch of other wheelchair costume ideas.

Monday, October 5, 2015

I’m Blogging Again. Find me here.

You thought I stopped blogging, yeah, I did too. But I’ve started again. You can now find me over here at In Pursuit of Living Loud.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beyond Waiting Room Magazines

bowl of cherries

When I think of summer, it conjures up visions of a good book, a sweating glass of lemonade and a hammock. Unfortunately, I don’t have a hammock (or shade trees to tie a hammock to, which is the real reason I don’t have a hammock.)  But even if I did, I’m not getting much opportunity to use it right now. 

We have an upcoming surgery for one little person + we’ve had a extra doctor & therapy appointments + one little miss is enrolled in hula class and one little man in martial arts = a whole lot of time either in the car or in a waiting room.

While none of those things exactly screams SUMMER FUN, it hasn’t been all bad. We’ve gotten to spend a lot of time together and we’ve found things we enjoy doing while we wait, which far beats out aimlessly flipping through out-dated magazines in the doctor’s waiting room.

For the car –  We all like to listen to these Sparkle Stories. They are soothing and enjoyable, which makes morning rush hour traffic much more palatable. We also like StoryNory. When traffic isn’t as hairy, a bunch of songs from here make for good car sing-alongs. Make up imagination-filled silly stories about what you see (Do you see that green car that got pulled over? I bet he was going too fast because he forgot his….)

For the waiting roomI Spy books; lacing cards are both good therapy and a great calming tool, these portable Lego activities are fun; free face drawing printable; draw a half of anything and have your child finish the other half: robot, face, truck, etc…,

For the driver/mama – podcasts, podcasts, podcasts. These are great not only in-route but also for the dinner prep and dishes, etc… that await you when you get back. I’ve been listening to: The Art of Simple, Lisa Grace Brynne’s MAPP Gathering (amazing!!) and TedTalks.

Learning to wait well is an acquired skill, one that most adults are still mastering (thus the prevalence of screens and exasperated sighing in waiting rooms across the country). If you have an energy-bursting-from- the-seams, can’t-be-contained-child, you probably don’t look twice when you see us doing group jumping jacks at 7:30 AM in the dimly lit Shriner’s underground parking lot. For anyone wearily whispering, “I hear you”: 4 self-regulation techniques you can do anywhere and this calming exercise. When all else fails, you can step outside and  go all old-school VBS revival with I’m Going to Sing, Sing, Sing and I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy. If you’re not feeling quite as Spirit-filled, try the Hokie Pokie.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Disability Doesn’t Make You Exceptional

Occasionally, people will tell me that they can picture Ying as a motivational speaker when she grows up. That’s always kind of made me bristle. It’s not that I don’t see that as a valued profession, it’s more that it’s just so clich├ęd. I mean honestly, wouldn’t it just be awesome if she was a surgeon, a mathematician, a chef?

Stella Young hits it on the head here with I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much. (Plus, you can charge your phone with your wheelchair’s battery. Say what? Why has no one told me this. That could really come in handy!)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Watch This

You’ll be glad you did. My favorite line from this video was Chris asking his dad what he did to raise him differently from any other child. “Nothing,” his dad said.

Man do I love that. Without further ado, Chris the farmer.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

old hat, new hat


It’s rather obvious that I haven’t been here in quite some time. It would be easy to say I hadn’t written because I’d gotten wrapped up in life. That would be true, to an extent.

The greater truth is that I came to realize how little I actually knew. The other, and somewhat silly, reason is that I felt pigeon-holed by the whole limb different title. I mean, we’ve never seen ourselves as an adoptive family, we’ve always seen ourselves as a family who happens to have adopted. We’ve never seen Ying as a limb different child; we see her as a child who happens to have a limb difference. So why exactly did I start a blog titled limb different?

But as time has gone on, I’ve remembered that I started writing here precisely because I was shiny and new at special needs and limb differences. I started this blog because these are the answers that I wanted when we were starting out. I wanted someone to tell me how to buy a modified car, how to go to an IEP and how to deal with stares in public, and, and, and….

So to anyone stumbling here because you’re starting out, having gotten a little further down the road, I’d tell you this:

Having a differently abled child is as much the fabric of our lives as having a child that runs on high octane – it’s life.

We hardly notice the stares any more. If anything, people come up to us and are very complimentary of Ying and her pink wheelchair. Sure there’s the rogue old man, who tells me he thinks I should tighten the seat belt of Ying’s chair because he’s worried she’ll fall out. But more often that not, I’m meeting the smiles of someone across the way. People seem to feel a great sense of pride in Ying, even people we don’t know.

The questions have gotten harder -- because they now come from Ying herself. We tell her the one thing we know to  be true: we don’t know what God’s reason was, but we know He has a good one.

Do not dismiss the thing you think is hard today. Do not minimize it or trivialize it or compare it to someone else’s definition of difficult. You own it. Some day it will be a measuring stick of how far you’ve come.

Maybe you feel a little isolated, a little alone. Make you think people can’t relate. And to your exact situation, in that exact moment, they probably can’t. Just like you can’t relate to their exact situation at that exact moment. But you are not alone. I’ve been surprised by the painter who casually mentioned an autistic son after seeing Ying. By the coworker who, knowing about our adoptions, talks about a difficult childhood. We were meant to share the hard, to steady the hand next to us, to cheer on the tired mama to the left of us, the stumbling friend to the left of us.

Finally, watch this. Watching this woman put on fake eye lashes will blow your mind, and, sometimes, that’s all the inspiration you need.

Let’s meet here more often. I’d forgotten how much I like it here.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Some parts of the country are sick of the white stuff already, but we love a good snow day.

We woke up Christmas morning to an indoor snowstorm, but this would be fun any fine winter’s day.

1. Hang lots and lots of snowflakes from the ceiling on white ribbon. (Don’t toss them when the snow “melts.” Save them for next year!)

2. Cover the steps and hallway in styrofoam packing peanuts.

3. Go to the dollar store and buy boxes of instant potatoes flakes. It makes for awesome snow and fun pictures.

let it snow

let it snow1

4. Have an indoor snowball fight using everyone’s rolled up white socks.

5. Use kitchen scissors to make flour tortillas into snowflakes. After the designs are cut out, brush the tortillas with melted butter and top with cinnamon sugar. Pop them into a 350 degree oven until brown. It’s dirty snow you can eat.

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