Nathan turned 3 at SeaWorld

I thought this would make a GREAT Thankful post. I am SO Thankful for the friendships and opportunities I’ve had as a Sea World WildSide Blogger.

I meant to post this WAY BACK IN JUNE (BAD MOMMY), but life got in the way, I posted his birthday post and never got around to this.

My baby turned 3 during AdventureCon and SEA WORLD celebrated with him. Shamu even SANG to him!! We brought cupcakes to share. It was as if the entire hotel staff was there to celebrate HIM! Too cute.

Why is this a big deal?! He’s OBSESSED with Shamu. LOVES LOVES LOVES the show and all the whales.

Arena Blake, The Nerd’s Wife, captured these shots of him! I love them so much.


Stylish Gimp Guest Sarah

 This week we have a Stylish Gimp GUEST!! Please Welcome Sarah!


I was asked to speak at a Cerebral Palsy (CP for short) in Boston. I’ve been asked to speak at the same conference before and each year my part gets bigger. The first year I was asked to be part of a panel on transitioning from pediatric to adult care. This year I was asked to give a talk on “a patient prospective,” basically I had 15 minutes to talk about whatever I wanted followed by a short Q&A.

I wanted to try and step up my wardrobe since every time I’ve been asking to speak at the particular conference I’ve been given a bigger presentation (more time, solo speech, etc.)

However there were a few challenges that I had to overcome to make this possible. I’m not a “dress up person”. I grew up surrounded by boys so dresses weren’t the best things to play in after church or fancy occasion, and I’ve never been the biggest fan of wardrobe changes in general.

If you’re not familiar with CP let me fill you in on some of the basics. Every case of CP affects an individual differently, but there are a few commonalities, such as lack of balance and muscles that have a mind of their own.

Translation: You tend to fall more than you’d like to admit & at the worst possible times to boot.

Translation: Wearing fancy clothes has the potential to draw even more attention your nemeses.

I had every intention to deliver my speech standing up but the more I thought about the details and potential pitfalls (emphasis on the fall part) I decided to go with the safety and security (and overall comfort) of my wheelchair.

There’s also the matter of New England weather, “don’t like fall weather in New England, wait five minutes.” Seriously October can be sweltering hot or frigid cold (and this year was the latter, if you can’t tell by my face).

I spoke at the end of the 2nd day but asked to attend both days (in case common themes came up that needed to be added or subtracted from my speech) but that meant I had to come up with 2 outfits.


1st Day Outfit:

Top: Delia’s.
Leggings: Vera Wang, but purchased at Kohl’s, I think.
Necklace: A gift from a friend.
Boots: Stride Rite (yup, the kids shoes) from a local shoe store. They run big. I think they’re 1 or 2 sizes smaller than I usually wear & were still too big.
Socks: (even though you can’t see them) Delia’s, I needed an extra layer to help my boots stay on if I decided to walk around some.


2nd Day Outfit:

Dress: Delia’s
Sweater: Delia’s
Necklace: A gift from a friend.
Stockings: You’ll have to ask my mom since I had to wear hers. I forgot how hard they are to put on so I went through 2 or 3 pairs before I was officially dressed. Then I ripped the pair I finally ended up wearing taking them off. Just don’t wear them if you don’t have to.
Shorts: (I’m an ex Catholic school girl so I always wear shorts under dresses) Sports Authority, I think. Always buy shorts for under outfits off season, they’re practically dirt cheap.
Boots: Stride Rite from a local shoe store.
Socks: (even though you can’t see them) Delia’s, I needed an extra layer to help my boots stay on (even with the layer of stockings).

Linking up with these ladies: WIWW: The Pleated Poppy | Style Sessions | I feel Pretty | Random Wednesday with Shanna | Tucker Up |

Rescue kitty and Baby kitty.

I don’t think I ever posted about Skipper and now we also have Scout.

We currently have THREE cats. Oh boy.

You may remember this post from last year when we got two cats. The boy, Sprout, ran away back in May and the girl, Sadie, (and my big boy) have been lonely and missing Sprout. We got a new kitten. HE’s been perfect and sweet and I could go on but I won’t bore you.



Charlie took the boys on a cubscout campout 2 weeks ago. Sunday morning I got this text.



This guy came home with them. He ate for 30 minutes straight when they arrived. He was starving! Poor baby.



WE took him for a chip scan. We didn’t want anyone going through what we did with Sprout (oh, and remember Mia? and here).

So far he’s struggling to get along with the other cats but none of them are hurting each other, or at least not drawing blood.

We just took both boys for their neutering so let’s hope that calms down the dominant behaviors.

I’ll keep you updated!

Kids in the Kitchen: Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

As you know, we homeschool. I’m always looking for “extras”. I was talking to another mom and then read a blog about a family that assigned each of their kids one meal per week. They had to budget for it, buy the groceries, prep and cook the entire meal. I decided to give  my 9 year old a $15 budget and told him to plan our dinner.

He was excited about our new kids in the kitchen challenge.

He decided on Chips and Queso with Green chili chicken and cheese enchiladas. This was tricky and required some planning. Chicken and cheese are not cheap! 

We already had chicken  and enchilada sauce so I deducted the cost from his budget. We went to the grocery store and he picked out and purchased everything else he needed for the meal.

We forgot the chicken was frozen so I told him we would have to poach it because we were running out of time. He actually knew what that meant! How awesome! Thank you food network.

He completely prepped and assembled the meal and I put it in the oven.  It was delicious and definitely in our favorites rotation now!


What’s my Story?

This post used to be on my story/about me page but I am reworking that and decided to make this a blog post. Surely there are a few of you that missed it and not everyone knows “what happened”. So here ya go.

what happened


I was paralyzed in 1999, just 4 months after my high school graduation. I was just starting my adult life. I was happy.

I remember the day very clearly. I left work and skipped to my car, the sun beating down on my skin. I got home, realized I desperately needed to go wash my clothes, so I called my sister-in-law and asked if I could come over and wash. She said she wasn’t home, but over at a friend’s house and I should come on out. I thought it sounded like fun. My roommate arrived around this time and hopped in the car with me. We hung around for a bit and someone suggested we go out the this little swimming hole.
I got in the backseat of the car, behind the front seat passenger. My best friends decided to drive because everyone else had been drinking except her. When she got behind the wheel I slide over so I would be behind her. There was no real reason for this. I just did. I remember going along the road at sunset, and I remember the road curving to the left. I remember screams.I remember everything slowing down but I remember every detail of where I was and where my body was going. I can close my eyes and relieve every detail..

Suddenly it was dark and I couldn’t move. My best friend was there and she was crying hysterically. She later told me that it looked like an elbow sticking out of the small of my back. My sister-in-law tried to take the wheel and had her foot on the gas pedal. When we went around the curve we hit another car. The car hit where I was sitting, sending me places I won’t describe here.

I was in critical care for several days before they could do the 12-15 hour surgery to stabilize my spine and I was in ICU for a couple of weeks after my surgery. There were a few nights they weren’t sure I’d make it, they even called my family and told them to come back to the hospital one night.

I was in the hospital for a total of about 5 weeks. That’s it. Not really that long if you think about it.
When the doctors told me the news I was not surprised. Somehow, I knew. The only thing I wanted to know is if I could still have babies. If I could life would be okay. They told me yes and I knew my only choice was to move on and adjust. It wouldn’t be easy but I would do it.

My biggest dreams starting falling into place when I met my husband in 2001 and we married in 2002 and I became a mom for the first time in 2004, and again in 2008 and 2011. My boys are the light of my life and while it’s a challenge I wouldn’t trade staying home with them for anything in the world. We began our homeschool journey in 2011  and life is busier than ever. I’m not quite sure why they call it homeschool and stay-at-home mom. We certainly don’t stay home all day, everyday.

I also knew I wanted to go on to connect with others like myself. I found a huge support system through message boards, a website I created in the fall of 1999 and I continue to connect through my blog and backbones, and social media.

I’ve always known the importance of being a part of other’s lives, others JUST like me, but still different.

The virtual connections has been amazing, but I’ve always hoped for more.I want people to meet me and have them meet my family so they can see that their life can still be everything they want it to be, just a little different. I’m beyond excited to share MY story and to hear YOUR story. —

Now all my dreams have come. Despite paralysis, I am a mommy!!!

One thing I’ve said since the beginning is I am changed but still the same. To this day my attitude is positive and I don’t let the injury or the scars get me down. I still do EVERYTHING I want to do I¦just do it sitting down. I have a great life and couldn’t imagine being any happier. People are always asking me how I can be so positive and I tell them it’s because I want to. I dont get feeling sorry for myself. What good does that do me? No, thank you. I want to live my life and enjoy it and no one is going to keep me from doing that, most of all myself. So now you know. I have all kinds of scars on my body as a constant reminder of 9-12-99, but sometimes I still forget. I’ll be going about my business and forget I am actually sitting until I try to reach something high up or far away. It’s quite funny, really.


There you have it. Now you have the basic run down I give my new friends over a glass of wine! 

What’s your story?! I’d love to hear.

November Blogathon: 11 funny chair stories

Todays prompt is to share 30 things about myself because there are 30 days in November! Instead of I will give you my Top 11 paraplegic moments because November is the 11th Month. Strangely, I don’t have many “Funny” stories but here are a few :

11chair storiesUntitled-1

  1. MY soon to be husband carried me down the aisle – I know, it’s not traditional but if you read my wedding story you will understand why.
  2. I had a tire blowout in target. Really. There was a LOUD BOOM. It sounded like a gunshot or an explosion. You know what makes the story even better?! Green goo shot everywhere. Yes, we had used tire goop because we put off ordering tires yet again and that shot everywhere. We switched to solid inserts after that. 
  3. I was trapped in  a restaurant bathroom and couldn’t get off the toilet. My chair kept sliding. Surely you’ve read that story?
  4. I can’t tell you the number of individual lost shoes I have floating around parking lots and gas stations. I can see the look on peoples’ faces now. I finally figured out the trick to making sure we don’t lose show anymore. I starting buying EXPENSIVE shoes. When the cost to replace WENT UP, my husband started being more careful about checking to make sure a shoes didn’t fly under the car when I transferred in.
  5. My water broke – TWICE – and I didn’t know it. I was sitting in wet goo and had no clue. I also realized that I never wrote Nathan’s birth story. I was going to link to it and it doesn’t exist. Ooops.
  6. There was the  time I fell out of my chair and my Mom had to drag me to the living room on a blanket. I was probably about 5 months post and my chair slide when I Was transferring out of the shower and to the floor I went. I scooted onto a blanket and my mom dragged me into the living room. I transferred to a foot stool and into a recliner and then back into my chair. I still don’t know how to get into my chair from the floor without  half-way help like a stool.
  7. My husband left my wheelchair in front of a model home. We didn’t realize until we got home. My purse was on it too. Nice.
  8. The was a lady in a nursing home that asked me for a stamp. She then told me she would pay me back later and asked what my room number was. I was there visiting my husband’s grandmother.
  9. We were visiting the facility in #8 on a different occasion and I was waiting for Charlie to pull the car around. It was dark and rainy. A nurse came up to me and demand to know where my handles were and why I was not in my room. I jerked away from her and she was terribly embarrassed for her mistake.
  10. While watching Nathan at gymnastics I struck up a conversation with another mom. We chatted for the better part of the hour. The next week I show up and wheel right up next to her again. She furrows her brows, points to the chair and asks what happened. Not thinking much of the question after talking to her so much last the week, I told her I was in a car wreck about 15 years ago.  She is still confused. She never noticed the chair the previous week and thought it was new.
  11. I saved my favorite for last. I was going to college at Coastal Bend in Beeville and was getting fitted for a scooter to make the treks across campus a bit easier. When the guy came in he looked at me with a very puzzled look on his face and asked who had fit me for my 18×18 chair. He was furious when I told him. He asked if I knew why on Earth they put me in such a large chair. I told him that the guy measuring me said that EVERYONE IN A WHEELCHAIR gets fat so he never fits you for what you need because you will grow out of it anyways. He said that was horrible and hopefully the other guy was later fired. The size chair I really needed? 14×16. HUGE difference.


More Details from 9-12

As you probably know, I briefly tell the story in FAQs and My story. I don’t go into details. I wrote in a journal the months following my hospital release and I started sharing that here, back in September. My wreck happened at 7:28 pm on September 12, 1999. That moment “changed” me in ways I hope you never have to experience, but I am grateful for everything it has taught me about life and who I am.  At 7:29 I was alive and “still the same” person I was less than 2 minutes before. I’ve often said I was “changed, but still the same”. You will now see that as a tagline in my blog title. Please keep in mind that I wrote this a very long time ago.


If you didn’t read the first part of the post you probably need to do that now. Starting in the middle of story rarely makes sense.


Finally I stopped. All during the time visions of my entire life flashed before my eyes. (I know it sounds cliche but it’s true!) It took a few seconds for me to open my eyes. I’m not really sure if I blacked out. I think I dazed out.  After a couple of minutes I started screaming for help. Sarah ran over right away.Then I heard my Sister-in-law (SIL) calling my name. When I answered all she did was tell me she loved me. Over and over. Sarah stayed there the entire time, holding my hand, doing all she could to comfort me. The paramedics arrived after what seemed like forever. A woman no one was ever able to find made the call from her cell phone. During the time I waited I cried out in pain and fear. I could not move the lower half of my body. I also begged Sarah to call a paramedic “Friend”. She promise she’d have someone call when the ambulance got there. When they arrived they slipped a backboard under me and they took my SIL and me to the nearest hospital. It was a long and painfully bumpy ride. I remember them rolling me into the hospital and asking me weight and height. Then I remember waking up in a private ER room and my “Friend” was sitting with me. He was also a paramedic and used his status to see me. They were only allowing family. I kept dozing in and out and when I woke up again my brother and step mom were in the room. I asked my brother to leave and then cried when he left because I wanted him back. I thought I was going to throw up so my “friend” turned the suction tube on and that scared me. I didn’t throw up. The hospital wanted to keep my jewelry but my “Friend” made sure Sarah got it instead. He had to leave on a call and I feel asleep again and woke to his voice in the hallway. He was coming to tell me they were taking me in a helicopter to Galveston. No he could not go. He introduced me to his friends that I would be riding with. They promised to make the ride comfortable. When they wheeled me into the hallway I saw so many people there to support me. I’ve never been in anything so loud or rough in my life. The helicopter was terrible. I kept shaking but the medics were great and gave me something to sleep. Before I knew it I was in Galveston and there were so many people. There were easily a dozen doctors checking every part of me. I yanked the breathing tube out of the throat and they had to tie my hands down. I remember all the reflex tests. Can you feel this. Yes. Can you feel this? No. what about this? no. This? No.  IT was all gone.

That’s all I have in the journal. I will have to jog my memory and see if I can remember any more details to share with you at a later date.    

Will got glasses

My oldest son got glasses last week. He’s been making comments here and there about his long  distance vision but it really hasn’t been an issue. He’s been complaining about it more and more instead of just mentioning it in passing so we decided to take him in. He was not happy about it. However, he tried on Daddy’s glasses – just to “see” and things were so much clearer he said he didn’t CARE what he looked like. After the appointment we were Sure enough he needed glasses. He picked is frames and he picked them up the next morning. He could not be more content. He’s shocked at what he didn’t know he couldn’t see.

I’m a little biased but I think he looks adorable.


Alrighty, so in November I will plan to blog almost EVERY week day. You can play along too?!


Project 333: the stylish gimp week 2

The first thing I need to announce is my GUEST SPOT on Kelly Gartner’s blog! I could not be more excited she asked me to be a part of her series. Be sure to check out my post and visit Kelly’s blog.

I have officially survived my first week with limited options. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but several times I felt like I was missing out. I have this HUGE closet and only 33 pieces to wear? It feels like a huge waste. I’m not giving up yet though.

I have learned that I may need to make a few changes. I’m not sure I really like sequins anymore and I’m not confident my HOT PINK skirt fits into fall.


I also “Cheated” and made a purchase. I’m a CAbi fan and they only have 2 collections a year. The fall/winter collection expires before my “ban” is supposed to be lifted. I will be trading those pieces for pieces I really don’t want during my challenge. I think EVERYTHING in Day 6 will be “traded”.

One quick note. IGNORE my ripped cushion cover. I am WAY overdue for a new one and keep putting it off. ((BLUSH))

Oh and if you read my blog but are NOT a Facebook fan I would appreciate a “Like”. I’m trying to double my fans by the end of December and so far things are looking GREAT but I need all the help I can get! :)













Linking up with these ladies: WIWW: The Pleated Poppy | Style Sessions | I feel Pretty | Random Wednesday with Shanna | Tucker Up |

Project 333: The Stylish Gimp

I clean out my closet regularly and I have plenty of room to spare, so I’m not looking to minimize out of need.

I’ve reached a point where most of my favorite pieces are my pricier pieces. The pieces I cringed at buying but when I look back, cost per wear is extremely low and they all work beautifully together and alone.

I’ve decided that going forward I will only buy FEWER quality pieces, eventually creating a lovely capsule wardrobe.

While during a little.. Okay A LOT of research, it turns out there are many of clothing challenges that support this level of thinking.

There’s the 30 pieces in 30 days challenge, which seems too easy. There is a 10 pieces in one bag vacation challenge which looks like fun but not for everyday. There’s also Project 333, which I’m doing but modifying just a bit. It’s basically a capsule wardrobe, as mentioned earlier.

You pick 33 items (clothes, shoes and accessories) and wear them for 3 months. I’m picking 33 clothing items and wearing only them for 3 months, but allowing myself all the scarves, jewelry and shoes I want. I’m also keeping my other clothes, as many will fill my spring/summer or rare winter days. Oh and I will pull out a cocktail dress for any holiday parties.

I have also decided not to shop or buy ANY clothing during this experiment. My husband should be ecstatic.

I started my “fall collection” on October 20th, so it will end January 20th. Maybe I fudge it just a little and start my “winter collection” on January 1 so I can stay on track with other 333ers.

Maybe I’ll hate it and not continue. What’s included in my 33 pieces that I must mix/match until the end of the year?

3 dresses:
Black and white stripe
6 pants:
White jeans
Mint cords
Regular Jeans
Black leggings
Navy slacks
Navy dot jeans
2 skirts:
Pink peplum
1 blazer:
B&w stripe
8 cardigans:
Navy dots
Black white
4 button ups
Navy dots
Chambray f
4 blouses
Blue floral
Red floral
4 dressy tanks
Black sweater
Grey sequin
1 stripe t-shirt and 1 dressy purple t-shirt

Navy dot jeans/tan cardigan/Aztec tank

Chambray blouse, jeans (basic white tank NOT included in my list – it doubles as a jammie top so I’m cheating just a little)

Linking up with these ladies: WIWW: The Pleated Poppy | Style Sessions | I feel Pretty | Random Wednesday with Shanna | Tucker Up | Plane Pretty |