Foreign Languages

I love listening to people talk in different languages, I always try to identify the language.  Is it german, spanish, french…  I don’t get frustrated when people speak in a different language because we all have a special code we speak.

Our family speaks in sponge bob, friends and how I met your mother references.  Nic has a pool toy called Swarly after one of our favorite How I met your mother episodes!  Listen to us long enough and you’ll hear Sponge bob references all the time!

When Nic started horseback riding, I started learning the terms, easy ones saddle, stirrup, reins, etc.  Those were easy then the harder ones came, whither pad, flying lead change and others.  I googled, (ALOT – Tony will tell you this is my secret power – if it’s on google I’ll find it) I learned, I watched videos and I educated myself And I thought I was done!

Then someone said Lope – HUH?  What’s a Lope oh and Gelding and then yesterday cinch! You see because this wonderful world has several disciplines but 2 main ones, Western and English, they each have their own language.  Cinch well that’s a girth, Lope well that’s a cantor (I think).

The language is so vastly different than I have ever learned that I feel challenged every day to learn a new word.  I love this, because I am learning and expanding my horizons.  Everyday my child exposes me to a new thing.  Did you know that poles depending on how far apart they are on the ground are either trot or cantor?

I still don’t know what a Gaited horse is – but I will figure it out!  OH And I learned what a hand is in horse measurement!

The point behind all this? Well we get so upset when people speak in different languages – we want them to speak English! Why? Because it’s what WE understand! How about learning what they understand!  Next time stop and think about the language your family speaks, my guess is if I entered your family I would lost at times because you speak your own personal language!

Today take a moment and listen to others (don’t eavesdrop lol) but just listen to the mom talk to the baby, the dad talk to the son and the grandma talk to her friend and see if you can’t pick up on some subtle differences on how they say things and what they say!



Do you ever cringe reading facebook and think wow, that child is so good at (fill in the blank) I admit I’ve unfollowed (not unfriended) people because every single post was oh so proud of sally she walked to the mailbox today, and jonny got up all by himself.  (Ok not exactly but you get the point)

When you have a child with a chronic illness you literally celebrate when they get up early. I got up at 7:30 and nicole was awake (WHAT??!!) Yup! She was awake, she had breakfast, made herself a smoothie and has been swinging and it’s only 11:30! This is huge!!  Of course it’s summer and we have alot less stress, but I am thinking horse therapy could be a real thing for us!

So today I saw on our school district site that they were celebrating a student for getting a merit scholarship.  This is a big deal and I love that we are pumping out super smart actually pretty well adjusted kids, but it also makes me realize my child won’t be one these.  OK I am not looking for poor me’s or for someone to say ‘she can do it’ she can’t – she simply isn’t built that way.

The issue is that while this is a moment to be celebrated, why do we feel the need to post every little thing on social media (and yes I know I am so guilty of this) but why?  Ok if your 5 yo runs a marathon or your 12yo just got her college degree (yes that just happened) then yes let’s celebrate that because well that’s huge!

For the rest of us, let’s build each other up IN PERSON.  Celebrate your kids but do it in community.  Talk to others, share what they are doing in a way that builds them up.  Do you know how often we brag about our kids on social media, and how LITTLE we do that in front of them.  Brag about your kid in front of them!  Tell people little Sally at 12 is getting all A’s or is exceling in whatever it is!

Let’s use less social media and more talk media 🙂

New beginnings

We are well into week 1 of horse ownership and it appears to be going well.  Nic is really bonding with Duke and she rode him for the first time yesterday and while she looked nervous I think she’s doing well.

What I love is that we can barely get into the drive way and she’s getting out of the car.  She practically runs to where he is to see him.  He comes to her right away to say hi.  The bond they have is crazy and it’s only been a few days.  I am so thankful that we decided to go on this journey (even if I am scared to death we are in way over our heads)

The next few months will be a whirlwind, school decisions, horse care, and barn work (Nic starts today at the barn).  I worry about so many things, and her not handling the work is a big piece of it.  However, it’s time she stood on her own, it’s time she advocates for herself.  But I really want to email her trainer and explain her illness. I am going to wait.

I know she’s going to do great but for right now I am going to be freakin out a little!

Being Different

No one wants to be different.  Everyone wants to be accepted and liked by their peers, but we aren’t all liked by everyone.  For some reason God made us to want to be liked, our church calls this wanting to be in Community.  We WANT to be in community with others.  We seek others who have similar interests, personalities and traits.

However, when God makes you different then you struggle to be liked.  You struggle because you question, why am I different, why did God choose me to be like this?  I wish I had the answer for that question but unfortunately until I go home to be with my Father I won’t know.

What I do know is that God chooses who to make different. It’s not an accident, or some freak of nature, I firmly believe its a Choice!  We joke at our house that God made Nicole and Lexa for us because He knew that we would be able to shape and mold both of them!  (of course Lexa is our border collie lol but still)

Nicole is struggling because she was feeling unliked and she wasn’t sure why.  I believe it’s because she’s different and different is scary.  People don’t understand different and when they encounter it they either want to stare or they shy away.

Here is my job as her mom, is to show her being different is amazing, and that she is liked and loved by so many.  She is old beyond her 13 (almost 14) years. And this is scary for teenagers who are working to find their spot in life.  It’s hard to interact with a kid who is your age but acts more like they are 35.

Nicole can’t apologize for how she was made, or why she is mature beyond her years, what she can do is learn to teach others how to open up and understand.  This teaching doesn’t require a classroom, billboard, or even a sign, it simply requires her to be nice, show compassion and be herself.

Tony and I always say that we are simply planting the seeds for someone else to harvest.  Nic is doing the same.  She is showing people how to be compassionate and caring and they don’t even know it yet! She is pointing out to them that being mean isn’t the correct behavior and hopefully they will grow to be better people!

In the interim, Nic is learning how to love herself and how to understand that not everyone is nice, not everyone is going to like you but liking yourself, finding people who support you is more important than anything!

Being Kind and Updates

I am sure that many of you are also following McKenna the baby in Iowa who was hit by a softball at her dad’s game.  I am blown away that something so small could bring so many people together.  I have a friend whose daughter also has a TBI and this is close to my heart.  What I am blown away by is how people find it OK to be so mean on social media.  Why do we not seek to clarify instead of jumping to judgement.  Please remember that you may not always understand the why behind something and instead of asking for more details we jump to judgement.  Let’s all pause today and instead of hiding behind social media, seek to clarify and here’s a thought if you don’t agree with what the person is saying you can just scroll past (I know what an amazing idea LOL)

OK enough on my social media soapbox.  Updates – Yesterday was one of those days where I forget that my child is sick and then I am promptly reminded.

During the day Nic was ‘bored’ – this rarely happens and to hear her say she was bored was kind of nice!  Then after riding for the 2nd to last time she came home exhausted.  I think the stress of knowing she is moving on to a new barn pushed her over the edge.  She came home from riding and promptly fell asleep on the couch for a few hours.  This is what life is like with a chronic illness.

Today is our last day at AZ I can’t say the day isn’t bittersweet.  While I am looking forward to our next steps I am sad to leave the safety net that has been our barn for the last several years.  I will miss Dixie and Talent and Dusty and Moose (AKA old man) and the ponies and well everyone!  I know that our new barn and our new horse Duke we are going to make so many amazing memories!

Here’s to moving on and to new adventures!

Life lessons

It is no secret that Nicole is really wise beyond her age sometimes!  Yesterday she was riding in her last lesson at AZ (this is another story) and she got done and indicated she was going to get a popsicle and her riding partner immediately looked at her and rudely indicated that those were for Grooms only.

OK this is probably true, however the way it was handled could of been so much better, however the way Nic responded showed me her maturity.  She looked that girl and just said OK, she didn’t get upset or mad or even look like she was going to cry.  We got in the car and I mentioned it and she said “yea she could of said that differently”.

You see we often say things we shouldn’t, we jump to conclusions we act out of turn, however it’s how we learn from those and from those around us that mature us.  In that moment she could of said, well she’s just mean (which is what I said) but Nic was beyond mature and we talked through it. I told her I often want there to be a reason.  She’s jealous, she’s having a bad day, etc. However sometimes people just say dumb things and that is the reason.

Today I am going to remind myself that my words have a strong force and that I can use that for good or evil and that I need to remember to use it for good. To build people up and there are times when the answer is no, and that is OK – however its how I say that, that really matters.

This is just life….

When you have a child with a chronic illness or special needs your life often becomes about that thing.  You spend your days worrying about what to eat, where you will go, is it a safe place, do they have what you need.

When Nicole was younger we just didn’t eat out with her.  It just didn’t make sense.  We would do ALOT of carry out.  As she got older we would make sure we had her food with us and we’d go.  4 years ago we took our first vacation with her in many years and I just read my facebook post about being stressed about taking her.  Would she be ok, would we need to take her to the ER…It all turned out fine and we learned a great lesson, we can and will travel with her.

A friend posted a video of a girl walking for the first time, a friend commented that the brother and dog were just asking like it’s a normal day and that sometimes we have to remind ourselves that it is just a normal day.

Yesterday we drove to Shorewood to get Nicole some ice cream – she can have their Sorbet – however the sign said all they had was strawberry banana, so we had to ask.  In that moment I was internally having a panic attack that I was going to have to leave and go somewhere else because Nic is allergic to bananas.  They had mango and we were in the clear, but inside I was so worried that this would be a bad experience for her.  And here’s the deal she would of handled it like a champ! She would of just said, it’s OK and moved on.  I would of been a royal wreck but my 14yo would of just been like, it’s OK I’ll take a diet coke instead.

We no longer stress about having her lunch box when we walk out the door every day, we no longer stress that we can’t go far if we don’t have food for her.  We’ve learned to manage what she eats and are finding more and more things she can eat that are restaurant made.  It has become just a normal day… however its never just a normal day with her.

So the question becomes how to do you make it more normal? Honestly ..  I don’t know… I am not sure I can anymore, we have lived in this ‘not normal’ that I don’t know what is anymore.  So here’s to the not normal and what it means!! Because frankly I don’t want normal anymore!

We bought a horse.. (maybe)

Meet Duke he’s a 4yo Paint Horse who is totally sweet, fast and ready for us to bring home IF We get approval from our trainer.

The process hasn’t been one that is easy, however we have to get that approval. I am hoping we will and afraid we won’t.  Its going to be a weird place if her suggestion is no, and unless it’s because he’s lame we are going to move forward.

I Worry so much about this, about if he gets hurt, if he hurts another horse, its like having a baby – one that you know nothing about!

I don’t think I worried this much when my kids were born!  This is going to be a journey!!

So meet Duke and pray that we get the approval because I can’t go back to the drawing board on this 🙂 horse

Life Choices the good, the bad, the ugly..

So if you are like my husband you just whistled (or attempted to) the theme song from the movie.  If you are like me you simply heard it in your head because, well I can’t whistle.
This week has been tough on all of us, well Nicole and I for sure!  Camp, horseback riding, and life in general makes it tough on a kid with a chronic illness.  Of course there is no doubt that our child does it all whenever she can so it’s not like she is lacking for activities.

One of those activities is summer camp.  Tony and I talked about her potentially going next year.  Our church does an amazing camp – and we’d love for her to go.  She does Blast which is a 3 day weekend in the Dells, but even that can be tough (and we go with her) So I asked her if she was going to camp next year – my facebook feed is filled with people getting ready for camp…

She looked at me and said no – and not just well maybe no, but a hard and fast NO! Why? Well and in her words, mom if I have an allergic reaction, or get a bad headache or need medical attention, there is no doctor, no hospital and frankly noone who can handle it…. Well there is that…

In maturity beyond her years (which she shows frequently and probably because she’s like an only child) she articulated why this wasn’t a good plan.  And honestly in her head why?  She does all of this amazing stuff anyway.   She’s been zip lining, she swims when she wants and she rides horses almost daily.  Why go to camp where there are to many variables to handle.

Yea she’s amazing and I love her and you know what, I am OK with her not going to camp because she’s going to have an amazing summer even without that.  Because I am already planning vacation 2019 which will include Beaches, Kings Island, cubs games and the Ark.  So yea we’ve got it all covered.