Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Can Be More Than Just Spooky…

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Today is a day that kids dream about…Halloween! AKA Get all the candy in my belly day! What some people don’t realize is what a challenge Halloween and Trick or Treating can be for kids who live with invisible struggles like Juvenile Arthritis, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and Asperger's just to name a few. It can be more than scary…it can be painful and intimidating. 

This year we were fortunate in the fact that Monkey is doing well with his pain thanks to the treatment he’s on. He walked with his dad and brothers for a full two hours of Trick or Treating. That night he did wake up in the middle of the night sore and needing Tylenol but it’s better than how things went last year. Last year he only walked a couple blocks before asking me to carry him and finally asking to just stay at the house and hand out candy instead. Since we are aware of his issues I made sure to make myself more accessible to kiddos this year. Rather than sitting inside and waiting for the kids to come up the steps to our door I sat outside on the sidewalk so they could easily come for their treats. So many kiddos were in strollers or wagons…whether they too were living with an invisible struggle I may never know about but I’m glad that we were able make it easier for them to get their goodies.

So if you are participating in Trick or Treat this evening please take a moment to consider those who may be struggling. Remember that you can’t always see the pain or struggle that some one is dealing with. Be patient with the kiddos and their parents as they are out and help make it a wonderful experience. Who knows how you may bless some one by just a small gesture of kindness and understanding. You can also read another great post about Halloween challenges by my good friend, Kim, over at Living with Juvenile Arthritis who says:

“Reading Jen’s blog and thinking of my kids, made me think about a few more things. Look at all that the CP and JA moms have in common. What about all the other disabilities?  Do you have any non-food treats (like vampire teeth or spider rings) for kids that have severe food allergies or other dietary restrictions (like kids with Diabetes, or ADHD)?  Will you be the one to say “MANNERS!” to the child who grabs a handful of candy, but unbeknownst to you, is autistic? Or will you be the house that we, the parents of children with special needs can breathe a sigh of relief when you kindly answer the door, and have treats we can enjoy, with just a sweet comment about our child’s costume?”

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Big Top is headed to Pittsburgh!

That’s right folks! The circus is coming to town! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus to be exact! I have to admit…I’ve never been to a ‘real’ circus…not that I can remember at least. I mean, I’ve seen the small ones at amusement parks but never the real deal like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey! To say that I’m excited…well, that’s an understatement. And the boys…man, oh man! Zim, I think, is especially pumped for the show. After all, he is the one who wants to be a street performer when he grows up!

This particular show is special though! Why you ask? I have one word for you….DRAGONS! DRAGONS is a once in a millennium event that honors The Year of the Dragon. Circus performers from the farthest reaches of the earth have assembled for Ringling Bros. presents Dragons to showcase their astounding acts of bravery and astonishing athleticism. Ringling Bros. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson presides over this fantastical celebratory tournament of circus champions that brings together mystic dragon lore with authentic circus feats. Dragons is a never-before-seen blend of renowned spiritual and real life legends that can be found only at The Greatest Show On Earth!

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DRAGONS will be in Pittsburgh from November 6-10 so there are plenty of shows to catch while they are in town! Tickets can be purchased through www.Ringling.com, Ticketmaster, Dick’s Sporting Goods Box Office at CONSOL Energy Center or call 1-800-745-3000 to reserve your seats.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Little Family Adventure with a Big Duck

Last week Ed and I decided to take the boys on a little adventure to downtown Pittsburgh. The boys LOVE when we go to the city…I mean, what little kid wouldn’t be in awe of the big, beautiful buildings, all the bridges, the sports stadiums and the people?! This time though we were on a mission…a mission to see the BIG DUCK! Yup, that’s right, I said big duck! I’m not sure what the deal is with the duck other than it’s pretty cool and it’s drawing a ton of attention to the city of Pittsburgh (which I’m sure they are loving!). The boys were pretty pumped about it too. They honestly couldn’t believe that the duck would be almost as big as our house.

We took a drive down to the city and they got so excited as we caught glimpses of the duck from afar. We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and walk the river walk from the Science Center over the bridge to Point State Park. It was fun to see how small the duck looked from across the river.

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Once we got to the other side the we had some fun taking pictures with the duck…

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And of course we had to check out the fountain!

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The boys found their own fun as we walked along the outskirts of the park…everything’s a playground to them!

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After running around and having so much fun we were all ready for some lunch so we headed over to Market Square. We were pleasantly surprised to find a farmers market set up in the Square for the day! (Well, Ed and I were…the boys not as much.)

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We eventually made it to Noodles & Company for some lunch. I have one word for you….YUMMO! Definitely my new fav for food! Too bad there isn’t one closer…then again, maybe it’s better for our budget and my waist this way.

Once our bellies were full we took the Trolley back over to the Science Center and let the boys run around in the Sports Works complex for a bit before heading home. It was such a perfect time to be there! I think there were two other families there besides us so there weren’t any lines to wait in and they could play to their hearts’ content. Even Ed got in on the fun jumping on the trampoline and climbing with the boys!

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All in all we had such a wonderful family day together. Every day I feel blessed but on days like this the love in my heart just bubbles over. I love the memories we are making together.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Photography Fun–Senior Pictures

I’ve been really blessed this fall and have had quite a few opportunities to do something I love…photography. Today I’m going to share some senior pictures from two shoots that I had the privilege of doing.

Anna – class of 20142162429405158646667


Nicole – class of 2014

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pizza Bagels–Cooking with Kids!

I love to cook and often times I have lots of little hands to help me. Lately Bubba has taken a real interest in more than just cookies and ‘fun’ stuff. He’s been asking to help with dinners and he’s even cooking lunch for him and the boys at times. Granted it’s just mac n cheese but still! This past week I put him in charge of dinner and he was able to do it all on his own (supervised of course). Pizza bagels are a family favorite and super easy for Bub to make…here’s how we do it!

Preheat your oven to 375* and gather your ingredients…Mini bagels, pizza sauce (I just use my red sauce), cheese and pepperoni).

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Split your bagels and lay them out (flat side up) on a baking sheet (I put foil down just to make clean up easier).

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Spread a little sauce on each bagel…Bubs used a basting brush but you could also use a small spoon.

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Add cheese and a couple pepperoni to each bagel.

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Then place in the oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them the last couple of minutes. Sometimes they need a little extra time other times they are done before 10 min. is up. Once they are finished, let them cool then enjoy!

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Bubba was so proud of the fact that he made us dinner all on his own. I think cooking is such a wonderful thing to teach our kiddos, especially boys. I tell them that some day they will really impress the girls with their cooking skills. ;)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Painting Fun for a Great Cause!

This past Sunday a group of us got together to not only have some fun but to also raise money for our dear friend Kate. It was so much fun painting and laughing all while raising almost $700! Not too shabby! I also want to give a HUGE shout out to Casey from Off the Wall Arts and Barbra from The Ave. on Thompson for helping make this event possible.

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