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Putting My Dreams on Hold

When I was young, I always dreamed of being a writer.

I would write short stories. Mostly horror since Stephen King and R.L Stine were my favorite Authors.

At Fifteen, my dreams took a shift. I was blessed with an amazing little angel, but because of a medical mistake, my daughter suffered from seizures. Which led my daughter to being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.

I soon realized that my life was going to be consumed with a lot of therapy and doctor appointments.

My mom insisted I go back to school and graduate high school. My sweet mom took care of Ciara while I attended high school, graduated, and while I attended college.

I was unable to finish College due to Ciara’s needs getting more demanding.

After years of therapy appointments, doctor appointments, SSI meetings, fighting medicaid and her daily care, I felt depressed.

I did what I had to do but never went above and beyond for Ciara.

Ciara grew closer and closer to my mom because my mom gave her the attention she craved.

I was hurt that Ciara loved her more and couldn’t figure out why she didn’t love me as much as my mom.

After many prayers, God opened my eyes!

I realized, Ciara didn’t ask to be born to a single, Fifteen year old mom, and she sure didn’t ask for a medical mistake to take place that led her to having to struggle for the rest of her life.

I sat back and saw how strong my daughter is. I saw the impact she has on others in her life. I saw that my girl has a purpose in life, greater than I can ever imagine, and I was very blessed to be a part of her journey.

Ciara has the kindest heart, and the best outlook on life. She warms people’s hearts with her amazing smile. I am very lucky to have her call me mom.

Now, I live for her, to help make all her dreams come true, and to make sure she always has a reason to smile.

Of course, I still live my own life. I go out with friends, not as much as I would like, but life gets in the way of that.

I also make sure my son always knows that I love him. I try to spend extra time with my son and husband, so they don’t feel like my whole life is about Ciara.

Ciara is my best friend, and I can’t imagine my life without her. I am so proud of the young lady she has become. Ciara and I are a team so, when she succeeds, so do I!

Of course, I haven’t given up my dreams of writing. I have my blog, and I hope to one day, write a book about Ciara. My dreams are just on hold, just until God let’s me know it’s time.

Of course, I’m not saying you have to give up your dreams, if you have a special needs child. I know a lot of very strong moms that do it all. Putting my dreams on hold, was just what I felt was best for my child.

Don’t give up on your dreams, just put them on hold!

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Why I Love Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Shop

As some may know, my daughter ,Ciara, recently started her very first job.

In summer of 2021, I heard about a coffee shop called Bitty & Beau’s was coming to Waco and they were going to be hiring people with disabilities.

Ciara and I decided to attend the job fair, just to check it out. We didn’t get our hopes up, in fear of the job not being accommodating to her needs.

We soon realized they were interviewing applicants that day.

Ciara was doing so good in her interview, without my help. That’s when it sank in that this could happen, my baby girl, could get this job.

A few weeks later, I received THE e mail… Ciara got the job! They wanted to give the news to all the employees together at one event. They disguised the event as a wiffleball tournament at Katy BallPark in Magnolia Market.

When we arrived at the event, we were greeted with popcorn and lemonade.

Ciara was a little confused but was excited to see what a whiffleball tournament was.

The field was bombarded with people holding signs saying “You Got the Job“.

Mark and Amy Sauer (the owners of the Waco location) and Grace Casper (general manager of the Waco location) entered the field holding Bitty & Beau’s aprons.

They called each employee, one by one, to come up and receive their apron.

To say Ciara was excited is an understatement.

It was such a special moment for all the employees, families, and friends.

Ciara has started her new job at Bitty & Beau’s, as the drink caller. They have a very unique way of calling their orders. After you place your order, you are given a playing card, when your order is ready the caller calls your card.

Ciara couldn’t be happier with her new job. They have accommodated all her needs and made her feel like an adult.

We really never knew if this could be possible for Ciara. For her to be independent at her job and in a safe work environment.

I feel like Bitty & Beau’s made a dream of Ciara’s come true.

I can never thank them enough but I would like to to say thank you to Mark and Amy Sauer (the owners of Bitty & Beau’s Waco) and the Founders Ben and Amy Wright.

If you want to learn more check out their website https://www.bittyandbeauscoffee.com or come by one of their many locations. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

You will be greeted by some of the most amazing and dedicated employees and some pretty amazing drinks as well.

They also have merchandise you can purchase that has their slogans “Not Broken” and “Radically Inclusive“. You can even purchase Bitty & Beau’s aprons.

You may even catch them during a dance party and join along.

“It’s More Than a Cup of Coffee”.

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My Accessibility Dreams

When you have a child in a wheelchair or if you yourself are in a wheelchair, you notice accessibility problems in OUR World.

Most people never notice these problematic situations, unless you have experienced such problems. I know that I never noticed accessibility problems until I had a special needs child.

In a perfect world, everything would be accessible for these amazing people, people that have to face struggles everyday. Why should they have to struggle with accessibility.

My dream would be that every business, house builder, and individuals in the community would consider people with disabilities and make every place accessible.

Here are a few of My Accessibility Dreams.

More Ramps

Every business should have ramps for wheelchairs. When Ciara is in her power chair, there is no way to lift it over a curb, it is extremely heavy.

You would think every place of business would have ramps, but we have ran into obstacles at places such as Churches and older buildings.

Automatic Doors

I wish every place would have automatic doors or a button to push that allows the doors to open and stay open long enough for a person in a wheelchair to get into building.

Ciara is fortunate enough to have me accompany her to open all doors for her, but I can’t imagine how hard it is for independent people in wheelchairs to open the door and to maneuver into the building. People are not always nice enough to open doors for people with disabilities, and automatic doors give people with disabilities the freedom to be independent.

More Accessible Parking

So I know everywhere we go has accessible parking, but sometimes there is only 2 or 3 spots which makes parking hard for people in wheelchairs.

We have a van with a side wheelchair lift, which requires us to park in wheelchair van accessible spots, the spots with lines on the side, to be able to lower the lift and safely unload a person in a wheelchair.

If there were more van accessible spots, that would make life so much easier for people who have to depend on those spots.

Save Handicap Parking for the Handicapped.

Now, I know a lot of people have disabilities without being in a wheelchair and depend on the accessible parking, but if you don’t require a wheelchair, please save the van accessible parking spots for people in wheelchairs.

If you are not disabled, please don’t take the accessible spots, if I can’t find a spot to park to unload Ciara it leads to us either parking way out in the parking lot so that nobody parks next to us, so I can lower the lift to unload her. Or if that’s not an option, sometimes we just have to leave that place off business.

Think About Your Guest in Wheelchairs

This is one of those you don’t think about it unless you have been, there kind of requests.

If you are planning a big event, think about your guests that require a wheelchair. Make sure there is spots open for a wheelchair to maneuver and park.

There has been so many times we attended weddings where Ciara literally had to sit in the aisle, that the bride walks down, because there was no place to park her chair other than the aisle.

I know sometimes that’s impossible to do, especially places that have bench seats, but if there is a way to remove a chair for a wheelchair to be placed, they would greatly appreciate it.

Adult Changing Tables and Accessible Bathrooms

Most places have that one stall that is accessible. It’s bigger and has bars installed. It would be nice if there was more than one accessible bathroom but a changing table for adults and children would be wonderful.

There are times I need to change Ciara’s pull up while we are out and I have to do it from her chair. If you have never changed a pull up from a wheelchair, it is challenging for sure.

Cooks Children’s Hospital has a bathroom with a big changing table, with controls so you can lift it and lower it, which is extremely helpful for transferring. But why only have them in hospitals, why not have them in stores and doctors offices as well.

Accessible Seating

In a perfect world, every place of business would have seating for wheelchairs.

Restaurants are terrible about not having wheelchair seating. We remove a chair for her wheelchair to fit but there is never enough room. We are always cramped and feel overcrowded.

Also, why do theaters always have one wheelchair spot right in front of the screen?? We break our necks looking up at the screen, it is not a comfortable experience. I have found only one theater that has a wheelchair lift to take people to their seat. It was wonderful! The Hippodrome in Waco is by far our favorite place to watch a movie.

Amusement Accessiblity

If you ever had to tell your child “No, you can’t do that because it’s not wheelchair friendly” you know the heartbreak you feel. Having to tell your child they can’t do something because of accessibility. We tell our kids they can do anything, but then you have to explain to them they can’t do it. That’s the worst feeling in the World.

Now, I know not every amusement park, Waterpark or Parks in general can have everything wheelchair accessible, but why not have some things that people in wheelchairs can enjoy.

One of the many reasons I love Morgan’s wonderland in San Antonio, is that everything in the park is accessible, they even have a Waterpark and photo props that a wheelchair can go behind. Sea world was also surpringly accessible.

These are just a few of the struggles people in wheelchairs face, the list could go on and on.

We face struggles everyday with accessibility, if more people put themselves in the shoes of a handicapped individual, we could make this world accessible!

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Accepting Help

Recently my life has been turned upside down.

Between my mom getting sick, my daughter starting her first job and the million other things going on in my life. I have realized that I need help!

Why is it so hard to ask for help or accept help from others?

I am the worst about not accepting help from others, even help from my own husband.

I try to do it all and start feeling like I am drowning in a sea of my own self pity.

After a very long, busy week and too many breakdowns to admit, I have decided I need help.

When my husband asks what he can cook for dinner, I usually scuff at him and say “it’s easier to do it myself“, but I am going to start letting him take the reigns and help me with dinner time.

When other special needs mom’s offer their help with finding new therapists or medical equipment, I usually don’t want to bother them with my problems but I am ready to accept their help.

I am ready to accept that I am human and need help sometimes.

We get so caught up with life and forget that there really is people that want to help.

I know I am guilty of telling people “let me know if you need anything”. And I forget that most people don’t want to have to ask for help, so I try to offer ways that I can help them. But we all should learn to ask for help, sometimes people just don’t know what you need help with but are willing to help you.

Accepting help doesn’t make you any less strong, we all know we can do it all but why not let your sanity have a break.

Stay strong moms!

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When Your Parents Get Older

I’ve recently had to learn how hard it is when parents get older and start having health problems.

My parents were older when I was born. My mom was 35 and my dad was 32 when I entered this world

So now they are both in their 70s and having to depend on me more to take care of them.

My mom has been battling health problems for years but it has really taken a toll on her here recently.

It’s so hard to watch the person who raised me to be a strong woman, become fragile and defeated.

With every hospital stay, I start feeling as if I am losing my biggest fan in life. The one who has stuck by my side for 37 years. The one I turn to when anything goes wrong in my life.

I start regretting every argument with her and every bit of stress I put on her.

I question whether or not she knows how much I love her and vow to show her how much I love her every single day.

This is a new season of life, where I have to accept that I WILL lose my parents one day and most likely I will not be ready for them to leave me.

All I can do is be there for them and spend all the time I can with them.

So my advice to you is, enjoy every minute you have with your parents, because one day you will have to watch them get old and fade farther and farther away.

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Ciara’s Favorite Birthday Parties

I know I am a late but on October 8th my beautiful daughter turned 22.

We didn’t have a party but she got to spend the whole day visiting some of her favorite places.

In honor of my special girls’ birthday, I wanted to share some of her favorite past birthday parties.

I loved planning each and every one of these past birthday parties.

Please excuse the quality of the pictures, I had a really sucky camera.

Pink Poodle Party

For Ciara’s 11th Birthday, she wanted a pink poodle party, since we had just adopted a tea cup poodle.

We hung balloons from the ceiling and set up tables for the her guest.
Each girl had their own place setting with their own stuffed poodle.
My mom makes the best cakes!
Each girl got to make their own poodle purse and bracelet.

Ciara’s Sweet 13 Party

For Ciara’s 13th Birthday she decided she wanted a candy Themed Birthday party, complete with a lot of candy.
I made lollipop and sucker centerpieces.
We had a ton of candy and my mom made the cutest candy themed birthday cake.
We even had a photo area with different funny props.

Owl Sleepover Party

For Ciara’s 14th birthday she wanted a sleepover party with all her favorite girls.
Gift bags for the girls with sleepover essentials, you know candy and glowsticks.
The tablecloths were actually twin size blankets and sheets.
Another amazing cake from my sweet mom!
Owl cupcakes I made.
The cotton candy tree was a big hit with the girls but the cotton candy started to harden before the party started.

All the girls made paper plate owls. We also had a glow in the dark dance party and played hide and seek until the girls finally decided to fall asleep.

Ciara’s Princess Sweet 16

Ciara’s sweet 16 birthday was by far the biggest party we have ever thrown.
We rented a beautiful event venue.
All the centerpieces were princess themed and included a picture of Ciara from every birthday for the last 16 years.
She had All pink treats fit for a princess.
Of course grandma made the best cake and cupcakes for her princess Ciara.
Did I mention she had her own DJ and photo booth!
And the biggest surprise of the night, Ciara got her very own golf cart!

CSI Murder Mystery Party

Anyone who knows Ciara, knows she loves murder mysteries and CSI. I decided to order a murder mystery kit to celebrate her 18th birthday.
If you have never done a murder mystery party, you are missing out! It was so much fun. Everybody came dressed as their chosen character and the mystery kit included all the rules and everything we needed for the party.

Of course we had a ton of food with crime scene labels and an amazing cake by my mom.
Luckily Ciara’s birthday is in October so I used Halloween decorations as props. We even had a mugshot photo booth.

Ciara’s 21st Birthday Party

For Ciara’s 21st Birthday we had an adult sleepover and turned her room into an upscale night club.
We had a donut bar and no 21st Birthday would complete without alcohol, so we had a mimosa bar.
Everyone got to take home a souvenir wine glass and surprisingly I made the cake, with my mom’s assistance.
We played games about how well they know Ciara and ended the night with face masks and makeovers.

I hope you enjoyed looking at Ciara’s favorite Birthday Parties.

Leave me a comment if you would enjoy more posts about party planning.

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How to find the Best Vacation Rentals

Using apps such as VRBO, Air BnB, and Homeaway have become increasingly popular.

Many people are moving away from Hotels and instead choosing a more “home feel” vacation rental.

I have been using such apps for many years. I find that vacation homes are more private and comfortable.

Through my many vacation house rentals, I have learned a few things that help when you are searching for the perfect vacation rental.

Start with the Basics

We all know first you have to choose your vacation location.

On some sites you can find specific areas to search. For instance, if I want to go to the beach in Texas, I would search Texas Gulf Coast.

You can choose from different options , just type the State you are looking for vacations rentals and it will show you different location options.

Think about your Vacation Dates

It’s always best to know when you are vacationing, because some of the best rentals go fast.

There are a couple things I go by when choosing my dates.

It’s cheaper on weekdays. Most vacation rentals will have a cheaper weekday price rather than the weekend price.

Also, they have off season discounts. I like to use this discount during Spring break. In Texas, it’s still pretty chilly during our Spring Break, so the beach rentals are still on off season prices. We usually can’t swim but it’s perfect weather for fishing and enjoying the spring air.

Use the Filter Option

Some apps and websites have a filter option, where you can choose certain items you want in your vacation rental, such as Amenities and location type.

I always use the filter to eliminate rentals I am not interested in.

You can also filter the price so that you don’t see rentals you can’t afford.

Pay Attention to Details

As I am reading the property description, I pay attention to details that I may not like about the property. Such as stairs. With my daughter being in a wheelchair, I have to pay attention to details such as bedrooms being upstairs or stairs to enter the property.

I also look at the house rules. If the house rules are a mile long, that usually means they are going to be picky about every little thing in their vacation rental. You want to feel comfortable on vacation, not worrying about every little thing you do.

Check the Map

I like to check the map, just to make sure the location is exactly where I want to be.

They won’t give you an exact address until you reserve the rental, but they do give you a location on the map.

Read the Reviews

Lastly, make sure to always read the property reviews.

I have been guilty of not reading the reviews first and ending up with a horrible rental experiences.

I hope these tips help you plan an amazing vacation!

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Dealing with Grief

My family recently lost two amazing people due to Covid-19.

In August we learned that my husband’s cousin and her husband were being admitted to the hospital because of covid complications.

Not even a month later they both were taken away from us.

The pain was unreal, like we were living a nightmare.

Anger set in and the whys. Why did they have to die? Why did this virus have to take them away from us?

I cried for days, until I learned to deal with my grief.

I sat and thought about how blessed I was to have had them both in my life for 20 years.

I thought about all the special memories I was lucky enough to get to share with them.

Most importantly I thought about all the wonderful things this amazing couple taught me.

I would like to share what I learned having these incredible people in my life.

Susie taught me to let the people I love know how much I love them. Susie was the most loving person I have ever met. She would let everyone know how much she loved them and how special they were to her.

Terry taught me unconditional love for your spouse. He loved Susie so much and stood by her side through thick and thin.

They both taught me to be spontaneous and to live life to the fullest. They always had so much fun, no matter what they were doing.

Susie taught me to help others in need and to be kind to everyone. Susie would help anyone in need and she could have hour long conversations with people she didn’t even know.

They both taught me to be a better person and a better Christian.

I am a better person having known them and I am beyond blessed to get to say they loved and cared about me.

I am grateful for every minute I got to share with them and all the laughter we once shared.

The sadness is still there but I know they are together in Heaven, rejoicing with the Lord.

The pain doesn’t just go away, but celebrating their lives and remembering all they passed on to me and my family, has helped me through the grieving stage.

I would like to honor them by letting you all know that COVID-19 IS REAL! If you don’t believe in getting vaccinated, please don’t judge people who do choose to get vaccinated. Please don’t hinder people’s choice in getting the vaccination.

Think of other’s feelings that have lost loved ones to this senseless virus before you say hurtful things about the vaccine or wearing masks.

Stay safe out there, and pray for the ones fighting this virus and the ones dealing with the grief of losing their loved ones.

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I Support Self Love

It has come to my attention that some may think that I don’t support weight loss or weight loss surgeries.

I support self love and I would love to see every woman, big or small, to love yourselves no matter their size.

I struggle as a plus size woman to love myself, but I also know that women that are not plus size, struggle with insecurities as well.

If you don’t love yourself as a bigger woman, you won’t love yourself as a skinnier version.

In all honesty, I would most likely have the gastric sleeve (if I could afford it). Not for vanity purposes, but to feel more comfortable in my own body.

Do I think all medical problems disappear after weightloss?? Nope, I know for a fact that some health problems follow you after weight loss.

That being said, I do think that being overweight comes with its own set of problems. Such as back and joint pain from carrying that extra weight. And extra weight does make it harder to get around.

So I absolutely support weight loss and weight loss surgeries for better health.

I personally don’t think people should depend on weight loss surgeries to help them feel better about the way they look. If you don’t love yourself, the way you are, then no amount of surgeries will help you to love yourself more.

I personally want to love myself 100% the way I am and I don’t want to think of weight loss as a way to feel prettier or more attractive.

I still struggle with my insecurities and I am learning to love myself but I know I am not quite there yet. I do know that if I lose 100 pounds, I will still face insecurities, until I truly love myself the way I am.

So in conclusion, I support weight loss and weight loss surgeries, my only hope is that women will see their true beauty before weight loss and do it for the right reasons. Remember, you will not love yourself after weightloss if you do not love yourself before.

Stay Beautiful my friends!

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Possum Kingdom Vacation

We recently visited Possum kingdom for the first time, and I have to say it did not disappoint.

The vacation rental we rented was perfect!

It was a small cottage right on the lake, like literally the lake was in our back yard.

It was so relaxing sitting on the back patio, watching the lake, listening to music and fishing.

The fishing was great, my son was the fishing champion catching 15 fish!

Ciara enjoyed floating in the lake and the house was completely accessible so our backs really enjoyed that.

We enjoyed every meal from the outside kitchen and even watched TV on the patio Television.

Now, the Wifi did not work too well so streaming shows was out of the question. But honestly it did not bother us, we got to enjoy each other as a family and never missed the Wifi.

It is also a little off the beaten path, so city folks might feel like they are in the back woods but we loved it!

If you are in Texas and want a relaxing vacation, I would definitely recommend this gem.

Here is the link Check out this Vrbo rental:
https://www.vrbo.com/4503433ha?unitId=5104779&adultsCount=1&childrenCount=0&noDates=true

We had an amazing vacation and cannot wait to go back!