Sunday, September 30, 2012


Happy Halloween!  Hah, I know it's not October 1st yet, but it's definitely the season to start thinking about costumes! As you know, I have written for many years about how to create a great costume for kids in wheelchairs and one of my tips was to create a costume built around the wheelchair. Halloween was difficult when Dear Son was a kid because he couldn't hold the Halloween bucket, he couldn't eat candy, he couldn't say, "Trick or Treat" and he couldn't walk. I didn't want that to spoil our fun so I had to get creative. Once I figured out that I should use the wheelchair in our costumes, everything changed.  The Jack in the Box was the first costume I created built around the wheelchair.
My goal in life has been to put the disabled on a level ground with everyone else. At Halloween, my goal is to create a costume using the wheelchair that is so good that normal kids WISH they had a wheelchair just to make their own costume!  This year, my dream has come true! Look at these fantastic costumes! 
1. An Ice Cream Truck!  How fantastic is this?  And how cute!  (Thanks Mary Beth for sending me this photo!)
2. A giraffe for a little girl with crutches!
3. Drums for a little girl with a walker!  Really!  You have to look hard to see the walker. Amazing! I know I just that word a lot but the photo speak for itself!

This photo of the red drums was from have a lot of ideas and tutorials for wheelchair costumes,
4. Or maybe a Harley instead of a wheelchair for a day!

5. Or maybe they could be a construction worker?

6. Or maybe a Pirate's Ship!
Photo Courtesy: Sue Ellen Holmes

This year, the sky's the limit for kids in wheelchairs?  Wouldn't it be cool to have a Halloween Parade for the best wheelchair costume? Hmmm....maybe I'll have to do that this year!
After last year's fiasco where they would allow a costume party at Dear Son's school for "religious reasons", this year they'll allow costumes but no party. Really?  Anyway, I have a great costume planned for Dear Son using his wheelchair and will start construction in a week or so. We are getting some upgrades done now that Dear Son has grown so tall and we have to wait until they install the new parts so I can do the measurements to build the costume over the chair. It should be his best costume yet. You can check out his other costumes from year's past here.
P.S. I gave photo credits when the source was identified. There were many photos without any credits and I apologize for those. If you have photo credits for any of the above photos, please advise and I'd be happy to give proper credit.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Desk Makeover

Last year, Dear Son and I moved into a smaller apartment.  I sold about half of my furniture since it wouldn't fit in the space. Since I sold my kitchen table and chairs, along with my desk, I needed a place to eat and a desk.  I knew I wouldn't live her very long so I decided to look for some a table on Craigslist.  I measured and knew the exact dimensions that I wanted and I managed to find it on Craigslist for $25. Unfortunately, it wasn't in very good shape. I also needed chairs and had borrowed some chairs from my former mother in law until I could find some.  The table however was in rough shape but it was sturdy and the size was perfect.

Here is another view. I needed this table for three functions: eating, pc/office work and to clean up Dear Son in the morning. I have to wash his face and brush his teeth while he's in the wheelchair.
Up close, you can see it needs some work.
 I started by spray painting the legs a gloss black. My original thought was that I'd use a stain on the top, once it was sanded down.
 Once the legs and base was painted a gloss black, I got to work on sanding the top. By hand, lol.  That took a while but it turned out nice.

 Here's a look with the table base all painted and the top sanded down.

I loved it at this stage but knew it needed a stain or something. I actually lived with it a while like this since I couldn't decide on a stain color.  I eventually decided that since it was such a small place, that I needed to unify the furniture by painting it black. I just hated to do that after all of that sanding.

I ended up painting the top with the same paint that I used on Dear Son's dresser. It's a low gloss black paint.  I decided to add a monogram on top. What's nice about the monogram it that you can sit on either side of the table and it's not upside down for either person. Luckily my last name began with an "H"! I also chose a vinyl monogram versus a stencil in case I wanted to use this desk as a table or use it elsewhere should I move. The monogram is removable versus stenciling. I think this monogram is o.k.; I actually prefer a more script type monogram, something a little more elegant however since I wanted this monogram to appear upright regardless of which side of the desk/table you sat,this monogram seemed right.

 I also had a glass top made for it. That way, I didn't have to varnish over the monogram; it kept it removeable in case I changed my mind once I moved. The glass top was a fantastic idea too because it really helps the wear and tear on the table. The table still looks as nice today as the day I painted it! Yay! The down side of the glass top is that it's really hard to photograph since it reflects everything! Here's the finished product.

 I bought a new laptop too. Since my desk is in the center of the room and since I'll use this table for eating, I really didn't want a desktop pc there. Also, when you put your desk in the center of your room, you need to keep it neat and organized:)  If you don't keep your desk perfectly clear, this isn't the desk for you, lol.  I make sure I put everything away every day and don't leave anything on my desk. If you do, it looks messy. Luckily, I am very organized!

 I like working at the desk because I can see Dear Son when he's sleeping and I can see it if he needs my help. Since he's basically an invalid and needs help to roll over and for everything, that is important.  I work from home too so it's nice I can work and see him. I also love all of the light that comes in through the three windows. We have a nice tree outside of the window and it's like living in a treehouse. Very pretty.

I also needed a chair for my desk. I came across this chair at Goodwill one day for $2.99. I decided to buy it until I decided on a pair for the desk. I had priced a pair of chairs for the desk and they were averaging $300-$400.  Well, I bought this chair in the interim and oh my gosh, it is so comfortable that I couldn't part with it! Plus the color sort of goes with the yellow, white and black in the room. I also think the style is modern. The legs however were brown but I painted them black (don't have a photo of that).
Once I decided to use the chair, I looked for another one to match. No such luck.  About that time, I needed a little more storage for Dear Son's stuff. I decided on this black suede ottoman. It was actually called a "gaming ottoman" . It has storage inside and I store a lot of stuff in there. I store Dear Son's suction machine bag, his shoes and other supplies for him. It keeps everything neat plus provides extra seating when Dad comes over and eats lunch. When I move, I can use it centered under the table as a hall table if needed. In a small space, you need things that do double duty and you always need extra storage.  Stuff stresses me out so I like to keep everything nice and neat.
Here is a picture from the other side. (I have since painted the foyer to match the kitchen, lol.) One other item I added, was a small printer stand next to the desk. This holds my phone and external hard drive on top. I purchase a basket to fit on the shelf and that holds my office supplies (pens, stapler, stapler remover, calculator, etc.).  Below the basket, I have my Home Manual and Bill Notebook. No need for a file cabinet and everything is neat and put away.  Since I knew I wouldn't live in this space a long time, I didn't want to spend a lot of money. I found the printer stand at Goodwill for $4.99. Can you beat that? You can see it in the photo below to the right of the chair. I like it too because it keeps the phone and external drive off the top of the desk. I hated having something on my desk.

One last picture. Overall, I am pleased with how it turned out. I am looking to purchase a house next year so I am holding off on the chairs. I think I'll end up using this as a desk so I may decide to get the chair recovered in white leather or I may change the table color all together. Either way, I think it turned out o.k.  Here is what I spent:

Table on Craigslist: $25

Glass Top: $50 (If you purchase a glass top, be sure to ask for the clear spacers that fit between your table and the glass.)

Chair from Goodwill: $2.99

Monogram: $10

Printer Stand: $4.99 Goodwill

Storage Ottoman (It's actually called a, "Gaming Bench":  $54.00

So, overall, I spent just under $150 but I have a solid wood table that I could reuse, a comfortable chair and some storage. Everything is functional and reusable so I am pleased. 

I  hope you enjoyed my little makeover. Linking to Delightful Order Inspiring Thursday Party.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

An Inspirational Story of a Mother's Love for a Special Needs Child

I was on the internet this  morning when I came across this blog post titled, "A Mother's Love for a Special Needs Child; A Mother's Love Can't Be Explained".  The blog is, "Organize with Sandy" and she detailed her cousin's loss of their special needs daughter, who was 30 years old.  What makes this post a winner was not only the love that her cousin and husband had for her daughter, but how eloquently Sandy describes this. She writes,
"We all know that Mother’s love their children, and we love them in a way we didn’t know we could, right?  But what about those children who have special needs? Some people who do not have special needs children can think that a parent might “love them less” because they aren’t perfect.  That they might “love them less” because they change the parents life style, change the life they pictured or believed they would have .  They think that they might “love them less” because they can’t leave their child with a sitter, or might not be able to go on vacations..."
What was striking to me is that I had never, ever considered that some people might think that I, or anyone, would love their special needs child "less" because they were disabled.  I can also understand how this might be true for some parents.
Sandy goes on to write, "I have seen many many examples of how strong a mothers love can be, even for some children that do not respond to them… or respond in ways that others can recognize. For children that have cost them their careers, made them move into very small homes due to the financial crisis they now had to deal with, cost them their marriages because of the stress, cost them the life they wanted. "
What is striking about her post, is not only the love that her cousin and family had for her daughter, but how many parents of special needs children could relate to her story. I know it certainly could have been written about me.
If you get a chance, you may want to read the rest of this story. It will make your day.
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