Advice for Expectant Parents With a Disability

IMG_9494by Guest Blogger Ashley Taylor (founder of DisabledParents.org)

Expecting a child is an exciting, life-changing experience, but it can also bring about questions and concerns, especially for first-time parents. These concerns may be even greater for parents-to-be living with a disability, who may be wondering how they can prepare themselves and their homes for parenthood.

The most important step is planning, and planning starts with questions like:

  • Is my home babyproofed?
  • Do we need to make changes to the home to make it babyproof?
  • Do we need to make changes to make it easier for us to parent?
  • What will I do when I feel stressed, overwhelmed, or need help?
  • Are there resources that can help parents with a disability?

Preparing your home can start with a checklist. Go through your home room by room to see what can be removed or added that would make parenting easier, such as adding a ramp to the nursery if necessary, widening doorways with adjustable hinges, and buying adaptable equipment and products like wheelchair-accessible cribs. There are also changing tables with adjustable heights.

Getting practical advice from other disabled parents is helpful, and look for support groups in your community that you can join. If there aren’t any in your area, online support groups are a great resource. There is nothing like getting advice from others with real-life experience to help you solve problems and make choices, from tips on how to breastfeed to how to deal with occasional bias.

HELP FOR THE HOME

If you need to make physical changes to your house or apartment, you may want to consult a home advisor experienced in making homes accessible. When evaluating each room, think about functionality and convenience.

Nursery. Does this room have carpet that may interfere with a wheelchair, walker, or crutches? Are tables and shelves low enough? Would it be more practical to have the baby in your bedroom instead of in his or her own room?

Laundry room. Are your washer and dryer front-loading for easy access? Do they have buttons and knobs that are easy to use?

Kitchen. Do you need to add a lower cabinet to store the baby’s formula, baby food, and other baby items? If visually impaired, do you need a talking timer, clock, or thermometer?

Security. Make sure your home is well lit, and you can always add baby monitors (video and/or audio) for peace of mind.

If preparing your home is a financial challenge, sometimes small grants or loans are available to parents with a disability, so check with your community’s disability service coordinator or explore online.

HELP FOR YOURSELF

While preparing to care for your child, don’t forget to care for yourself. Parenting can be stressful for anyone, so don’t feel that you’re the only one who gets overwhelmed with the day-to-day tasks of parenthood. Feeling stressed is normal, so it’s okay to ask for help.

Family and friends can be a great resource in times of stress. But if you don’t have this kind of support system in your life, there are community resources available, such as parenting classes, in-home parenting instruction, childcare, respite services, home-delivered meals/groceries, professional shoppers, daycare, babysitters, support groups, individual counseling, and group therapy.

Another way to care for yourself is to be mindful of your physical and mental health. What we eat affects how we think and feel. Exercise strengthens the body, gives you energy, releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, and can lower stress. A great way to de-stress is by taking up yoga or meditation. This will help you stay calm and focused during trying times.

Planning and preparation can make parenting easier and make you a stronger parent. If you need help assessing or preparing your home and your life for parenthood, a disability specialist is only a phone call away. Also, your baby will need you at your best, so don’t forget about self-care.

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.




Fabulous Fall Fun Festivities!

PA Fall Festivals - Philadelphia, Bucks County, Montgomery County

I challenge you to say that three times in a row!

You did it, didn’t you?

I also challenge you to visit these awesome websites if you’re looking for Fall Adventures (Fall Events, Festivals, Hayrides, Haunted Houses, and Fun, Family Outings):

VisitBucksCounty.com           – Great Fall Adventures All Around Bucks County, PA

MontCo.HappeningMag.com – Montgomery County, PA Fall Events

VisitPhilly.com                        – Top Fall Festivals In and Around Philadelphia

Enjoy the crisp fall air and the beauty Pennsylvania has to offer!

Happy Fall!
Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR
REALTOR
Remax Affiliates
Serving Bucks County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia
KimSchreiner.com

Living On Forever in the Heart

A week ago today I had to make the very painful decision of whether or not to let my best friend of 14 years go. I read somewhere that writing helps to heal a broken heart so here I am trying, but in my opinion, only time will help. Jackson was the kindest, gentlest dog and he was also the first dog I ever had in my adult life that I had to care for and raise on my own. Losing a pet when you are a kid is hard, but its nothing like the attachment and bond that you form with an animal that you’ve had to care for and that you’ve loved for many, many years.

Jackson (2)

It’s quite funny how Jackson came into my life. My ex husband thought he would be good for me, since I spent a lot of time alone. I won’t get into why I was alone often, but that’s how Jackson came into my life. My marriage lasted less than 3 years, and I can tell you this, Jackson was the best gift my ex had ever given to me. Ever.

I bought my first home because of Jackson. No one wanted to rent to me after my divorce because I had a big dog, whatever. Some people even suggested “I get rid of him” — like he was some expendable “thing” that I could just toss away.

Jackson taught me unconditional love, loyalty, responsibility (because Lord knows, I was a wild thing back then) – he grounded me, and now he has taught me painful loss and pure heart break. You see, a piece of me died with him last week, but a piece of him will live on forever in my heart. “Animal people” will understand the huge hole left behind and that painful, empty feeling in their belly. Non-animal folks may think I am crazy, and quite frankly I probably am crazy, or I just don’t care what people think, because it’s my life and life is short. Cliché but true.

Animals do not show their pain as we do. My Jackson must have been in pain but he never let me know until the day before I had to make the decision of whether to let him go or not. I knew he may have had nasal cancer, but the testing for it was too risky because of his age, and there was no cure for it anyway, so I opted not to put him through that. He also had liver issues for a long time, and Laryngeal Paralysis and the typical old age stuff like arthritis. The day before he was limping badly and I thought it was attributed to arthritis. But the next morning, he did not get up, he could not get up, he could not walk.  I managed to get my son off to school knowing in my heart something terrible was wrong. I called my husband to come home from work and while waiting, I said my goodbyes to my best friend.

As weird as it sounds when people tell you that you will know when it’s time, it’s true, at least it was for me. I thanked him for being there for me for 14 years, through many ups and downs, divorce, moving 4 times, remarriage, childbirth just to name a few. I also promised him if it was anything bad, I would not let him suffer. We had to carry him to the car and off to the Veterinary ER we went. They took him right back and I sat in the waiting room crying. I’d like to thank the kind, compassionate woman whom I’d never met and probably will never see again, for hugging me and giving me tissues.

We were brought back to a private room and told that Jackson had Osteosarcoma, bone cancer. We were told his leg was like cauliflower and there was no cure. We were given the choice of amputating his leg and chemotherapy, taking him home only to be on strong drugs for the pain, where he would have to be picked up and held to go to the bathroom, or Euthanasia. Immediately I declined amputation, how do you cut off the leg of a 14 year old dog who already had arthritis? Did I really think he would even survive that? No. My next immediate thought, what kind of life would he have if I took him home to die? After all, the vet explained to me that this type of cancer caused excruciating pain. She also said to me, she was sure I didn’t think I was bringing him there to say goodbye, but she was wrong. I knew it was time, I knew before we left our home.

For those of you who have yet to make this decision, or to experience it, I can tell you it was very peaceful and very fast, almost instant. I cried like a baby. I cry like a baby every day. His ashes are in my bedroom, maybe I am morbid, but I kiss the box he’s now in each day, and in time that will fade, but I will be forever changed because of him.

The unconditional love an animal can give is like no other … it’s tough to say goodbye. But none of us live forever as much as we wish we never had to say goodbye to our loved ones, whether furry or humans … it’s so hard to do. In my heart I like to believe the goodbye is not forever and I hope when its my turn, everyone that went before me will be there waiting. I would not have wanted my baby to suffer, for how long was he suffering before he finally let me know? When he finally showed his pain, it must have been excruciating. I am trying to find peace with my decision not to let him suffer and not to let his pain continue. I would not have wanted to see him suffer. Last Thursday he was limping badly, last Friday, he could not get up, and he may never have been able to get up again, his leg bone was gone and he never let us know. Had I brought him home, he would have died a slow, painful death .. or maybe it would have happened quickly, I am trying to stop asking myself what if this or that … Incurable, terminal cancer is bad, they should give humans the choice to go with dignity as they do animals. When our animals are old and sick, we have to make decisions for them.

If you found this blog because you are feeling and experiencing this pain, I am truly sorry. I am right there with you. But always remember you gave them love, a wonderful life and a great home, you were their companion as much as they were yours, and the ultimate love you showed your baby in the end was putting their needs before your own. I will have this decision to make again, I had 2 Labs. My Cracker is just as lost as me. Cracker will be 6 in October, he had never been the only dog. The first days, he wouldn’t go in the yard alone. He will lay where Jackson’s bowls used to be. It’s quite sad. But we are finding comfort in each other. He’s been by my side, just as a dog does, showing me unconditional love. I’ve been letting him cuddle with me at night, because he used to lay with Jackson. He’s getting extra love and attention, and long walks. But he too, is lost.

DogsHurtToo

Time, time really does fly by, but also time will allow us to go on, somehow we all go on, life goes on. And one day soon, I will rescue another dog. Not to replace Jackson, as there is no replacing an animal, they are all as unique as we are as humans. But to save a life, to give that animal a home and shelter and love. I don’t think I will never be without a dog, unless one day I am too old and gray to take care of myself and a furry friend.

I thank you Jackson, I thank you for everything, but especially for teaching me unconditional love. It was time to go home, and I know in my heart, I will see you again some day at the beautiful Rainbow Bridge.

Please Rescue a Pet at PetFinder.com

Rainbow-Bridge-Poem

Things to Do in Bucks County this Weekend

Bucks County Fall Things to DoBensalem, PA – Fall Festival is Saturday, October 5, 2013 starting at 11:00 AM and ending with a bang (Fireworks!) around 8:15 PM. Some of the events scheduled for this event are: Performances throughout the day by local high school bands and area entertainers capped off by a 6:00 PM evening concert … the Trammps (open act is Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes).

Always a fun, family event with a day full of activities including Rides and Games, K9 Police Demonstrations and Motor Patrol Performance, Fire Prevention Displays, NASCAR Remote Control Car Racing, Mini Golf and a Car Show is from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM! Food, drinks and more so … Come out and support your community!

For a full list of events please visit http://www.tdbaevents.com/fallfestival.html

Langhorne, PA – Old Langhorne Harvest Day from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM featuring a craft fair, live music, food and fun for the whole family. Located in Langhorne Borough (Maple and Bellevue Avenues).

Please Visit http://www.tdbaevents.com/fallfestival.html for info.

For a full listing of things to do in and around Bucks County, PA please visit:  http://www.visitbuckscounty.com/things-to-do/

Keep checking back for updated events and an upcoming blog featuring ghoulish fall recipes collected from around the Internet! Have one you’d like featured? Email it to KimSchreiner@aol.com!

http://www.KimSchreiner.com
Kim Schreiner, REMAX
Serving Bucks County, Philadelphia, Montgomery County
and parts of Berks and Delaware Counties!

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Things to Do This Weekend in PA

Fun Things to Do in PA
Check out one of my favorite websites to find fun things to do in the State of Pennsylvania.

Whether you have a huge family to entertain or you’re just looking for some solo excitement, you will find it here!

http://www.visitpa.com/

Things to Do this Fall In and Around Philadelphia

Pumpkin Patch It’s a beautiful time of the year here in Pennsylvania. The air is cooler, the leaves are changing colors, the scenery can be spectacular.

Try out local Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, PA. They have great hay rides which take you out to the pumpkin patch where you can pick your pumpkins, corn mazes where you really do get lost, and THE MOST AMAZING kettle corn on the east coast! There is nothing like a hot bag of this popcorn right out of the kettle! There are moon bounces for the kids along with pig races and pony rides and even a ride in a Monster Herse! But … BEWARE! At night, the freaks really do come out! The evening hayride is much more creepy …. so is the haunted house…. eeeeek!

Another local favorite, Styer Orchard great for picking your own apples and stop by the store for the best apple pie in town!

For those daring souls who want a little more fright in their Halloween season, check out Terror Behind the Walls in Philadelphia, PA 19130 – Eastern State Penitentiary, a real haunted prison with the most maddening, nasty ghosts in Philadelphia!

Enjoy the Fall Season in PA! And don’t forget to watch my favorite, It’s A Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Boo!

Its a great pumpkin charlie brown

Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX AFFILIATES
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149

Fall Happenings in and around Philadelphia PA!

Pumpkin Patch It’s a beautiful time of the year here in Pennsylvania. The air is cooler, the leaves are changing colors, the scenery can be spectacular.

Try out local  Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, PA. They have great hay rides which take you out to the pumpkin patch where you can pick your pumpkins, corn mazes where you really do get lost, and THE MOST AMAZING kettle corn on the east coast! There is nothing like a hot bag of this popcorn right out of the kettle!  There are moon bounces for the kids along with pig races and pony rides and even a ride in a Monster Herse! But … BEWARE! At night, the freaks really do come out! The evening hayride is much more creepy …. so is the haunted house…. eeeeek!

Another local favorite, Styer Orchard great for picking your own apples and stop by the store for the best apple pie in town!

For those daring souls who want a little more fright in their Halloween season, check out Terror Behind the Walls in Philadelphia, PA 19130 – Eastern State Penitentiary, a real haunted prison with the most maddening, nasty ghosts in Philadelphia!

Enjoy the Fall Season in PA! And don’t forget to watch my favorite, It’s A Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Boo!

Its a great pumpkin charlie brown

Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX AFFILIATES
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149

Too Hot Outside? Indoor Things to Do with Kids

things to do with kids in paIt is supposed to go over the 100 degree mark here in PA today, and that’s just a little too hot for me (unless I am on vacation on a tropical island somewhere down by the Equator).  Add to the equation a mid-summer, bored child and moving to a new area and well … need I type more?

So this morning I started to scour the Internet for fun, local things to do with my son, preferably air-conditioned, indoor fun or someplace where I can stay submerged in water.

Here’s what I came up with and I thought I’d share…. some are free, some are not …

Stumbled on this site which features tons of ideas:    4PAKids.com

Although this is titled “Rainy Day Activities” … it’s still a well composed list of indoor things to do with your kids and a great website to explore when you are looking for something to do with your bored child:   FamilyEducation

bored kidI came across this blog over at CafeMom … 7 Fun Indoor Things …. I especially like the “Build A Fort” suggestion, I can remember doing this as a kid myself, and I’ve done this many times with my son, he loves it.

Here’s something I personally did with my son last summer:  each week my son and I went through all the digital photos we had taken from our summer weekends spent down the shore, from our vacation, or just something special we did together as a family. We ordered our favorite pictures (yes, we had them printed!) and we created a scrapbook to give as a gift to my parents. My parents do not have a computer, so I cannot share photos with them via email (imagine that??) nor do they have a “double line” on their home phone and my Mom just got a cell phone a few years ago, a Jitterbug, it’s hilarious. But that’s getting off topic …

They, more my Dad than my Mom, always complain they never SEE the photos we take except when I run through them on my little camera screen and they need a magnifying glass to get the actual effect.  So .. my son and I spent our down-time/bored-time having fun making a Summer Scrapbook. We added stickers and sayings and made something very special. We gave it to my parents at the end of the summer. It was probably one of the most cherished gifts we’ve given them in a long time and it sits on their coffee table year-round.

If you like this idea and don’t have a lot of time on your hands, or if you don’t have kids and want to make a special gift for someone, an easier, less time-consuming way to do this is to order a printed book of your personal photos

There are also some cool places to visit that will keep your kids entertained and some of them even allow Mom to shop:

Giggleberry Fair at Peddler’s Village (Kids can play, Mom can shop, but not at the same time)!

Sesame Place  (Can get VERY crowded on days like today! So go after 4!)

Adventure Aquarium 

Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Waterpark  Year Round Fun!

Lazer Tag at Brunswick Zone – Parents vs. Kids!

The Crayola Factory  Worth the Drive!

Philadelphia Museums and Attractions at VisitPhilly.com

Indoor Roller Skating, Bowling, Movies (check your local library, sometimes they have free movies or classes for kids)

Looking for FREE things to Do? Click Here! 

Many fast food places (I know, yuck!) but .. many do have indoor, air-conditioned playground areas. I’ve found my son doesn’t eat much when we go there, he just plays and it’s up to me not to order the Big Mac for myself.

Many Philadelphia Recreation Centers have free pools that you can take advantage of, or outdoor playground with sprinklers.

If you have any ideas you would like to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section!! And stay cool!Melting Witch Cartoon

Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149
Main Office: 215.335.6900 x1726
www.KimSchreiner.com
www.PaRealtyWeb.com

Bowling for Autism Awareness this Saturday, July 23, 2011 at Brunswick Zone!

Autism AwarenessJeanne Ciccone-Neal is hosting a bowling event to raise money for autism awareness for her team “Mikey’s Contenders”  in honor of her little nephew , Mikey.   The event is being held this Saturday evening, July 23, 2011 from 7:00-9:00 p.m.
 
This is an open event so please join us and bring as many people as you can!  The cost is $25.00 per person ( $10.00 will go towards the donation) price includes pizza, soda, shoe rental and 2 hours of bowling.  There will also be raffle for your chance to win two tickets to the Phillies game on 8/14/11!!!!  
 
Date:       7/23/2011
Time:      7-9 PM
Place:     Brunswick Zone
                 100 E Street Rd.                 
                 Feasterville, PA 19053
                 Directions
 
For More Info Please Contact Jeanne by eMail or by visiting her donation page!  If you can’t make it, please find it in your heart to make a donation to help Jeanne achieve her goal.
To make a donation, please click here:   http://www.walknowforautis​mspeaks.org/philadelphia/j​neal
 
Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149
Main Office: 215.335.6900 x1726
www.KimSchreiner.com
www.PaRealtyWeb.com

Legg Calve Perthes Disease: Benefit for Jim Burke

Jim BurkeOn May 14, 2011 the family and friends of Jim Burke, from West Mayfair, will be hosting a fundraiser in hopes to raise money to help ease some of the financial burdens and costs during Jim’s battle of a rare degenerative bone disease called Legg Calve Perthes Disease. He is a 16 year old sophomore who attends Father Judge High School.

Jim was diagnosed with this rare disease when he was five, and since then he was underwent some extensive operations, but finally in 2005 he was given the clear and reassured he could be as active as he wanted and that he would not encounter any problems till much later in life. With that being said he joined the track team for Resurrection of Our Lord in 8th grade. He placed 1st in the city for the Philadelphia and 8th in the state for the Penn Relays along with other high placements in other relays. Jim is a Varsity wrestler for Judge; he works at it year round. He loved attending wrestling camps to improve himself, because he wanted to be the best. Jim received “Best Novice Wrestler” his freshman year and despite everything he has been through Jim has grown into an amazing young man who works hard at everything and gives his all to anything he puts his mind to. He is an Honor Student and has ranked 88 in a class of 278.

Presently the doctor told him that he can no longer wrestle or do his daily routine. Jim needs to undergo a major operation to restructure and rebuild his hip. He is no longer allowed to bear weight and must use crutches or a wheelchair to get around, and attends physical therapy three times a week. After his surgery it will take Jim three months before he can walk again and nine months before he will be rehabilitated. His mother Stephanie recently lost her job due to the economy and this is going to make the emotional struggle over the next year also a financial struggle. Many handicap modifications need to be made to the home.

If you could help in any way it would be greatly appreciated. We are asking for any help you can offer by donating gift certificates for items, actual items for baskets or to raffle independently or by making a monetary donation to help the Family. In appreciation, a complete list of donors will be printed in our program to encourage our patrons to support your business. If you would like to mail a gift to our attention it would be very much appreciated.

You can mail donated items to David Burke, c/o The James Burke Benefit Fund, 3224 Wellington Street, Philadelphia, PA 19149. Tax id is 27-5160783

If you wish to make a monetary donation, you can mail donations to:
James Burke Benefit Fund, c/o Wachovia Bank, Attention: Robert Carr
6420 Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19135

To purchase tickets to the benefit please email the jimburkebenefit@hotmail.com The Benefit will be held on Saturday, May 14th, 2011 from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. This event will take place at Daly’s Irish Pub at 4201-4211 Comly Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19135. Tickets will be $30.00 in advance and $35.00 at the door.

Thanking you in advance for your generosity.
The Benefit for Jim Burke Committee
Remember “It’s Hip to Help”
View more details on facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=203946882953186  

Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149