WE HAVE MOVED!!!!!

I should begin by mentioning that I’m still VERY MUCH a rookie when it comes to blogging! With that being said::

we_moved_sign

While making this blogging change, I thought the transition would happen easier, including bringing you ALL with me. Not to my surprise, there were some hiccups behind the scenes and well, here I am having to post about how I need you to come over and re-subscribe at my new location here ——————- > The Special Life of Us

{HOW EMBARRASSING}

It’s been an incredible journey ‘meeting’ many of you and getting a chance to share pieces of our life with you, so I hope you come and continue to follow us on our new site!

Thanks for always being amazing and supportive and we are looking forward to amazing things in 2017!!!!!

 

Love,

The Sosa Fam-Bam!

 

 

Kindness. It’s something that can literally change your day right-side up and make all the difference. There are a MILLION and some ways to share kindness with those you know and those you don’t.

There’s something about this time of year that people are more inclined to share the love, but I challenge you to adopt kindness as more than a seasonal attribute or yearly ritual. It’s interesting to see how little we have to give to make such a big difference in someone else’s day.

Now, I’m well aware that I’m not reinventing the wheel with this list, but sometimes a gentle reminder of the little things are needed because they are usually the first to go during the holiday season. Here are just 7 ways to bless a friend all year long!

 

1). Write a letter.

I don’t know about you, but some days I LOATHE going to check the mail. Bills, bills, advertisements, more BILLS. So it’s a serious treat to receive a hand written letter or a nice card in the mail. It doesn’t take much to send one, but it’s an easy way to make someone else feel special and let them know you are thinking of them.

 

2). Bring some food & sweets.

Good food just make life and all of its struggles disappear for a moment, right?!. Regardless if it’s  homemade or store-bought, bringing some sweets or a meal over is a sure way to becoming my best friend, that’s for sure! As mothers, the days (and sometimes nights) are long, so having someone surprise you with something sweet or taking the load off from making dinner is a great way to bless someone’s day!

 

4). Give a genuine compliment.

I don’t know about you, but all I want in life is for someone to feed me and tell me I’m pretty! Often times we don’t think to compliment others besides the common “you look super cute today” or “love what you’ve done with your hair”. YES, those are important, but sometimes it’s even more important to really speak into someone’s life and let them know just how much they mean to you and the qualities you love most about them. It’s so easy to get caught up and feel like we are royally failing at life, so take the time to give a heartfelt, authentic compliment to a friend who just may desperately need to hear it.

 

5). Offer to babysit:

I know that this may be a tough one for some. Depending on your child’s age, the type of parent you or your friend is, as well as any unique needs your child may have – offering to babysit isn’t always easy. BUT, don’t let that discourage you from offering because there are ways to help. Offering to help a friend with their kids can be as simple as coming over and playing with them as your friend takes a shower, makes a meal or does anything else for that matter. Offering to take the kids to the park for an hour or watching them overnight – whatever! Giving another mama a minute to hear her own thoughts is priceless, so find a way that can help her do that!

 

6). Call someone – like on the phone.

This might be a foreign concept these days, but taking the time to call someone instead of texting might actually be nice. Sure, if you are a mom, the phone call will be an adventure to get through but sometimes hearing an adult voice during the day can make all the difference!

 

7). Go over and help clean:

Listen, anyone willing to come over and help me clean deserves their own holiday! It could be a simple as washing some dishes or even coming over to do some deep, heavy duty cleaning.  Find a way to come along side another mama friend who may need some help is a sure way to make her feel special! Every mother knows how easy a house can go from “manageable” to “how many natural disasters happened here!?!” So pick a day, and bless someone with a clean home!

 

There are a million ways and a million reasons why it’s important to not only do kind things, but to live a kind life! When we step outside our own chaos and help others (even when we think we just don’t have it in us) it can transform our heart and give us renewed energy and appreciation of the simple things.

Has anyone ever blessed you before? Share in the comments below, I’d love to hear all about it!!!

 

{Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti}

 

 

 

 

 

 

So You May Be Wondering About The Name Change…

From the very beginning I intended to use this blog as an outlet to share with others in a personal diary type of format. My goal when I chose the original name of MOTHERING UPWARD was exactly that – my opportunity to share my unfiltered life as a mother and how every day, in order to survive and get through, I needed to look up and live knowing that God is and always will be in control.

That will never change.

The recent name change has been mostly to expand my purpose. It’s no longer just about me and mine, but about US. That term “US” represents every nameless face who knows the feeling of being told their child is too different, too awkward, too fragile, too complicated. It’s for every family who’s had to rearrange their entire existence in order to adapt to the environment around them in order to give their child a fighting chance. It’s for the parents who feels less than adequate, buried under the pile of grief, paperwork and exhaustion. It’s for every child who is known more for their labels and limitations than their actual name.

I see you. I am with you.

My audience is small but I write because my family’s story is bigger than just the 4 of us. And if I can share any emotional and practical insight, I will remain writing for the few and feel fulfilled regardless.

My goal with this new name is to focus on sharing more practical information regarding services, IEP’s, adaptive clothing, adaptive hacks, ect., along with tackling some real pressing issues involving the differently-abled community. This will be in addition to my personal entries of what we, as a family,  are up to! It’ll take some time to build up to where I want to be, but we will get there. My heart bursts at the seams with passion over sharing all that I can find!

But above all, I want to share with anyone who comes through my blog that there is an abundance of HOPE, LOVE, LAUGHTER, and JOY even in the midst of complex situations. Even though my family is one giant, steaming hot mess most of the time, one thing is for certain – unspeakable love is found here <3<3<3<3

 

 

Orthotic-Friendly Shoe Review : See Kai Run

 

Finding shoes to fit over Giselle’s orthotics have always been a nightmare! Most shoes are either cute, but don’t fit over the orthotics OR they fit but look hideous. In the rare occasion of finding shoes that are adorable that actually fit – they are just too expensive.

Since I know that I cannot be the only one with these issue, I decided to share the sweet finds I have come across and will continue to do so whenever I come across something worth sharing!

I recently came across SEE KAI RUN at Nordstrom by chance and I’m so glad I did! These are not labeled in any way “orthotic-friendly” that I know of, but both the KYA and KRISTIN styles should be because they are amazing.  I only tried  these two styles, so I cannot say for certain the other styles will be as successful!

**I have no affiliations to disclose and was not compensated nor prompted by any company to review See Kai Run  products. As always, opinions expressed are 100% my own. Just a regular mom, who found something AMAZING that I want to share with others **

Here’s a little info about SEE KAI RUN shoes:

  • Received a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association
  • Donates shoes to Peach’s Neet Feet, who customizes, hand-painted shoes for children with disabilities and fighting serious illness. Learn more here
  • Super flexible and comfortable for ALL kids (with or without orthotics)
  • With orthotics you may need to go 1 – 1-1/2 sizes up
  • Girl and Boy styles available

Orthotic Shoe Hack 101: Remove the insoles of the shoes 

The orthotics provide all the support the child’s foot needs, so the insoles just take up room. Always take them out!

Continue reading Orthotic-Friendly Shoe Review : See Kai Run

Go Giselle Go – An Update

As I mentioned in my  previous post, there are some new things that Giselle is doing and I wanted to take this opportunity to share all of our recent victories, emerging skills and some challenge areas.

VICTORIES

  • Mama Is No Longer a Milk Factory!
    • After almost THREE LONG YEARS Giselle is no longer nursing! {cue the confetti} Never thought I would say those words since I tried and tried and tried some more to wean her for the longest time but apparently a little congestion did the trick and she hasn’t been able to or want to nurse since!! October 24th will forever be marked as Mama’s Freedom Day !
  • Up She Goes!
    • Oh, Giselle is pulling up on everything! It’s like she’s doing her own physical therapy these days with all the ups and downs she does. For now, she’s using the couch and low tables, but all that exercise is not going in vain for all the bigger things hopefully to come. She’s even going up the stairs, so we have to keep an extra eye on this little one!
  • Stepping Up Her Game!
    • The quality in her steps is improving every day. We are no longer having to help her shift her weight to put those feet forward because she is taking some nice steps in an organize pattern and most importantly she’s moving forward. In other words – SHE IS WALKING (almost)!!!! Not by herself, but this is where it all begins – the fine tuning of the quality before she takes off one day.
  • Eating for Two
    • In a previous post I spoke candidly about our fear of her lack of weight gain and how intervention was on the table of discussion. Eating was a nightmare – a chore for not only for her but for the whole family. I am SO pleased to say that not only does she eat, but she eats SO MUCH now!! Not only does she eat, but she’s not a picky eater, which is another blessing. Even more, she’s self-feeding with yogurts and similar foods! An even bigger milestone in this area is that after almost 2 years with no significant weight gain, she went from a -stagnant 18-19 lbs to 25.5 lbs in the last few months! I could seriously cry over how happy this makes me!!!

EMERGING

  • P is for Phone
    • Anyone who knows Giselle, knows how sacred the phone is to her – and us. ABC Mouse songs have changed our life but it’s a love/hate relationship. It’s a huge motivator for her to move and gain those skills all the while make her more and more dependent on it. I would like to see her no longer need it, but it’s so important in her therapy that it remains an area that needs work in finding the balance. We have however, reduced the time she has it and sometimes just play the music so she can hear it but not watch the videos which has been ok so far.

CHALLENGES

I share these last because unlike most medical professionals, I focus primarily on all that Giselle CAN do and then go to what still needs work.

  • No One Puts Baby In A Stroller
    • Giselle is not a fan of strollers or gait trainers and the only way for her to tolerate being in either is to have ABC Mouse videos playing as a distraction. This is obviously not going to translate well into a school setting, so I’m going to leave it up to the experts because I’m not sure how we are going to work that one out, while making everyone happy (yet). No phone while in the stroller = screaming bloody murder and my girl can scream for hours upon hours!
  • Crowd Control Patrol
    • Crowds to Giselle can simply be a few people or kids and it’s enough to be overwhelming and scary for her. We are still trying to incorporate play dates on a smaller scale and some days it works and other days we fail miserable in finding that balance for her. This is the area that’s been the hardest to understand because of communication barriers, so it’s become our top priority to figure out how to work things out. Overall, socializing has been a challenging part of her daily life, so we are always trying to find a way to figure out what works.

SO WHAT’S NEXT?

If you follow us on IG then you know the upcoming IEP meeting that’s next week. As I tell my family, I like to take things one heart attack at a time! We are still in the process of getting her specialized chair delivered and hopefully get it in time for us to get Giselle used to it prior to her starting school. Other than that – we are just surviving and chugging along! We are on the brink of a new season and there are lots of emotions that will need to be posted separately, but as always we move upward and onward !!!

A Much Needed Update!

It has been quite some time since I’ve updated the blog! We are in the thick of chaos right now with so many things happening all at once that it’s just been extremely difficult to keep up with the blog in the way that I really desire. But that’s just life – various seasons and this is just one in which the blog has lost its priority (for now). HOWEVER, there are some things I would like to share to keep you all up to date!

If you follow us on Instagram/Facebook (under the same name of Mothering Upward) then you are up to date with some stuff, but I’ll share here again – including some new things.

1). Assessments are all complete and we are WEEKS away from meeting with all the specialists and teachers to create Giselle’s IEP plan [insert panic here]. We are excited, nervous, scared and hopeful about this process! We are documenting as much as possible share our journey with others as well as to laugh about it later! There’s also a lot of great things emerging with little miss that I’ll have to share with in another post. My catching up game is seriously slacking!

 

2). Kindergarten with Vienna is in full swing and she loves it. I, on the other hand, am a fumbling mess because of everything going on, but she is doing wonderfully. I just wish I owned a machine that could transport her to and from school because that drop off/pick up situation is a nightmare. (she’s not within bus zone so YAY for me! -__- ).  We just had a parent-teacher conference and it went super well, which sure is a big relief since I’m always feeling guilty that I don’t do as much with her academically as I’d like to!

 

3). I’m graduating in December and I have senioritis/mommy-itis/tired-it is!! YES – those are all real conditions that can all be treated by a year break from life lol. Getting these assignments in on time and dealing with #1 and #2 have made for an interesting time, which includes 4 cups of coffee and loads of concealer! Which reminds me I need to drink more water, for my kidneys’ sake!

 

4). My husband is looking for a permanent position within RUSD, which will change everything including our financial situation. He’s currently subbing in 2 different positions, including working from home with his side business. I just want him to be happy and find a place he can be in long term and thrive.  He’s amazing and smart so I’m 1,000,00,000% confident in him!

 

5). Going back to #3, I’m graduating with a degree in public health. What’s public health you ask? Well it’s all in the name: All things concerning HEALTH within the PUBLIC. I know, that’s mind-blowing (it’s what 4 years at an expensive school has taught me lol). In all honesty though, this is a broad term that includes doctors, activists, government officials, ect. How I ended up in this major is A WHOLE BOOK in itself but this leads me to my next update……BUT this degree includes all things pertaining to special needs and the disability community which of course is AMAZING!!!!!

 

6). I have plans to update this blog! It needs a total make-over and possibly an update on the name (not sure yet) in hopes of being all encompassing to my new vision. My goal is no longer to JUST share our story (which is the foundation of my drive – always will be) but to DIRECT others who are in the similar boat by giving them real advice and help in anyway I can. I’m no expert, but what I’ve learned is treasure to be shared with others. 2017 will be a new year so stay posted!!!!!!

 

7). I just want to say THANKS from the bottom of my heart to all those that follow, have personally emailed me and reached out. I know that I’m not writing to the masses and don’t have this huge following, but the fact that I’ve had a response is enough to keep writing and sharing!!!!! This blog is meant to contribute to inclusivity of children and adults who were deemed less than, and if it takes everything I’ve got, then we will, as a family, make it known that these kids and adults with special needs are INVINCIBLE, LOVED and ACCEPTED!!!!!

 

I’m pumped ya’ll!! So please stay posted. More is coming but for now, it’s back to reality which includes cleaning butts, carpool, therapy appointments, turning in homework late and loving on this sweet family of mine!!!

 

 

Learning Lessons with Vi pt 2

As a big sister who’s only 5 (almost), this is all normal – therapy, doctor’s appointments, and mommy on the phone talking to ‘important people’ as we drive around town running errands…just to name a few things. This is all she knows, but before you start feeling some sort of pity for her I’ll have to stop you! As I have mentioned before, Giselle changed us for the better and that included her sister too!

 

I’ve shared with those close to me about this particular experience, but I had to put it in writing and share because it was truly darling.

 

It was time to upgrade Giselle’s smo’s (leg braces) a few weeks back and while we were at the specialist’s office, Vienna noticed a little girl around her age with double leg prosthetics. “What happened to her legs?!?” Vienna practically yelled in this small office waiting room.

 

Can I say MORTIFYING?!?!

 

Before I could even respond, the little girl’s father responded hilariously by telling Vienna “She didn’t like her old legs, so she upgraded to these cool ones!” Vienna chuckled but was sort of confused by the response. She looked at the little girl for a  moment and then responded after noticing her sparkly princess shoes, “Cute shoes!”

 

Vienna has spent most of her life up till now seeing kids ranging from all levels of abilities  and although she recognizes the differences, she doesn’t treat them differently. She sees a child in a wheelchair and admires how fast they can go, she sees a girl with prosthetics and notices her pretty shoes and is busy telling her friends how her sister went to get some new “cute boots” from her doctor.

 

How I wish more people could be like that! I wish that even though people notice differences, they would be able to see that there is so much more beyond a diagnosis or label. Sure it’s inevitable to notice certain characteristics or physical limitations, but let us be greater than what we see and push beyond to admire the innate beauty in everyone!

 

I’m telling you, my little 5 year-old may give me headaches with her sassiness, yet here I am getting another life lesson from her. So often the focus is on parents of children with disabilities, yet there is abundant power and an equally important influence in the sibling relationship and it is so beyond evident when I see Vienna and Giselle together. Life ain’t easy, but I’m pretty sure I snagged myself two of the most amazing little girls in the whole world   ❤

Why Respite Isn’t A Luxury

The calendar is full. Full of everything except the things that I really want to do. Instead, it’s multi-colored with tabs that include everything from grocery trips, housework, activities and appointments.  I feel like I’m always playing a twisted game that I like to call “Catch Up If You Can” as I try to balance all of Giselle’s appointments, making sure everyone’s needs are met, and that often times means that mine are not.

 

I know that I am not alone in this crazy circle of raising children and a special needs child, but I have recognized that the unhealthy patterns of over-stress will eventually leave me one step away from a total emotional breakdown if I keep minimizing it as “not a big deal”. This post is really a personal reminder because I am not great in unplugging.

 

Responsibilities need to get done. They HAVE to get done, to be honest. If not the entire world will implode and you will be solely responsible for the extinction of the entire human race!!!

 

Or so it feels that way at times.

 

What is respite anyways? Well it’s a fancy word for ‘rest’ and is often used in reference to providing caregivers with a much needed break. Yes, that awesome, amazing moment of silence and tranquility in which you have the freedom to just be still – even if it means simply taking a shower without an audience.

This breakdown pretty much sums up the beneifts:

Relaxation. Respite gives families peace of mind, helps them to relax, and renews their humor and energy;
Enjoyment. Respite allows families to enjoy favorite pastimes and pursue new interests and activities;
Stability. Respite improves the family’s ability to cope with the daily responsibilities and maintain stability during crisis;
Preservation. Respite helps preserve the family unit and lessens the pressures that might lead to out-of-home placement, divorce, abuse and neglect;
Involvement. Respite allows a families time off to become involved in community activities and to feel less isolated
Time off. Respite allows a family to take that much needed vacation, spend time together, or time alone, and
Enrichment. Respite makes it possible for family members to establish individual identifies and to enrich their own growth and development.

(Parenthood in America by Nancy Olson)

 

However, there are many reasons why moms don’t get a chance to rest. For one, we don’t ask – and our reasoning for not asking can consist of a long list of things including the fear of leaving the kids with someone else, the sense of diminished control if you leave them with someone else, and the idea that asking for help is not very “motherly”.

 

For special needs moms, it can be even more of a challenge since finding someone equipped and/or willing to babysit can be daunting and trying to unplug sometimes seems impossible. It feels as if we are to  be all things, for all people, at all times.

 

However, whatever the reason is, it needs to be overcome some way, somehow. Sure, for every family it will look different, but I cannot stress the fact that respite isn’t and shouldn’t be a luxury. It’s a necessity.

 

Whether you sit in the care alone for 15 minutes while someone watches the kids or schedule weekly/biweekly/monthly date nights or outing, YOUR SANITY IS IMPERATIVE because nothing works well on empty – including you. Schedule it on the calendar and make it nonnegotiable and noncancelable (to the best of your ability).  I’ve come to realize that regardless of what something may be, if it’s important people will ALWAYS make time for it.

 

There is no shame in needing a minute or asking for help, because what good does it do if you are so busy trying to be Super Mom and ultimately run yourself into the ground? Find the time to fill your cup so you can keep pouring it out on the ones you love.

Mama, It’s Ok to NOT Be Ok

If I had a penny for every time I’ve said “I’m great!” when I wasn’t, I would own my own island.

 

Without a doubt.

 

There’s this perpetual need to always present a put together and fortified version of yourself at all costs – even at the expense of sanity. I’ve been there – done that.

Now, I’m not saying that every time someone asks you how you are doing, you are to divulge every. single. detail. of your life to them. That would be annoying and to be honest, a limited few should have full access to your heart.

 

But you know the front – whether because it’s been you or someone you know; you know. The mama who’s too scared to ask for help in fear that she’ll be looked down upon by veteran mamas because they don’t seem to be asking for help and their mama never asked for help so THEREFORE she can’t and shouldn’t ask for help.

 

There’s that mama who feels she missed the train that had all the maternal instincts and feels like she isn’t good enough to do this mom thing on her own.

 

Oh there’s mamas out there who flip through social media and the world around them who are filled with a combination of judgment and self-pity because they don’t have the life they wanted – the one they dreamed of.

 

Let me tell you something: It’s ok to NOT be ok.

 

Authenticity is one of the sweetest gifts to share because through it we can grow. When you are busy hiding and in self-pity you can’t grab on to what has a grab on you and work through it.

 

There will be days that life will be hard in this mama journey and it’s ok. There is absolutely no shame in not always having the answers. No one was born knowing it all, so cut yourself some slack!

 

In the same tone of it being ok to NOT be ok, it is NOT ok to stay NOT ok.

 

Let’s rephrase that: You are having a tough day? Ok! Having feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear are what makes us human. HOWEVER, living in those feelings day in and day out is what makes us prisoners.

 

I revert back to the idea of authenticity because it’s FREEING to be real and own whatever it is that is holding or stressing you. When we choose to be authentic and throw away the mask of “I know it all – all times” and the front of “I don’t need help ever”, you open your heart to the beautiful gift called community and the opportunity to use your mess as your message for others.

 

Mama, You Don’t Have to Explain What You Do All Day

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In my short 4 ½ years of motherhood, I have come across plenty of times in which my parenting choices were either questioned or criticized. I wish I could say that they were all valid, but often times they were matters of preferences really. #mommywars

Since I became a mama, I have been a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, a student mom and a special needs mom. We all wear several hats in motherhood, and while wearing those hats I have heard the most ridiculous things said about each one either directly or indirectly.

Assuming is a serious condition in which a person talks without knowing what the heck they are talking about – and I think far too many people have this problem!  The natural response to someone judging, critiquing or making assumptions about your parenting is to defend yourself and provide elaborate details about how you AREN’T what they say.

As a mom, whether you are at home, working, a student or a combination of several, you shouldn’t waste your breath or time trying to defend the unseen work you do.

There are preconceived notions of the type of mom you are based on where you find yourself throughout the day (home, work, school, ect). Society has placed labels on different types of moms that create these stereotypical models of what motherhood looks like in different roles.

As I flip through countless magazines articles, interviews on television or blogs, I find myself coming across all of these “how [certain type of moms] have it harder” and that is so counterproductive! As moms, we ALL have it hard in different forms and if we start vilifying each another, we are no better than what society is already trying to do to us as moms!

DIVIDE and CONQUER.  

I don’t bother defending what I do all day as a mom, and neither should you.

You don’t have to defend yourself against the cyber bully hiding behind the computer screen or your Aunt Sally who is starting to think you are a lazy bum because you don’t hand-wash your laundry and every person in between.

This isn’t about refusing advice (because sharing and community is so important). This is about the nit-picky, often rude comments that is deemed okay to tell mothers, who are busy trying to do the best they can.

It may feel like it goes unseen the countless messes you clean up as a stay-at-home mom, or the long hours of commuting back and forth through traffic and dealing with nasty co-workers as a working mom. It may feel like it goes unseen the long hours of studying into the wee hours of the morning as a student or the countless therapy appointments and evaluations you have to sit through as a special needs mom.

This list is endless with all the tiny and big things you do for your family, so when someone has the NERVE to give their input and make snarky remarks about how ‘wrong’ you are doing it or questions ‘what you do all day?, let it fall on deaf ears.

Truth is, most moms will never receive a PTA award or be recognized through a viral video of how awesome they are, but that’s ok – because it doesn’t go unseen.

Those tiny little tots you’re raising see it all; feel it all. You are investing into tiny little humans with love, time and affection and if others question why you are wearing yoga pants or something else that’s completely irrelevant STOP listening!

Your validity as a mom should NEVER rely on the opinions or assumptions of others. You must remember to be confident in knowing you are a great mom and your children are seeing everything now and they love you regardless of how un-put together and messy you may feel. ❤