I have so many stories to share from this year… Life has been non-stop, especially since May. I thought I’d share awesome moments and learnings. Why not start with one of my favorite memories when Jordan and I visited Walt Disney World Resort this past May.

Animal Kingdom DuoThat’s when Jordan and I had an opportunity of a lifetime: Disney Parks gave her a special award, the Dream Big Princess Innovator award. It was a part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and we had an opportunity to take part in that conference. It really is a one-of-a-kind blogging conference and it happens to be the one I was attending when we bought our house last year.

After the award, Jordan and I had a chance to play in the parks and in honor of her special award, we were given time with a VIP Guide! Seriously. We met up with a guide who drove us backstage of the parks and gave us door-to-door service to all of our favorite attractions. Most of our favorites are the fast rides. Our guide was able to walk us onto any FastPass line we chose.

We got to walk DOWN from the top of Expedition Everest!

We got to walk DOWN from the top of Expedition Everest!

Near the end of our VIP day, Jordan and I decided we wanted to ride Expedition Everest as many times as possible. We decided ten times was our goal. TEN times? That’s crazy, right? The funny thing? As we sat in the front row of our tenth ride, the coaster stopped and we had to be evacuated for safety. There was a computer glitch and they needed to reset the system. It was a wild tenth ride, but we had a hard time counting it as ten.

The day after the end of the conference, we had a chance to play for a half of a day in the parks before our flight home. Jordan and I decided we needed to ride Everest at least one more time to count it as our tenth. But since Animal Kingdom Theme Park had Extra Magic Hours that morning, we decided to ride it as much as we could for an hour (which was five times). And we booked a FastPass later that morning. Of course, some of the Cast Members remembered us from our previous multiple-ride day. We’re kind of memorable. (And goofy.) We took a ride break and saw the two stage shows in the park, including Finding Nemo The Musical. We had a magical experience (that is worth its own blog post) and we walked away with a gift of an extra FastPass. Of course, we planned to use it on Expedition Everest. We had gathered up enough FastPasses to say we enjoyed a total of seven rides on the attraction. But magic from Cast Members helped expand our time on the ride. A couple of Cast Members found ways to give us even more FastPasses (pixie dust, perhaps) and we got to ride Everest ELEVEN times!

expedition-everest-ride-hugsAt the end of our 11th and final ride on Everest, Jordan grabbed onto me and gave me the sweetest and loving hug. We knew the day had to end. We didn’t want to go to the airport. But we knew it was the end of an amazing and special experience. That hug will be imprinted in my memories forever.

Not every kid gets this kind of opportunity. Not every kid wins awards and gets free trips to Walt Disney World. I hope she remembers these amazing unforgettable moments. I am shocked time and again how Jordan has packed so much into these ten and a half years of life. This was one day I hope she remembers forever.

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Maker 3D Design I have mentioned this a couple of times but I’m making it official! Jordan and I are headed to Chicago for a two-day visit. We were able to work out a day in her schedule to meet with her prosthetist, David Rotter. Jordan has grown out of all of her traditional prosthetics. After this year of Jordan taking the lead in creating her own fun prosthetics, we’re hoping she can meet with David to work on some helpful ones as well.

Since we’re flying into the city for a short time, I wanted to figure out a way to bring local limb difference families together. That’s where a friend of mine reached out and offered a chance to hold a meet up at the mHub in Chicago. It’s the city’s first innovation center focused on physical product development and manufacturing. That means there are engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs working on inventing and making things. It sounds like our kind of place. (You can snag a ticket if you want to attend!)

Jordan and I hope we can all hang out for a couple of hours on September 25th, meet each other and also get a chance to meet people who are designers. I plan to invite prosthetists and 3D makers to talk about how design works. Jordan plans to share how she created Project Unicorn with her design partner this year and she’ll share some of her other ideas. I’ll also share how I’m learning to be a design advocate for my child. I’m keeping her in the lead, but I’m learning I sometimes have to help communicate what Jordan is saying to adults if they’re working with her and I notice a communication gap. It is an amazing world where kids and adults with different needs really can lead design that can improve their lives in practical and fun ways. Plus, we’re going to see if we can let the kids who attend this event create something cool on a 3D printer while we’re all together!

I’m super excited to share our design world with friends and families in Chicago! Feel free to reach out to me with any questions. If you can attend, please make sure you snag a ticket online!

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Girls Who CAD and Awesome Without Borders

July 27, 2016

Since January, Jordan has gone through an amazing transition. She loved to create things, but she was a rule follower. She would follow directions and never go outside the lines. But after working with KIDmob and Autodesk on designing a 3D printed superhero sparkle-shooting prosthetic/body modification, she sees things differently. Computer Assisted Design (CAD) is […]

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The Longterm Impact of Summer Camp

July 26, 2016

This sponsored post is brought to you by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. All opinions and experiences are my own! Summer camps are full of traditions. There are activities and crafts that are core to the experience. Friendship bracelets are one of those traditions. I had forgotten all about them until I watched camp counselor, Kennedi, […]

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Creating a New Concept for TOM:DC Makeathon

July 22, 2016

After Jordan’s awesome opportunity to present at a Maker Health event with the Health and Human Services Department’s Idea Lab, MedStar Health and the National Institutes of Health, we had a chance to meet some fabulous people in the maker world. They’re making sure Jordan’s work isn’t done! Her ideas have more opportunity to expand with the […]

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Seeing #LiveUnlimited in person at MDA Summer Camp

July 21, 2016

This sponsored post is brought to you by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. All opinions and experiences are my own! I know the life-long impact a summer camp can bring to a child’s life. Ever since Jordan started attending Camp No Limits when she was three, I’ve watched her develop into a confident and VERY strong […]

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Project Unicorn Spreads Glitter Across DC

July 14, 2016

Sorry for the time gap, but I felt the need to take a little break from posting last week… and I have so many stories to catch up on telling. The kids had a chance to take a huge one-week adventure in Washington, DC and New York City with me. Jordan, Cameron and I made […]

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We always try to #LiveUnlimited

July 12, 2016

Today is a special day. I was invited to spend a day at one of the nearly 75 week-long Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) summer camps in the United States. I will get to meet some of the campers and learn about how camp makes a positive impact on their lives. I know the importance of summer […]

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Some people cannot learn. Others are ready.

July 11, 2016

After this past week, I feel the need to write from my heart. I moved a lot as a kid and lived in many similar communities in the Midwest and East Coast. Each time I moved, I would review the life lessons I learned. Was I kind? Did I do anything wrong that I can […]

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Tiny Design Issues Matter – Jordan’s iPhone Challenge

June 30, 2016

Last year, Jordan was lucky enough to get a family hand-me-down iPhone 5 to use with wifi. It gave her a chance to take pictures, FaceTime and text me while I was out fo town for work travel. If you’ve followed us this year, Jordan’s grown up a lot this year. She’s communicating design ideas, meeting […]

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Let’s #InventHealth – Born Just Right on Display in DC

June 23, 2016

Today is a big day for Born Just Right! We are in Washington, DC this week. Thanks to the combination of my travel for work and the fact that it is summer break, Jordan and I fell into a really cool opportunity. We were invited to share Born Just Right’s mission and Jordan’s Project Unicorn […]

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Celebrating Differences in Finding Dory

June 20, 2016

Leading up to the release of Finding Dory, I heard so many tales about how special needs played a big role in this movie. But I wanted to see it to believe it. This Pixar movie series has been an important part of our special needs parenting lives ever since Jordan was born. Nemo and […]

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Speaking and Sharing Camp No Limits

June 9, 2016

Months ago, we were invited to a local Kiwanis Club meeting to share the story of Born Just Right and all the cool things we do in the limb difference community and beyond. I didn’t realize how crazy our life would be, but it is so fabulous to have a chance to see Jordan develop […]

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American Girl: Limb Different Dolls Are More Important Than You Think

June 3, 2016

I hope you’ve seen the video… Emma opens an American Girl doll box and discovers the doll of her dreams: A doll with a helper leg just like her. A Step Ahead Prosthetics started making alterations on American Girl dolls earlier this year. It’s remarkable how special this can be for kids. My heart is […]

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