I don’t want to come off as whiny. I really don’t. But I’ve had these thoughts hanging over me for a while…

When my mom met Jordan for the first time, just hours after she was born, my mom said the most optimistic thing. She commented on how Jordan’s lack of elbow will be even better than just missing a hand.

She was wrong. I knew she was wrong.

Boy, I wish she wasn’t wrong.

Walking with her helper armAs Jordan has grown up, I’ve sought every resource possible to help her grow strong and able. Jordan is very strong and able. She’s had prosthetics from an early age to make sure her body has every opportunity to be strong. I’ve also tried to keep up with the many advancements in the prosthetic industry so Jordan may be able to benefit as she gets older and the technology improves.

During my time attending the Hanger Education Fair earlier this year, I learned a lot about traditional prosthetic advancements. I learned even more while Jordan and I built her newest prosthetic arm this summer. I’ve also had a chance to get to know the growing 3D printing communities through leaders of e-NABLE. Most recently, we’ve had a chance to peek into the development of a commercial 3D prosthetic product by the Open Bionics group. (Have you seen these super cool products? Ahhh!)

Open Bionics Prosthetics for Kids

These are the first three Open Bionics prosthetic designs announced for kids.

The one thing I’ve learned from all of these awesome improvements and changes with prosthetics? So far, many of the new resources can benefit Jordan. That’s because there’s a huge difference between people with hand differences (hands that may have partial palms or partial fingers), below elbow differences (arms that stop somewhere after the elbow but may or may not have a wrist) and above elbow differences (arms that stop somewhere before an elbow). The challenges are much different in the leg difference world. Kids really only have access to one type of prosthetic knee until they get bigger.

Jordan is in a strange position as an above elbow amputee. She’s a congenital amputee. She actually has too much arm for an above elbow amputee to benefit from the full array of above elbow prosthetic options. Why? Because prosthetic elbows take up about a quarter to a half the length of a standard humerus bone. A traumatic amputee would never maintain as much length in the humerus because that person couldn’t benefit from using a prosthetic elbow – something that can offer some type of “natural”f bend and possible rotation where that amputee’s elbow used to be. Since Jordan’s arm is too long for those products, her prosthetist needs to create an elbow built outside of her prosthetic. The joints can bend, but can never offer any rotation. That makes it really trick to move a prosthetic arm to accomplish a lot of natural motions.

It also means it’s really, really hard to take advantage of the benefit of 3D prosthetics. So when Jordan sees these awesome advancements in affordable prosthetics, she can’t use them. At least not yet. And boy, I tell you, when she saw the pictures of Open Bionics’ new arms this week, she was jealous. I’m jealous. I’m thrilled to watch the world of prosthetics grow. I realize some day Jordan will probably benefit alongside many other upper limb prosthetic users. We’re a little impatient. But we’ll wait and help the prosthetic world in whatever way we can to encourage it to improve sooner than later.

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Last month, Jordan and I had a chance to do something very special. We attended Camp No Limits Maryland. It isn’t our traditional camp location – but since Jordan had the amazing chance to attend the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team Kids Camp, she missed our regular CNL experience in Missouri.

Thanks to Boone County Family Resources, we were able to afford to attend a Camp No Limits one time this year. Since I had miles from work travel, I was able to take Jordan to a camp away from our home state. The Maryland camp was the one that fit our schedule and wow, it was worth it.

Here’s some of the big takeaways we got out of our Maryland camp experience.

  1. Camp No Limits feels like camp no matter where you go.
    exercise-camp-no-limits-josh-kennisonJordan has attended Camp No Limits since she was three. Almost all of her camps have included time with camp mentor, Josh Kennison. She knew the exercises from years past and she was able to help lead the “energizers” with a few others campers.
  2. Visiting a new camp means a chance to make new and amazing friends.
    camp-no-limits-beka-marineCamp gave Jordan a chance to meet more limb difference kids who live on the East Coast and they were super fun. I didn’t want to violate privacy, so I’m not posting any of the cool pictures I took of her dancing with her friends at the end-of-camp dance party. But Jordan also got to finally meet Beka Marine, one of a small number of limb different models in the fashion industry. Just before camp started, Beka got a ton of attention when her story went viral before she walked in New York Fashion Week.
  3. You have a chance to invite people to camp that you wouldn’t be able to invite otherwise.
    jordan-miles-obrien-shoe-tyingEver since we learned about journalist Miles O’Brien’s traumatic amputation, I’ve hoped to have a chance to meet him with Jordan. Somehow the stars aligned and we were able to invite him to see camp and hang out with us for an afternoon. Jordan showed him how she ties her shoes and they tried some adventures together – a zip line and a crazy swing that drops really fast from a few stories up. I’m so glad we were able to extend an online conversation in an in-person friendship at camp.
  4. A new camp setting can be pretty incredible.
    camp-no-limits-joy-happyThe Missouri camp is set along a lake and it’s wonderful. But the Maryland camp is also pretty special. We enjoyed some very beautiful sunsets during our time at camp. The whole location is really great.
  5. It’s hard to leave Camp No Limits, no matter where you choose to attend.
    jordan-camp-no-limits-maryland-2015Camp No Limits Maryland ended almost exactly like any of our other Camp No Limits experiences: Jordan cried. But this time we had to leave a little early to get to the airport on time. In Missouri, we tend to be one of the last people to leave, saying goodbye to every person we can.

    Each year, Jordan and I raise money for camp. Since 2011, Jordan has skipped gifts for her December birthday and asked for donations. So far, we’ve raised $15,730! We’re ready to kick off the fundraising for camp in 2016.

    Visit our new donation page and let me know if you have any fun ways we can raise money for camp this time around!


MagZip zippers for everyone!

October 5, 2015

You may remember a little more than a year ago when Jordan tried on her very first MagZip jacket from Under Armour. She’s a massive fan. We a few coats and jackets from the company since that first post. We are honored Under Armour noticed our YouTube video and sent additional samples for Jordan to […]

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A new Camp No Limits adventure

September 3, 2015

Jordan has attended Camp No Limits Missouri every year since she was three… But this year, she missed out because of her amazing opportunity to attend the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team Kids Camp. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m so glad she attended the camp. But we were so sad to miss our […]

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A focus on sports and fitness

August 31, 2015

Fitness is something we think about a lot in Jordan’s world. We learned a long time ago that with a limb difference, it’s super important to keep her core strong. If your core is strong, your body will not have as many long term issues due to a limb difference. So sports and fitness is […]

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Books about differences for our new school

August 27, 2015

Every since Jordan was a baby, we’ve used books as a way to help kids better understand how we can all have differences and they aren’t scary. From Harry and Willy and Carrothead to Oliver’s High Five, we’ve loved how books open up conversations for us. This school year was different for us. Since we […]

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While we were away…

August 25, 2015

This summer was a big deal. And poor Born Just Right’s website fell behind on months and months of stories because of it. It all started in May when I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Disney Social Media Moms conference at Walt Disney World. I saw and learned so many amazing things at […]

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Get a chance to meet people developing the future

July 27, 2015

I’ve written about the fantastic ideas and developments coming from the open source group, eNABLE. It’s an international group of makers developing prosthetics using 3D printers and other ingenious methods to make prosthetics more affordable and accessible. It’s redefining prosthetics and the expectations of what is possible for people in the limb difference world. So […]

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A whole new arm experience

July 16, 2015

Jordan has focused a lot of her prosthetic use on specific tasks – mainly activities like biking and kayaking. Her new joy with her new activity arm is using a scooter all over the place. But the biggest reason we use prosthetics is to help her body do more bi-manual motions – gross and fine motor. […]

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The gift of building new arms

July 15, 2015

Jordan and I are in the middle of our seventh round of prosthetic building. It’s nowhere close to as emotionally exhausting as it used to be. We don’t work with a company that is close to home because no one near us has the intense knowledge of upper limb technology as our prosthetist, Dave Rotter. […]

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Different is Awesome Giveaway

July 7, 2015

Books and photos are two of my favorite ways to help kids better understand a physical difference. Each year, Jordan and I put together a short photo book that tell her story and help her classmates better understand how she lives with one hand. I think that’s why I’m extra excited for my friend, Ryan […]

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The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team Kids Camp Experience

June 18, 2015

When Jordan was invited to the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) Kids Camp, I was sad it took place the same weekend as Camp No Limits Missouri… I actually stopped and talked to Jordan about deciding between the two. We both knew WWAST camp was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And oh boy, it really was. […]

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Spending time with the Wounded Warriors

May 28, 2015

Jordan is less than two weeks away from an amazing opportunity. She gets the chance to work on her softball skills and get to know the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. It’s incredible. We are flying to California to spend a week with the team and 19 other kids and their parents. Jordan will have […]

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That time I bought a house while I was at Walt Disney World

May 20, 2015

Right before I left to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (DisneySMMC), Randy and I stumbled into the best house in the whole world. He’s wanted to move out of our current house for a long time. I’ve been standing ground. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to deal with the drama. […]

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Learning from Disney Parks

May 8, 2015

I’m attending the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World. Today is a day full of learning from some of the park’s finest creative minds and other smart people as the hand picked group of attendees also learn from each other. It’s a really awesome opportunity that I’ve followed online for a number of […]

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