Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Sunny Reprieve

Hello from Arkansas!

Grammy Linda, Brady P. and I came down last week, so Braeden could visit his dad. Even though our flight here was canceled and our flight out of here is canceled, we are grateful to be in the sunshine and double digits above zero.

A couple days ago it was 54° so Grammy and I hiked down to the creek and sat on some boulders in the sunshine. We even got to take off our jackets and pull up our pant legs to really soak it in! It was so peaceful and welcome that I soaked it into my soul.

Here is a little video of my favorite part of the creek that I sat in every day I have been here. It’s no Lake Superior, but it’s fresh running water, and the sun sparkles around it.

We hope to be back home soon although it will look and feel like a different place than when we left. That is part of life I suppose.

Brady P. needs to be home. As a creature of routine and habit, being away and traveling for a month has really taken a toll on his behavior and feelings of security. I look forward to getting back to normal even though normal is different now. I am stronger and wiser.  At least I hope so!

Please pardon the unusual look of the font and alignment of this blog. I couldn’t quite get it right on my iPhone. I will edit it once I get back.

Be true to yourself. You deserve it!  Nobody else can be you.

And for heaven sake, stay warm!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Hello loved one.

You are loved by someone, you know!

I am traveling today, tomorrow and next Wednesday.  I'll do my best to get something out in the interim.

Sorry about the chaos. 

Believe in yourself.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Brighter Days

When was the last time you felt like a kid?

Like you were ready to take on the world.  Like you had so much energy that you had to roll in the snow to let some of it out.  Like you were carefree, full of laughter and longing to spread joy.

Brady P. is like this everyday that I am in a good mood. 

I was like this last week after I crawled my way out of being crushed emotionally.

Brief recap:

     Amanda recently finds herself in a situation where she thinks she is going to die.  She survives.  But she lives paralyzed in fear.  She cannot eat or sleep.  
     Grammy comes to save her and Brady P. from being alone, so the situation cannot happen again.  Grammy brings Amanda and Brady P. home to Wisconsin where Brady P. can be in good care of Grammy and Grampy while Amanda hibernates in order to heal.  
     Amanda cries.  She bawls.  She curses.  She journals.  She lets it all (well, at least as much as possible for now) out.  Then she meditates three times a day.  She focuses on peace.  On strength. On overcoming.  On brighter days.  
     Luckily, Amanda is in a quiet place in the woods, so she has no other demands placed on her besides the one to overcome trauma.

And she did.


Okay, back to first person.  I just wanted to remove myself a bit from that story, so it wouldn't be so emotional.  You don't need my drama in your life.

But I do want you to see my salvation.  Because after that week of purging fear, anger, grief, sadness and guilt, I could find myself again.

Those emotions are not part of who I am.  I am strong, upbeat, friendly, caring and positive.  I must move forward, and I must forgive.

When I was able to do all that, I quite literally became a kid again.  I couldn't wait to play with Brady P.  I sledded more than the little kids every chance I got.  I skipped and bounced and laughed and sang.  

I felt light again.

A lightness in my physical being, my emotions and even in the things I looked at.  I was so grateful because I could have been stuck in that dark, scared, depressing place in my mind for, well, forever.

But I knew that is not me.  That is not who I would let myself become because of someone else's actions.  I am a warrior, and I am here to help save the world.  

Thank goodness I can save myself.

Now, I'm not going to preach to you about any of this, but I certainly want you to see from my experience how the power of positivity, meditation, doing the work and having a supportive and safe place to stay while you are healing or trying to achieve a goal in life are quite necessary.  I could not have done it in a week's time without any of these elements.

Thank you to everyone who has offered me support.  Brady P. and I are stronger and wiser because of it.

And as proof that we are doing well, here is a video that my Daddio took on a sledding walk at the Rogers one day.  It is the first video I have edited in years.  It's simple, but sweet.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Big Dumps


For the sake of emotional integrity, I am going to be surface level and brief today.

We just got (according to my measurement) 16 inches of heavy snow.  It was a great workout to move it.  And just before I was done, somebody decided that shoveling looked fun.

So I gave him a pint-sized shovel, and he helped me finish.  What a proud little man.

Mama's little shoveler

See you next week once things settle a bit.  In the meantime, be true to yourself.  You deserve it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


And so it's a new year.

Maybe that doesn't mean much to you, but here at the Vitality household, we all have things to work on.  Can't save the world if we can't save ourselves, right?

We are also working on Brady P.

He wants to be a big boy.

One of the things he is doing so well already is at the dinner table.  Often times, we are in and out, and eating a meal together seems impossible.  But once we started doing dinner more often as a family, we saw big progress.

Braeden loves to eat what we eat.  He even ate all of his bean salad yesterday.  With a fork.  I was so proud that tears welled in my eyes.

He is clearing his plate of food we make.  With a fork.  We are still working on the stabbing technique, but I can tell he is as proud as we are.  So kudos to eating dinner together.

He is wearing big boy underwear.

Okay.  Not all the time, but we give him a few hours in the evening to keep his superhero underwear dry for as long as possible and encourage him to pee on the potty between activities.

Sometimes it's already too late.

But if we all stay positive and encouraging, he will get there.  We believe that it's hard for him to recognize, let alone control the feeling of peeing.  That's part of the hypotonia in his muscles that comes with Down syndrome.  His muscles hang loose until he uses them.

But when he uses them, watch out.  He is strong.

We are also really practicing speech.  


Getting those sounds right.  We encourage him to use his words, but then he is not comprehendible to other people.  How embarrassing for all parties involved.

He wants to use his words.  Especially with our new dog, Missy.

"Missy, down!" he will shout to her when she jumps onto his trampoline with him.

It sounds like "Biggy, gum!" but I smile to myself because I am proud that he tries.

And now we are drilling it.  There are certain sounds like 'f,' 's,' 'o' and 'z' that we can probably nail in the next few weeks if we keep at it.  The more we pay attention to what he can already do, the more we can play off his skills to improve on them.

I'm really excited and hopeful about this.  As long as we play animal games and read animal books, we'll have plenty of words to say that will keep him interested.

Want to know one thing that is helping?  His new glasses.

A spectacle in his specs

Yup.  His attention span for reading and writing has improved because he can actually see what he is looking at more clearly.  And he doesn't turn his head to read out of the side of his eye.  Or touch his nose to the book.

Little man.

We are so proud of him.

Here's to a progressive new year to us all!

*If you like pictures of snowflakes and frost, check out the new prints at the Vitality shop!  For the next week we're running a sale: ALL orders ship for free and any order of $20 or more gets 20% off with coupon code NEWYEAR.  Enjoy!