Blogmas | Christmas Tree Ornaments

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Howdy!

Before I start on this, I am leaving my previous Blogmas post about my Christmas tree because if you haven’t read it yet or this is your first time on here, you can get caught up on why I have adopted a very interesting way to do my tree this year.

For today though, I am discussing my process of both the ornaments and the way I took the pictures, because that in itself was a big production that some people might find enjoyable! Fun fact: I am one of those people! 

  The Ornaments  

I feel the need to mention that the day I finished writing my previous post about my tree, my whole original theme of white lights, purple bulbs, and a star on top, kind of went out the window since my mom could not find anything to match that scheme. However, my dad did say something about going to Dollar General and getting things there. So, one morning I went on the DG website and looked over their very limited holiday decorations and found two that I actually loved, and they were: a pair of angel wings that came in two colors on the site, gold and red. I really fell in love with the red ones. The other one I just couldn’t get over was the crown. If you know me well, you know I need anything royalty and I thought for this reason would be no different!

Later that day, my mom went to the store and came home with an interesting sort of things for me. She got me a box of array silver ornaments. There are the normal shiny ones but my favorites are really the glittery and matte bulbs the most. Unfortunately, they didn’t have their hooks on them already so that was a bummer, but I managed to put two of them on the tree myself before letting mom take over! Now, you’re probably wondering about the two I found online. Did we have any luck in that department? Well, I’m happy to say, she found both of them! There was a setback though, she found the wings only in silver.

This wasn’t what freaked us out though. When I saw them online, they looked pretty smell, almost the same size of the other ones she got me. No… The wings and crown are huge! We couldn’t believe it! Honestly the crown is the perfect size but the wings just look obnoxious! This wasn’t the funny thing though, because both of my parents thought it would look great as the topper, but every time I look at it, I think it looks like a vagina! I literally thought of the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, when Marie takes an art class and the sculpture she presents to her family, looks just like a vagina. The wings are basically in the same shape but with a bigger opening in the middle, so when my mom placed it at the top of my tree, it just looked very wrong. I mean, I’m all for my Christmas tree being non-traditional, but I have to draw the line somewhere!

I managed to talk my mom into putting the wings lower on the tree, but as much as I had my heart on a star on the top, I kind of thought the crown would look better there instead. It took some convincing on my part because my mom was very adamant about the vagina–I mean, the wings on top–but it does fit on there nicely. As far as decorations on my tree, this is about it. My mom did find me some lights too, but the cord was white and since the tree isn’t as full like others, it looked a bit chaotic but all is not lost, because my mom came up with another idea for them. I don’t even know what prompt this, but she just started wrapping them around my curtain rod on both sides and it actually looks amazing with my sunflower curtain! Thankfully, the lights don’t generate too much heat that I can actually leave them on all day and night. They make my room look really cozy!

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  The Process Of The Pictures  

Now that we have that part out of the way, I can talk to you about how I managed to take the photos for this blog post. I will say, it was not easy, but honestly any post that requires a lot of pictures is usually pretty difficult anyways! Between the fact that I am always adjusting myself to get the ‘perfect’ shot and basically trying not to pop out of my wheelchair and land butt (or worse, back) first on the hardwood floor, isn’t the best thing in the world. Thankfully, I can say I did not hurt myself too awful that day – I did sleep like a baby that night so I took that as a good sign!

For the first round of photos, I used my Kodak digital camera I got last Christmas. I thought the pictures turned out really good the last time so I tried it out for this part, but since I was working with higher angles, I was having a lot of difficulty keeping the camera steady enough. I was able to get a few of the ornaments in their places, so that was nice, but for the rest I switched to my tablet.

Now, I will say that I would only use this as a last resort, because they weren’t in the best quality. I think the culprit for this was because it was too dark in my room. I have become dependent on the flash and since I didn’t have enough lighting, they might not look the greatest but I honestly loved how they turned out for some odd reason. Besides this, I used something else to help make everything easier for me. My nana and papaw had this foot stool that they inherited from the aunts, and I use this to prop up my tablet to color and read. However, I hadn’t thought about using it as a tripod until that day. It took me a good hour and a half to arrange it in certain ways to get the shots I wanted, because when it comes to blog photography, I am incredibly picky! We were successful though, or at least I’ll found out if any of you send me comments about them after reading this post.

The last thing I would like to do, is find this large bag of classic Christmas heirlooms my nana gave me a couple of years ago. I think they would look awesome surrounding the tree. It would complete the whole thing I think. If we find them, I’ll update you about it on Instagram and Facebook!

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What was the meaning for your Christmas tree theme? Do you have any funny ornament stories you would like to share with me? For anybody with a disability, does it normally take you a while to get everything just right? What do you use to make things easier?

snowflake

A-Z Disability Challenge | W : Wheelchairs

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It is extremely difficult for me to talk about wheelchairs. Last year, the big contervesory was about the death of Stephan Hawking was announced, an artist made this beautiful drawing of him coming out of his wheelchair and basically walking up to heaven. As a disabled woman, I was very conflicted with this, but it wasn’t for the picture per se. It was because I felt like I had to choose between what I’ve always been taught and agreeing with the rest of the disability community.

The big deal wasn’t necessarily about the drawing itself, it was more about how a disabled person relies on their wheelchair to do things, like simple tasks around the house and/or getting out and having drinks with friends. However, everything just exploded into this chaotic thing that I really did not want to be part of at that time. Honestly, I still didn’t want to talk about it again on here, but I am on the letter “W” and there wasn’t anything else I could talk about other than this.

So, I’ll just say that my wheelchair doesn’t give me freedom. There it’s out and I can separate myself from the crap I’ve been feeling all this time.

I do think it allows me to do tasks better but I still feel stuck whenever I am in it. I really feel I am limited in both varieties of wheelchairs, as I’m either too short or too bulky! I have yet to find the perfect fit. Maybe this is what regular woman deal with picking out new heels! The second point I would like to get across is, it’s also all about your state of mind. I think after so long, you adapt to every different setting, and wheelchairs are a part of this too. You might get to do new or lose some beloved challenges while figuring out your surroundings.

Again, I have conflicting feelings about my freedom. I know I can never get away from my limitations. I say this not a sad note though, I like being able to test them anyways. I think this is really healthy! My family might not always agree with that statement, but you know. Honestly I would lastly like to say, I will believe what I want to. I have been doing pretty good on several other subjects throughout the years, I can add this onto the never ending list too! Even if that means keeping it in for a year and a half until I can find a clean way to discuss it on here, that’s what I’ll do.

If you’re in a wheelchair, whether that is full or part time, what are your thoughts on your freedom to be able do all the things you want to do? 

snowflake

Blogmas | The Christmas Day Tag!

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Howdy!

I think every Blogmas I’ve done, I always have some kind of Christmas tag in the lineup. I’ve never planned on any of them, by the time the season rolls around, they just appear at the right time, so I just end up doing them anyways!

I found this one while on Twitter. A fellow blogger Nina posted her link through the many retweet accounts and it came up on my newsfeed. When I first read it, I quickly realized that I hadn’t done it before and that it was all about what goes on Christmas day. I thought it would be fun to kind of guess what’ll happen that day a few weeks in advance, and maybe I’ll find out everything I said in my answers was right. Sometimes I like placing bets on myself, keeps things entertaining on those boring gloomy days!

It is a tag, but I am opening it up to anyone who wants to do it. If you end up answering the questions below, I would like to read your posts! So, please link it back to me at the end, okay? Have fun!

What time do you wake up?

It varies with every year honestly, but it is always very early! I’m not saying we get up at like three or four in the morning–when I was little, my sister and I tried to make this happen on more than one occasion; it actually happened once, we were proud of ourselves!–but we tend to get up around sevenish. When my grandparents lived in town, this was our usual schedule: wake up at 7am, play for 10 minutes and then rush to get ready to go to nana and papaw’s by 8am. This might be the way, Blondie and Brandon do it this year, but I could be wrong.

Where will you be spending the day?

So, since we no longer go to my grandparent’s house, it’ll just be my immediate family gathering at our new house! I am actually really excited to celebrate it here, we were jipped last year but we want to make up for it.

What will you be wearing?

I have a really cute pajama set, they are white with little Cardinals sitting on tiny branches and red leaves. It is made of velvet, so they are comfy and warm – perfect for Christmas I think!

What games will you be playing?

We don’t really play any games, at least not with my parents. Nolan will probably play with his cars for the “short” time before we unwrap presents. I don’t think my parents, mainly my dad, to have my little nephew wait even five minutes to dig into the gifts under the tree! He’s always been awful about that, but he has turned into a big softie when it comes to him.

What will you be eating and drinking?

So, during Thanksgiving, my mom is the one that tends to do the bulk of the cooking but dad is in charge of the turkey and gravy. However, when it comes to Christmas, this is where he tends to shine the most. He loves making big Christmas breakfasts.

We usually have any way you take your eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, sausage and cinnamon rolls. Sometimes he makes me breakfast burritos or quesadilla, but if he doesn’t, my go-to is the potatoes with ketchup, plus two or three cinnamon rolls for good measure!

As far as beverages go, we never have anything fancy. Nolan will probably drink apple juice and the rest of us will have milk, which seems like the perfect breakfast to me.

What will you be watching?

Okay, since dad gets up pretty early to cook everything, he usually takes over the remote and turns it to TBS for the 24 hour broadcast of “A Christmas Story”. Here’s the funny thing about that, I haven’t watched it all the way through since I was in middle school!

Now, after all of the festivities die down a bit, I have a full afternoon of NBA basketball games. I like to think it’s a Christmas gift to myself because it’s usually all of the teams I normally watch during the season playing on that day. Last year, I only missed one game, because I was so exhausted and because the Lakers were having an awful bout of games, I figured I wasn’t going to miss much and I think I was right too. I might end up recording them all and watch at my own time, but who knows!

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What do you hope to find under the tree on Christmas Day?

You’re allowed to laugh at this answer, but I haven’t really asked for much this year. My mom said she has gotten me something that will be signed “From Santa Claus” on Christmas day, but the only thing I really hope to see is a giant pillow.

I sleep with three pillows at the moment! I have my childhood pillow down at the bottom because I can’t get rid of it for the life of me, plus two extra ones I’ve had to include because of my neck. So, I am hoping for one, hard, giant pillow to solve all of my problems.

Who will you be spending day with?

I am spending the day with my parents, Blondie, Brandon, Nolan and our dog ChiChi (and yes, she has a stocking and is getting her own gifts!). I feel like it could be chaotic because of the excitement in general, but since Nolan is walking now, we can’t just place him in his high chair and have him unwrap his presents there. I have a feeling, he’ll be attempting to help everyone with their gifts!

When will you be opening your presents?

It’ll depend on whether or not we eat breakfast first, but like I said, I don’t think it’ll take my nephew long to convince papaw that we need to do this first, but you never know – although when it comes to these two, I’m hardly ever wrong!

snowflake

A-Z Disability Challenge | V : Voiceless

I am dedicating this week’s post to all of the disabled people who cannot speak, both physically and mentally.

My aunt was born deaf and she has been successful at getting through life, she has had some issues over the years, like right now, one of them is that she is loosing her sight, and I can’t imagine how scary that is! She relies on a lot of things, especially her eyes to be able to do sign language with other people, including her family. So, I really hope this post doesn’t offend her or any other person who is deaf out there.

One of the biggest misconceptions about disabled people, is that we can’t speak for ourselves. It’s crazy how many stories I’ve heard from various family members of people coming up to them in stores when I was younger, and they were absolutely amazed that I could talk. Sadly this is a reality to a lot of people out there. They can’t say anything, and I’m not just talking about people who are deaf. My focus are on those who could be scared, unable because of their condition, etc There are lots of reasons for a person to become silent.

People think this only happens to elderly people, after they’ve had a heart attack or stroke. They lose the ability to do things for themselves, to the point where they have to relearn how to do things again. Sometimes, one of those things is speaking. Unfortunately, there are people, who never get the chance to go back to who they use to be and they’re stuck like this. It’s always sad to see an older person in this state, but I often think about the ones who were born without ever having anything like this happen to them, and yet they are going through the same things and it messes with me emotionally; I feel grateful that I am of sound, mind and body, but I also feel awful at the same time because I don’t really know what to do to help them.

This is when you understand why some opt for assisted-suicide, because they believe it is the best choice for them.

Blogmas | Why I Went Non-Traditional This Christmas

Howdy!

I am a couple of days early, but I already had this in my daily planner that it’ll work the best. Let’s be honest, there’s a 50/50 chance that you put your tree and decorations in and around your house way before yesterday, so I wouldn’t be judging me so quickly! 😉 In my defense though, I only got the tree itself done. It’s just a little naked at the moment.


Last Christmas, I published a blog post about decor ideas that I was thinking about for this year.The main reason why I wrote that post is because we didn’t put up our family tree because of the mess after our new house arriving but having to wait to actually move into it until after new years. It was Nolan’s first Christmas but as much as we all loved watching him tear into his gifts, it did feel a little off not to have that tradition continuing even if it was our final family holiday together.

I like that little piece of tradition, putting up our 29 year old Christmas tree with both Blondie and Brandon. We usually make it a big thing, but now with Nolan being a year older, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not he actually helps with decorating it! With that being said, I was perfectly okay with switching things up when it came to decorating my room for Christmas–even if that meant getting a black tree!

Yes, you read that right. I said, I have a black Christmas tree!

In that post that I put up, I actually mentioned something about the trend of these black trees, but I didn’t even plan on getting or much less wanting one originally. I even put a poll up on my Twitter with four colors: green red, purple, and black; the only ones that people voted were purple with 80%, and lastly black had 20%!

At first, my plan was going about a regular green tree, but as I started thinking about more, I ended up really wanting a royal purple tree instead. My Charlie Brown tree I had in the old house was purple, so I figured I would keep this tradition going too. The only reason why I suddenly changed my mind was one night my mom was looking up trees on various websites and she found a 3″ tree in different colors. She almost convinced me to get a white one, but once she said there was a black tree, I just lost it! I knew it was for me, so we bought it for $16.95!

Now before it arrived, I expected it to be fairly large and full of little branches. What I got instead was a tree that is the same height of my push wheelchair! The only thing I got right were the branches, however my mom and I were concerned that it wasn’t going to be as grand as the larger trees, I still think it’s cute! I have fixed several of the branches since taking these photos, but nothing much has really changed.

As far as ornaments and topper, I am also breaking up from using my favorites ones in our family tote, but I am enjoying creating my own path though! I would like to keep a part of my original color scheme: royal purple and white.Apparently, it’s a lot easier to find white lights and ornaments, but anything in a darker shade of purple, is becoming a bit more difficult to do! My latest idea was if there was any room left that I would add some quirky ones throughout it too. At the rate I’m going though, it might become my alternative if we can’t find the right colored bulbs anywhere! For the top of the tree, I want a star instead of an angel, because I’ve always liked them a lot better!

I have only one window in my room, and it’s great because I am lucky to get both the moon at night and morning sun, which is something I wasn’t able to enjoy back in my old room! After learning the layout of my new room, and I decided which furniture would go where, I knew having a tree right in between and the middle of my window would be perfect! We don’t know if this will be okay for the lights, but I am prepared on getting battery powered ones if nothing else will reach over to the plugins. There is one final tradition I am not doing and that is, I am not using those stand wraps. I think my sunflower rug will be do just fine

When I finally have everything ready and go to actually decorate my Christmas tree, I will definitely be taking pictures of the whole process for you! Hopefully, it won’t take us the whole month to find any good ones, but you never know!

Do you have a tree in your bedroom that’s completely different than the traditional tree in your living room or at your parent’s house? If you don’t, is that something you are striving for in the future? What kind of version do you see for it?

A-Z Disability Challenge | U : Unconditional Love + Support

One thing that is equally important to a disabled person’s life is having unconditional love and support from their family and friends. I have always had a large group of people in my corner and as blessed as I am with all of this love, I also know that there are others like me who don’t have anybody there for them.

I have been very lucky to have loving parents that believed in me, even as a baby! They are the ones that stopped the doctors at Riley’s, when I was a few months old, to operate on me to make me look ‘normal’ when there was a small chance it wouldn’t help me. They just let me figure things out on my own. Even if that meant, I used my feet for everything and was a wheelchair bound for the rest of my life. I have never given my parents much credit to this decision because it was a risk not knowing how this little girl would be able to do things for herself. Thankfully, I did learn things on my own or with some help from other family members/physical therapists.

I wasn’t aware of how other young teens or adults with various disabilities lived without this kind of love, until I was a senior in high school.

I wish the emotions I was experiencing had sunk in as I feel like it would have helped me understand loads what everyone in my family was trying to relay to me about their worries of me living on a college campus. Now I get why they were so concerned and agree that I was not ready for that kind of commitment. However, when my mom started working at a nursing home that had residents with various levels of mental disabilities, and the stories of some of them being left at the door with trash bags full of clothes and other stuff, really broke my heart!

I do understand that some people cannot handle some traits that certain people produce but you don’t give up on your family like that. A friend of mine has a daughter who is autistic. I have never met her, but have been around other children with autism in the past. So, I am familiar with their quirks and I give kudos to the parents out there dealing with a child like this, but I’ve heard of autistic kids being left behind or being killed because the families just cannot deal with them anymore. Those are always the worst to see online, but when you feel like you’re at your wits end, what is really your next step?

So, I have a questions to my fellow disabled readers out there, did you have a good support behind you growing up? Or were you basically left to be your own hero? If you said “yes” to that, how do begin to trust others that they’re not going to abandon you at the end?

A-Z Disability Challenge | T : Titanium

I think one of the most popular subjects I tend to talk about, whether it’s online or out in public, is my Scoliosis and time I spent in the hospital to receive my rods in my back to help fix that problem. Honestly, I would like to stop doing it, because I really do speak up about it a lot! So, I’m hoping that this post will mark the end of it for a while.


I was a newly eleventh year old when I finally had my third and last surgery at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in St. Louis, MO. The surgery actually took place at the Children’s Hospital since it was a major operation. My family and I were already familiar with it, because I had my second surgery there too! I’ve never been too sure about how long I was under but I want to say about eight hours. I’m sure some of my family members will comment below the correct time range if I’m wrong.

I spent about three weeks recovering from the “right side” surgery, which surprised the crap out of my doctor, so they made a schedule to get the final surgery done within a week later. It wasn’t that long of a gap between these two, but neither was the timeline to go home either. I feel like I was there for another week and a half because we came home just before Thanksgiving. For the operation itself, it consisted of stretching out my body, inserting the crushed rib they took out during the previous surgery, placing it into small spaces where the cartilage in the spine is suppose to be, afterwards putting the titanium rods in place; plus the metal pins at my hips. The last thing they did besides sew me back up was unscrew the metal halo I had attached to my skull for almost four months. Yes, we asked if we could keep it, but were told various stories about why that wouldn’t be a good idea. .

Now after 17 years, it is still pretty weird to see these really bright objects pop up on recent X-Rays. Even though I’ve only had one done that wasn’t for a check-up at Shriner’s, was even more surreal because for the whole of my childhood that’s where I went to get a look at the inside of my body, besides the time I got an MRI at Children’s Hospital, just before I was to have the second surgery! Other than that, I really forget that I have them. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can definitely sense when the weather is changing drastically because of my rods and I’m certainly not a fan of going through a metal scanner and hearing it go off like crazy and it’s not all because of the wheelchair!

As time rolls by, the less sensitive my back has become to being touched. I use to try to move away from my mom’s hands whenever she gives me a shower, because it was so painful internally, but I’m happy to say I love being scrubbed down because it acts like a mini back rub too! Of course, I still have days where I do not like to be touched back there and it’s usually because of something that I’ve done, like slept in a different way or popped it, and yes, I try not to do that on a daily basis!

Here’s an interesting question for you, do you have any titanium plates or rods in your body? Also, do you get sick and tired of talking about how you got it like me?