Category Archives: exercise

Got humor?

How to survive life as a parent with special needs. Okay that is a lofty goal! It is hard enough navigating parenting with a child who is typical. Add in a few diagnoses and life can get overwhelming. But here is my go-to list for surviving the life I never expected.

1. Keep your sense of humor. If you have lost your sense of humor because it was drowned by vomit, poop, tantrums or tears Google comedian Steven Wright. How can you not chuckle at thinking: “Is it weird in here or is it just me?” (Steven Wright)

2. Make a daily goal. For me it used to be brushing my teeth at least once a day. Now it is making sure I get to work without evidence of Boo’s breakfast on my shoulder.

3. If you feel all alone in this life as a parent with special needs, you probably are. But it is your job to find support. To scream at the top of your lungs I NEED HELP. If no one hears you, let me know and I will add my voice to yours.

4. Make your child’s teacher/therapist/doctor your friend. Find out about their lives. Interact with those who your child spends most of their time. It will enrich your life in ways you cannot imagine and make issue #3 far less likely to happen.

5. Have a glass of wine. Not the bottle a glass. 

6. Allow yourself to cry, laugh, grieve and rejoice all in the same minute. It doesn’t mean you’ve lost your mind but that you may have found it.

7. Find “ME” time. I know, I hardly ever do. But when I can run for just 30 minutes I come back a much nicer wife, mother and person. It doesn’t have to be every day (oh how I wish I could find me time every day) but make time for you.

8. You hopefully have a partner. The child’s mother or father. Guess what, they are your partner in this and they too are parents with special needs. So lean on them. Consult them. Do not do this all on your own and remember that partner is there. Make them take your child to therapy, a doctor’s appointment or do drop-off at school. For too long of a time I tried to be super mom, handling everything for Boo. Once I let David in our lives were much easier. If you don’t have a partner look at rule #3.

9. It’s okay to wear your sweat pants with a hole in the crotch for a few days in a row. Just try to remember to wear underwear so you are not arrested for pulling a Miley Cyrus at school drop-off.

10. Mix-up your friends. Try to anyway. Keep a healthy mix of parents with special needs and those with that normal kid who just talked back to them. It will make you appreciate your own little wonder. It will also help to make sure you feel alone.

11. It’s okay to get pissed off. Seriously pissy at this life you didn’t expect or prepare. And once you think you’ve got it handled someone will take the rug out from under you. Consider yourself warned. It is okay to question yourself, your God and your child’s doctor. It is not okay for any freaking one to tell you that you are not allowed to feel anger, grief or whatever emotion you may be going through.

12.  Your house doesn’t have to be Martha Stewart Spotless. I will say the state of our life is directly reflected in the mess state of the kitchen. But I have stopped saying to people, sorry for the mess. Instead I say, This is how it always looks and today is actually better.

13. Remember you are more than a parent. You are more than a parent of a child with special needs. You are you and may I say you are doing a fine job of navigating this life the best you can.

Lastly, and this is important: Five years into this life as a parent with special needs I will say this is our life. What we make of it. A glass of wine helps. But what really makes me survive?

The friends who have stood by to hold, comfort and more importantly laugh with me. So find some of those and keep them close. They will help you keep your sense of humor and your sense of self.

Happy Day!

Today Bridget turns five. FIVE. That is half a decade I didn’t think I would have with this beautiful child. I have a tradition. Every year I thank everyone who helps her be the best she can be.


Her school. Her teacher and assistants. Her classmates that include Bridget not due to inclusion but due to friendship. With their help she has found her voice. A year ago she was in class but quiet. Now she bosses her classmates at the top of her lungs. A child we were told would never speak shouts.

Her school therapists. They have the hardest job out there. They remain kind but strict, loving but firm. I honestly do not know how they care for the children in this program day in and day out. They are poorly paid, over qualified and have unending patience. We are so very lucky to live in a town where children with special needs are included and counted.  With the upmost care they have taught Bridget how to jump, how to draw a circle and how to be plugged into the world around her.

Her Spaulding team. She has the best bunch of therapists at Spaulding. They have become our support system, our friends and our race buddies. 


They care for more than just Bridget. Her SPT has helped Abby with her homework, or well tried to. Her OT has let Abby be involved with sensory play. Her PT has let Abby be a part of the obstacle course. It’s more than the therapists. The secretaries greet Bridget with a smile and a hug. The medical assistants whom we are not patients for pick Bridget up and listen to her babble. They meet David & I out for dinner. They see us as more than parents of their patient.

Her Children’s team. This year Bridget graduated out of three programs. Her MD list is down to eight. That’s right EIGHT. She still has her quirks but now only needs to see the other doctors in an emergency. She is STABLE people. As in stable does not need intense monitoring. As in has not been hospitalized in TWO years. As in only has to go to CHB twice a year.

Her friends. The little girl who invited Bridget to a birthday party. The friends that come over to our home because it is easier for her than going to theirs. The friends at our Irish pub who smile at her antics when we take her out for dinner. The friends that encouraged her all summer so we could have this moment. This beautiful moment:

Her family. The ones the read this blog and don’t get upset with me for my openess. The ones that know by reading this blog they are helping Bridget. The ones that don’t read this blog but show their love to Bridget by supporting her every moment.

Her sister.  Abby is aware that her sister is special. Each year the definition, in Abby’s mind, of special evolves. But what never wavers is her love and support. She is the reason Bridget went into the ball pit of terror in OT. Her name was Bridget’s first word and she is the first person Bridget runs to after school.

Today is Bridget’s Happy Day. And I thank each and everyone one of you for making it so.

Well we are half-way there

It’s official. We are half-way through the year. I cannot believe six months have gone by so quickly. I feel like just yesterday I was trapped in the house with two children and no wine.

Since it is July 1st I thought it would be a good idea to see how I’ve been keeping those darn resolutions. Short story, it starts great but doesn’t end well.


#1 begin running again. I am counting this as a win. Sure it took me until the 2nd week of June to start, but I’ve done a 5k and that freaking counts.

#2 Be a better friend to others than they are to me. Well, this one is a 60/40 split. I know I have taken way more than I have received. But I still have time to even the score.

#3 Give up Diet Coke. Again, it took 4 months for it to work. But I am officially 2 and a half months sober. Is it considered sober to be without diet coke? I know I am not as energetic.  Still counting it as a win.

#4 Hugging the girls versus screaming at them. Based on this past weekend I am definitely failing in the hug department. Although I do let Allie use my hot tub for a bath so that should add to the bell curve. Plus it is summer so I won’t be screaming over homework.

#5. Read more, watch TV less. Damn Kindle fire. I am definitely watching less TV but now spending more time playing Words with Friends. Julie can tell you this is true. Although since she is often winning in our battles she might be kind. Epic fail.

#6. Less time venting, more time rejoicing. Yeah, kind of failing at that one too. Tia will keep me honest with that one.

#7. Keeping a cleaner house. Let’s see between blogging, working, Words with Friends and dog hair….yeah I cannot even justify this one. Sorry. I just really don’t want to dust.

#8. Finding balance. I think of it as becoming more of a contortionist than a gymnast. No balance required but a chiropractor would be handy.

Along with a maid.

How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions? I cannot be the only one with a barely passing grade!



I did it!

After two weeks of “training” I did it. I managed to run a 5k and not be the last one across the finish line. My husband ran it with me. He did not train at all. Which makes me extremely jealous, as he never got out of breath.

The race started with motivation from the 19 year-old who organized the race to raise money for Crohn’s Disease. Mackenzie is a cool kid who has battled Crohn’s for the past three years. When she had to postpone starting college due to the disease instead of sitting back and feeling sorry for herself, she organized a 5k.

She is an inspiration for all children not to let illness, disease or hardship to defeat them. As she finished her speech she informed us that this was an “easy” 5k with just one hill. Oh, but it was a killer hill with a cemetery at the top if anyone couldn’t make it!



With those words of wisdom we were off! I started off with the pack, that quickly left me behind. David (thankfully) believes in leaving no man behind so he slowed to my pace. My goal? Keep the 80 year-olds behind me and not come in last.

That hill? It was after the first half-mile. As I am struggling to breathe running up the hill, David says: I know a short-cut. NO! I am not cheating, I am running this damn hill. Boo, in the stroller, is yelling RUN. Now in his defense he did offer to take over pushing her. But I was making a point and have way too much pride to give up.

Although I did slow to a walk. As we crested the hill, David encourages me to start running, after all it’s now down hill and we might be able to pass a couple of teenagers. We round the corner, Boo yelling ‘fast’ and me trying to breathe.

But we did it, we ran a 5k in under 38 minutes (okay, very close to 38, but it was under!).  There is rumor of a runner’s high. When the adrenaline starts to flow and all is peace and harmony.

I never found it.

This is what went through my mind as I ran (thought because I didn’t possess the energy to speak):

Boo really has to stop eating donuts and cookies
David knows way too many people in this town
What time does the Irish Pub open
The next time David jumps onto a staircase and shows off I hope he breaks his ankle
Crap, did I take a wrong turn
Boo screaming “I’m running” really isn’t helping
Does that girl in front of me know her ass is hanging out of her shorts
Why didn’t I know about the dress code for this race
Who can run in all that make-up
Boo please stop yelling FAST I’m doing the best I can
Where the hell is that runner’s high
How can David NOT be out of breath yet
Am I supposed to be listening to his stories
If I finish this I am so getting a burger and a glass of wine

HOLY CRAP There is the finish line!

Phew I’m not the last one across and I didn’t eat one bug

Why sometimes one child is so much easier

This sounds horrible, but when I had Allie I was one and done. I mean D-O-N-E. I didn’t think I would ever love, like, have patience or stamina for another child.

Then along came a massive fire and Boo. Swear to God as any firefighter wife and she will tell you that fire = aphrodisiac to the Men that Are. Anyway, too much information but again there came Boo.


But a couple of weekends ago, Allie had her first sleep over. We had only one child and crazy dog (what exactly is a puppy who is not a puppy but not a dog called) to be responsible for almost 23 hours.

Oh my gosh, life was easier with one child. To be able to do things at Boo’s pace, to be able to sit in the quiet with her it was magical.

This past weekend, Allie went to a friends on Saturday. Called me at 4pm to let me know she wasn’t coming home. Hello, you are 9! You do not get to just call and say you have other plans. But because the friend is like a fairy godmother we let her stay. Hubs went to work on Sunday morning, leaving me and Boo to spend the day anyway we wanted.

We went for a great walk, where she screamed RUN at me. I tried to tell her we were walking, she said Donut. I ran. For a half-mile then slowed. Then she said Cookie. I ran, then slowed. CUPCAKE!!! I ran then said, screw it. I will not be guilted by a four year-old. I just walked a little further than I planned. It was a gorgeous day…

Notice how she is relaxing as I am just trying to breathe (nope, I am not sharing that picture!). I look at it this way, not only did I get exercise but Boo had speech therapy during the walk. And any rumors that she almost rolled back into the Canal are completely fabricated.

The best part of the weekend, sadly, was being able to focus on one child. Not distracted by a million other things. Please understand I do love both my girls. But to have 23 hours to just focus on one?

I quickly realized why only children are spoiled.

Following what was I thinking…

Remember I said I would find 10 minutes and signed up for a 5k. If not you can read here to catch up. Okay if you are done laughing we can continue…

The other day I decided I had to start training for that 5k. Two weeks should be enough, right? Since the Bruins kept me up to oh-dark-thirty in triple overtime it wasn’t happening before work. I decided to take an hour personal time before the Boo pick-up and take a practice run.

A 2.2 mile run/walk. What could go wrong?

It started out fine, there I was rocking jogging to Lady Antebellum when I hit my first obstacle. The fire department. Who drives by? Husband and fellow brothers in the big ass fire truck. Why are they just roaming the streets, shouldn’t they be at the station or saving lives? (Later husband tells me they were on their way back to the station, not just roaming the streets)>

The second obstacle, the hill. Why the hell are there so many hills. Okay driveways that are at an incline, but still it was an incline.

Then the third obstacle, elderly tourists. They get off the tour bus and right onto the sidewalk. You just know you can not run around their walkers. I veer around them trying to ask the gentleman for a hit off his oxygen bottle and continue on. I finish almost mile one (yes, ALMOST mile one) and…

Eat a freaking bug.

In the name of all that is Holy why the Hell are there bugs!!! But I didn’t vomit so point for me. As I am choking I decide to walk. Except I am almost to the fire station. I cannot embarrass myself. Or him. Okay not so much him….So I start running again.

Then I see Mecca, a liquor store. Hello wine…are they doing a tasting? Crap I am supposed to be jogging not drinking. Damn I knew I should have brought wine cab fare. Carrying on I almost get hit by a car.

Yes a car that obviously never heard of the rule to STOP before turning RIGHT on red. I am pretty sure they were tourists. Mass drivers know the stop, not quite stop but roll, then go. Out of towners? They don’t have the roll down.

But we all survived. Of course I was thinking hey if he hits me the EMT’s will bring something stronger than wine, right? But then the second thought of, well crap I can just imagine the ribbing I will take from my husband and his friends if they have to respond. Okay….

I give up and begin walking. For half of an Adele song, why do I have slow songs on my MP3? And to boot a song that makes me feel like a weak woman rather than a strong one. I finally figure out how to fast forward on an MP3 to Miranda Lambert. Now that is kick-ass jogging music.

I start up again and I make it just before mile two. When Levon by Elton John comes on. Yes, he called his child Jesus. I think that was my reprieve and I started walking again. Jesus walked on water, I can walk on the sidewalk, right?

This is what I learned in my first jog of the year in my hope to go from couch to 5k (without following their program) instead of 5k to couch:

Our town has way too many elderly tourists.
Dunkin donuts is right next door to the police and fire station. Yet my husband never brings home donuts… Coincidence?
There were four liquor stores on my short 2.2 (yes I am counting the .2) mile jog/walk.
I did not stop at one of them so I am either an idiot, a runner or just some one who didn’t bring cash on my run.
Bugs are gross.
I really shouldn’t sing out loud to the MP3 player.

But I did it. I ran 2.2 miles (okay I walked maybe more than the .2), ate a bug and didn’t vomit.

I am on my way to the 5k.