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Nine years ago (!!!), I was on the steering committee and Sarah Kate was one of a handful of “poster children” for the fundraising campaign for an accessible playground to be built in Decatur, Alabama. I spoke to a number of local groups about the importance of inclusive play, and she was featured in a few newspaper articles. Unfortunately, the playground was completed after we had moved from the area, so my kids have never been able to use it (though we were invited back for the opening).

But I’m happy to say that our personal dream has been realized.

Mayberry spent this spring and summer replacing all of the older, non-accessible equipment in our downtown playground, and several hundred people turned out for the ribbon cutting on Saturday morning (I got to sneak a few photos beforehand).

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Is it perfect? No.

Is it 100% accessible in every way? No.

But it has ramps and a smooth rubber surface and it’s easy to spot your kid as he charges through the equipment like a man on fire. On Saturday at the dedication, I loved seeing Sarah Kate’s canes set to the side of the ramp with no Sarah Kate in sight.

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In his opening remarks, our mayor thanked one mom – her name is Katie Evans – for providing the push that the city needed to seriously consider the project, and eventually get it done. Katie ran up against some daunting obstacles, but in the end her dream became a reality, and for that I am thankful.

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The Dogwood Trail Maids were on hand for the festivities (I know some of you are fascinated with the girls in Easter-egg-colored hoop skirts so I had to post them :) ). To my knowledge, none of them are named Lemon or Crickett, but … you never know.

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And our governor, Robert Bentley, was in attendance (and spoke!), as well.

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Nathan played the permanent instruments, ran up the ramp to the slides, and generally got hot and sweaty and had a good time. Sarah Kate was a bit more subdued, but she still had the opportunity to play, not just watch from the sidelines like she would have done on the old playground.

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Oh, and swinging. He enjoyed the swinging, though he doesn’t quite have the hang of it yet.

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The kids also got to meet Governor Bentley.

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We might possibly have gotten moved up in the line waiting to get a photo taken because Mr. Andi’s boss, the mayor, may have sorta-kinda put us ahead of another family. Or two. Which normally I wouldn’t go along with but Sarah Kate was seriously sagging by that time.

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It was a good day.

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Sun-Beams is a collection of links to stories, articles, photos, or videos I have come across that I believe will inspire, inform, or encourage you, as well as my favorite photo posted on my other blog, Violet Film, from the past week.

More on the Story of Baby Gammy - This story is incredibly tragic and getting stranger by the day.

Yes, My Adult Son with Down Syndrome Lives at Home - And she likes it that way!

The Down Syndrome Community’s Death Debate - I have to admit, I had no idea this was going on…

Comedian Francesca Martinez: ‘I’ve accepted my cerebral palsy – now I’m calling on others to join the revolution’ - I love hearing from adults with CP!

Photo of the Week:

There’s a story here … come back Tuesday for the details.

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Seven Snippets: The End of Summer, Meeting the Teachers, and the Surprising Giveaway Winner

August 15, 2014

— 1 — School starts on Monday and it’s hard to believe, but … I’m getting a raise! Okay, so not really a raise since I don’t work for anyone, but I’m getting what Mr. Andi called a “Time Raise”. Nathan will be in preschool in an inclusive program five days a week, six hours […]

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Insta #MayberryRoadTrip

August 14, 2014

We headed out last Thursday morning with an extensive itinerary. My stretch goal was to be on the road by 7:00 am, putting us in Auburn around 11:00 for lunch with my friend AnnMarie and her daughter Hannah, though my drop-dead pull out time was 8:00 am. We pulled out of the driveway at 7:08, […]

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Seven Snippets: Last Week’s Mystery Man, Ferris Bueller Shows Us #HowtoDad, and My Current Theme Song

August 8, 2014

— 1 — Remember the two handsome young men pictured in this week’s Sun-Beams post? Obviously, the one on the right is Nathan; the one on the left is sweet Alec. Alec’s mom, Christina, has been reading the blog for awhile and deduced that we must live somewhere near the coastal Alabama/Florida panhandle I-10 corridor. She and her […]

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Mayberry Road Trip: The Sequel and a Giveaway!

August 7, 2014

The Endless Summer is almost over. And I don’t mean “Endless Summer” in a good way. Sarah Kate has been home from school since April 2 – over four months! – and the rehab has been going on for over two. We’ve been in potty training hell for … too long. But both kids will be back […]

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Nathan and the Green “P”

August 5, 2014

Several weeks ago, I expressed my frustration to G, Nathan’s speech therapist, about how he chews his shirts, the tails of stuffed animals, and other inappropriate objects around the house. She ducked into the back and reappeared with two pieces of tubing – green and blue – that she had cut off of a roll […]

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Sun-Beams: August 3, 2014

August 3, 2014

Sun-Beams is a collection of links to stories, articles, photos, or videos I have come across that I believe will inspire, inform, or encourage you, as well as my favorite photo posted on my other blog, Violet Film, from the past week. Employees turn away special needs children from some carnival rides - On Special Needs […]

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Seven Snippets: Crab Video, Roll Tide (GULP), and a Mother’s Desperate Plea for Some Orange and Blue Love

August 1, 2014

— 1 — My mother-in-law brought a small tent with her last weekend. She set it up in the backyard and both kids climbed in – Nathan sans undies because … potty training. I looked at Mr. Andi and asked, “Over/under on 15 minutes.” He claimed “over” and I ducked inside to grab my phone to […]

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We Had a Good Run, But Now It’s Over

July 31, 2014

Remember back when we moved Nathan to the big boy bed, but he wouldn’t nap in his room because … daylight … or something? Back when my queen size bed was converted, like clockwork, into a jump-jump each afternoon? No? Then feel free to read up on it here and come right back. But then […]

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