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It’s no secret that it’s been a rough summer.

Sarah Kate has handled everything like a trooper, but there’s only some sunshine you can muster when you’re an eleven year old girl cooped up at home being nagged by your mom into doing 45 minutes of exercises three times a day for weeks on end. But she’s been a trooper and it’s paid off – we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Although she doesn’t have a lot of stamina yet, she’s able to do most of what she could do before, and her legs definitely look better.

On Monday evening, we gathered a number of friends – ours and Sarah Kate’s – for a party to celebrate the end of her rehab. As I said on Friday, she isn’t done-done with rehab, but the bulk of it is behind her. We kept it simple – pizza and cupcakes – and the kids romped around the playground, played football in the grass, and got wet in the splash pad (well, one small boy in particular did, anyway…)

Then came the main event.

Sarah Kate was oblivious, talking to a friend from softball, when a pickup truck pulled into the park behind the pavilion, towing a boat.

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A man got out, walked over with a Mickey balloon, and handed it to Sarah Kate.

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She had talked to the man earlier, but she didn’t think much about it – she assumed he was someone her daddy knew from work (because Mr. Andi seems to know everyone in town…)

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But this man was not a friend of her daddy. He’s Mr. Ronnie and he was a representative of Magic Moments, a Birmingham-based nonprofit that fulfills dreams for Alabama children with life-threatening or chronic medical conditions, and he was there to share some exciting news with Sarah Kate.

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She has been granted her wish of a Disney cruise!

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A few months ago, right at the beginning of Sarah Kate’s rehab, her physical therapist made the recommendation. We were reluctant at first to fill out an application – weren’t there plenty of kids out there who were more deserving? – but she encouraged us. There’s a board that decides which children should receive a wish, and they would make that decision without us disqualifying ourselves right out of the gate. So we did, and I heard back from them within just a few weeks.

Mr. Ronnie escorted Sarah Kate to a small “cruise ship” (Mr. Ronnie’s boat), where Mickey and a few of his pals waited.

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Nathan, of course, had to be a part of the action, but as you can imagine, he was more interested in attempting to drive the boat off the trailer.

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Once on board, Mr. Ronnie shared with Sarah Kate all the details of her upcoming trip (mom, dad, and little brother will get the chance to go, as well). And do you know what’s going to make it even better? The cruise sailing dates are timed to coincide with the cruise my dear friend Katie and her family will be on, so Sarah Kate (and the rest of us) will have a friend on board.

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I was so excited for her, but I have to admit that the whole thing was tough for me. I can’t help but feel like we’re not deserving of such a generous and wonderful gift. But I have to remember that it’s not about me. It’s about Sarah Kate and her having just a few days to relax and be a kid, and for us to support that by being relaxed ourselves.

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If you’d like to learn more about Magic Moments, visit their website, and if you know of a child who is a resident of Alabama that could be served by Magic Moments, please take a few minutes to refer them.

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— 1 —

I talked in general about 504 plans yesterday, but without many specifics. Sarah Kate’s 504 meeting was Wednesday, which, yes, is pretty quick for the beginning of the school year, but the start of school was a shock to everyone’s system and Nurse Heather pressed to get things set up quickly.

In short, the meeting was pleasant, everyone was in agreement, and we’ll see where things go from here.

— 2 —

The true crisis this week involved Sarah Kate’s lunch. Not bullies or mean girls or a painful stumble in the cafeteria, mind you. No, the crisis that has repeated itself several times in these first two weeks is caused by a potato, or, more specifically, a lack thereof. The students can choose the regular lunch from the daily menu or a loaded baked potato, but they must preorder the potato at the beginning of the day. Several times she’s ordered a potato but gotten stuck with a regular lunch.

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“Mr. Grumpy Potato” – Courtesy banger1977/flicker

If in her mind that’s been the worst part of these first two weeks of school, I’m good with that.

— 3 —

The Great Loaded Potato Crisis of 2014 is an example of how “the sins of the fathers” can come full circle … or something. When my fine, upstanding citizen husband was in ninth grade, his school gave tokens to redeem for different items after the kids paid for lunch. The cafeteria would then know exactly how much of each item to have on hand. Mr. Andi decided to manufacture tokens in shop class in order to get free hot dogs and hamburgers that he and his friends didn’t pay for (necessarily shafting some kids out of the hot dogs and hamburgers they ordered and paid for).

This former leader of a lunch theft ring is now the father of my children.

— 4 —

College Football is HERE! Our beloved Auburn Tigers will play on the brand new SEC Network on Saturday afternoon and I’ll be … hoping to pick up the radio broadcast on a tiny handheld FM radio because I’m going to be so far off the grid I can neither watch it nor stream it.

But I’ll survive, because I’m going to be so far off the grid. :)

— 5 —

That’s right – I’m outta here! At least I will be in a few hours. I had such a great time on my last scrapbooking weekend (Unplugged! Off the grid! Beautiful surroundings! No children!) that I’m doing it again. Mr. Andi will have the kids all on his own until Monday morning, but then we’ll hit the ground running as soon as I arrive home, because…

— 6 —

We are having an End-of-Rehab Party for Sarah Kate on Monday. We’ve invited a bunch of our friends (“our” meaning families we know) to have pizza and cake at the park with the brand-new accessible playground. Although she’s not really done-done with therapy, and she still has a ways to go when it comes to stamina, she’s reached the point where she’s either doing or very close to doing most everything she could before the surgery, and we want to celebrate that achievement.

So can you guess what the subject of Tuesday’s post will be? ;)

— 7—

Our latest uber-ambitious project at Casa de Sligh? Fire Truck Loft Bed for Nathan!

Photo Courtesy Jeff McClure via Ana-White.com

Mr. Andi is 100% sure he can build it, but I’m only 60% certain he can do it, so I calculate the odds of us attempting it at 80%. Although the lunch theft racket lasted quite awhile, so that’s a dubious testament to his shop skills. Stay tuned.

Have a great weekend!

This post was inspired by and is linked to Conversion Diary‘s 7 Quick Takes.

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Let’s Chat About the 504 and the IEP

August 28, 2014

Ah, yes, it’s that time again. The start of the school year, you mean? Well, yes, but it’s also the dreaded season of IEP 1 and 504 2 meetings. Nathan has the first, and Sarah Kate has had both (she has a 504 plan at the moment), so I’ve done both in years past – and […]

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A Taste of Freedom Once Again

August 26, 2014

Remember when Sarah Kate first experienced freedom? That three-wheeled bike allowed her to ride around the neighborhood, check in with her friends down the street, and just generally be part of regular kid life in a middle-class subdivision. It was a dream realized not just for her, but for me, as well – not an […]

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Sun-Beams: August 24, 2014

August 24, 2014

Some days you’re in a tug-of-war between “it’s all good” and “it’s all falling apart” from minute to minute. The first week of school was like that for us (well, me … the rest of the family is probably “all good”). Between Nathan’s potty fails and Sarah Kate’s mobility woes, on Friday night I crashed and burned. […]

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Seven Snippets: Step Counts, Self-Propelled Wheelchairs, and the Sound of Silence

August 22, 2014

— 1 — Remember the FitBit Sarah Kate got last week? Here are the screenshots of her step count on Sunday, followed by one of her step count on Monday, the first day of school. We have some issues, needless to say. — 2 — If you have any advice on self-propelled wheelchairs, I’m all […]

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First Days, Tween Daughters, and Tori Amos

August 21, 2014

The little guy was supposed to be the tough one. After four years of having Nathan mostly at home, messing stuff up and making it oh, so difficult to get things done, Nathan started pre-K on Monday. Six hours per day, five days per week. I thought I would be sad or lonely or … something. But each […]

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Mayberry Is a Little More Inclusive Today

August 19, 2014

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 […]

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Sun-Beams: August 17, 2014

August 17, 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. More on the Story of Baby Gammy - This story is incredibly tragic and […]

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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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