A Valentine’s Day Adventure

February 14, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Posted in Barton's Blogs, Our Love Story | 1 Comment
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Friday night, we went out on a night on the town, consisting of a very nice dinner and a movie. I wanted to be in my power chair for the evening, and since the restaurant and theatre was only a mile from our house, we walked, and I carried Megan on my lap. We had early reservations, and as the restaurant slowly picked up, a very nice older couple was seated at the table behind us.

It was the husband’s birthday, and on their table was a pair of red roses. Now, the woman was apparently watching us interact, and came over to ask us if there was anything special about this particular evening. We told her that we met each other the day after Valentine’s Day seven years ago and that we were celebrating not only Valentine’s Day, but the anniversary of our meeting.

She went back to her table and after several minutes of talking to her husband, apparently relaying what we had told her, she returned with the vase of roses and said that we should enjoy them.

Smile, for some flowers.

Smile, for some flowers.

For the rest of our meal, we couldn’t help but wonder what it is that makes the connection between a couple apparent to others. We began looking for another couple that we could pass some flowers on to share the feeling of joy. We noticed a table with two other couples, most likely in their 80’s, who looked so happy they reminded me of high school kids on a double date. We thought this would be a perfect table to pass the roses on to.

Megan went up and asked if they were celebrating anything special, and returned saying were they celebrating Valentine’s Day as well as their anniversary. She took the roses and set them on the table. As I watched, all four of their faces lit up with brilliant smiles as Megan offered them the vase.

By the time we finished dinner, it had begun to snow. Megan taunted me on my insistence about wanting to walk, yet I was sure that the walk home would be lovely. After the movie, several inches had accumulated as we were setting off on a slippery but beautiful adventure.

As I said in my last post, it had been quite some time since I played in the snow in my wheelchair, and Megan had never had the opportunity to do this with me. With Megan in my lap, we slid down hills, spun 360s in the fresh snow, and skidded in and out of turns at high speeds. It was a ball, and a lovely way to spend our Valentine’s celebration. 

Happy Valentine’s Day- pass along some flowers and spread the love to don’t know.


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Breaking Through the Shame of Infertility

February 11, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Adoption, Megan's Blogs, The Nitty-Gritty | Leave a comment
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Lover's Bliss in AZ.


Even before Barton and I were married, we had dreams of having children. We talked about it often, even named them. When we found out that we would not be able to have children naturally, the way we had envisioned, we both took it really hard and grieved in different ways.

Once we began to talk about different options that we were or were not considering, we were met with the long list of questions and opinions from others, family, friends. In each one, there was a sense of concern, shame and failure.

Compounding this sense of failure was that we were faced with questions of how we would manage with time, energy, financially, and support. Nearly every one of my friends were pregnant, but we were being told that we should not have a family because we would not be able to manage with Barton’s disability. Instead of looking at the missing pieces to find strategies on where & how fill in the holes, I did the worst thing I could have done- I believed them.

I completely shut down, and so did Barton. I threw myself into trying to be it all in everything else – in my work, getting Barton up in the morning, getting home very late at night, housework. Once Barton even told me he never wanted to be a father, completely denying the dreams we shared together when we first met.

Recently, I have found a small contingent of women who have been through similar experiences or conceived using other techniques. Whether it was through medical technology or adoption, many stories began to seep out. It wasn’t until I began meeting other women who shared these experiences that I stopped believing in the illusions that surrounded the beliefs about our own family.

Yesterday,  I had lunch with a mother of two, and we talked about our paths. Afterwards, I realized how deep the sense of shame and failure had been, how detrimental it had been to cut myself off. How different and free I felt to even speak about our dreams, our visions, our challenges. I could ask the questions I was afraid to ask others because I knew the response I would get. I found myself believing again, and dreaming again.

Barton & I don’t know when or how it will work out. Whether we are successful at creating a family through medical advances, adoption, foster care or even in volunteering at a school or daycare. Slowly, we are shedding the shame and failure to find the vision and love we once had, and how important expanding our family is, to both of us.

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Wedding Cake Kisses

February 10, 2010 at 11:59 am | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Our Love Story | Leave a comment
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So last night at the Pizza Party, we were telling stories about our wedding. The conversation started when someone mentioned that how you cut & feed the cake to each other has an impact on longevity of your marriage. I wonder what this says about us…

What was so special about our wedding was that we were truly able to adapt the ceremony to make it our own. When Barton put the ring on my finger, he used a small stick he put in his mouth with the ring attached on a string. We wrote and read our own vows. Our friends made a special ramp from the church alter to the aisle so that Barton could stand for the whole ceremony, and he walked us out of the church using a special walker. This was the first time his family had seen him stand and walk, so it was an incredibly powerful ceremony.

Preparing for the kiss.


Now, for the cake. Which we must back up a little. Since Barton doesn’t have finger dexterity, it’s really hard for him to give me a piece of chocolate, for example. Instead, when we are being passionate, we’ll give each other chocolate through a kiss. It’s much more fun this way!

Wedding Cake Kisses


So when I took a piece of wedding cake and put it in my mouth, my matron of honor mentioned, “You have to feed him.”

My response was, “I am.”

How delicious to feed each other the wedding cake through a kiss.

Yesterday I received a special invitation for a Valentine’s date. I wonder if we’re having chocolate for dessert?

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Z-Pizza Party

February 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Posted in Adoption, Barton's Blogs, Megan's Blogs | Leave a comment

Tuesday night we’re having a Pizza Party! We’ve heard from many of our friends, and are excited to be bringing our community closer together for a whole lot of fun. Z-Pizza in Raleigh will offer 20% for Family For Us Fundraising. Family For Us is our fundraising effort to bring our community into our efforts to expand our family.

While we are both strong-headed and determined to do everything ourselves, there are times when we have to admit we can’t do it all on our own. Because we are married and own our own business, we do not receive any benefits that assist us in the additional needs we may have as an inter-ability family.

Late this year, we are hoping to begin our process of expanding our family, through medical efforts, through adoption and if those don’t work, we are open foster care as well. An accessible van, additional help for Barton & for myself & other adaptable devices are the tools we need to be more independent & help us take care of a child.

It’s exciting to hear that many of our friends who have children, and even those who don’t are coming to our pizza party on Tuesday night. We hope that you can be a part of our process in creating community and having fun!!

ZPizza Flier

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Throwing Barton from His Wheelchair

February 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Ramblings, wheelchairs, Wild Stories You Just Wouldn't Believe | Leave a comment
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Listening to Barton tell about our adventure with curb-cut snow drifts this morning reminded me of when I threw Barton out of his wheelchair. Yes, if we had had a video camera, we would have won a thousand dollars on Americas Funnies Home Video’s. Our friend had asked us to teach his martial arts class that Saturday morning, so we drove in rain just beyond the border in Mississippi. I had parked the car, but we realized that we needed to get to the other side of this field.

We made our way through the marshy field. In front of us, I could see this massive mud puddle, and I had the bright idea that if I gained speed, we could make it through the thick mud. I wasn’t a physics major, obviously.

So I gained speed, and we reached the mud. And the wheelchair stopped. And Barton didn’t. Holding onto the bag with all of our gear, and with a broke seatbelt, Barton flew face first into the mud. Within seconds someone else was there, and we were hauling Barton back up into his chair. I wiped the mud off of his face, trying not to laugh, but not being very successful.

I would love to say this was the only incident, but alas, there are others. I’m only lucky that with every story to be told, Barton ends up with a smile on his face.

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Wheelchairs & Ice Skates

February 7, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Posted in Barton's Blogs, Ramblings, wheelchairs | 1 Comment
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On the way to church this morning, Megan and I plowed through the last of the dwindling snow in the Raleigh streets. I carried Megan on my lap as I normally do, yet on nearly every street corner, there was several inches of snow that had almost magically collected at the foot of the curb cuts. These baby snowdrifts still stood about four inches tall making it practically impassable for my chair.

On the first couple of snowdrifts, I was able to manage a path that circumvented the snowy impediments. The last one, however, was another matter.

As we approached the curb cut, we both assessed the situation and decided that the only way to pass was to plow through, so at top speed, and still carrying Megan, I charged at what I thought was the lowest point in the drift. Snow flew everywhere, and with immediate deceleration from the impact, Megan almost went flying. Thank God we didn’t stop dead.

When I was a kid living in Chicago, I remember taking my wheelchair out on the ice rink and frozen parking lots play with others. My friend and I thought this was wonderful as we piled three or four other people on top of my chair as all of our weight increased how much and how far my chair would slide on the icy surface. Inevitably, several of my friends and the front half of my chair including my legs would end up buried in four or five-foot snow drifts at the edge of the ice. While this brought me hours of great entertainment as a kid, snow and ice in any form is not terribly conducive to life in a wheelchair. When I wasn’t serving as the neighborhood toboggan, I spent most of my winters indoors.

Last weekend when Raleigh was buried under a whole six inches of snow (yes, a whole six inches is enough to shut down this southern metropolis), I was brought back to those weeks of endless winters where I barely went outside except to get to and from school and wondered how it was I ever survived so much time indoors.

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Motorized Door Locks on a Snowy Morning

February 7, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Posted in Marley & Me x2, Megan's Blogs, Ramblings | Leave a comment
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Last week, Raleigh received over six inches of snow. Now, in Raleigh, we certainly aren’t prepared for a big snowstorm such as this. We admit that on Friday evening we went to the grocery store to stock up on food, water, and firewood.

The snow began falling Friday evening. Saturday morning, we woke up to drifts of snow covering the back porch and yard. Six am, and Basho was crying to get out. As usual, I cracked the back door. We have a motorized lock, and so the door is locked from the outside- all the time. (You see where this is going, don’t you?)

Basho with Snow Camouflage in last year's snow storm.

Both dogs scurried outside into the snow. Basho bounded in the snow, both paws sprawled out. Bear and Basho chased each other around the backyard, and they can get pretty rowdy. I knew what was coming when Bear knocked Basho into the backdoor, and by the time I reached it, the door was all ready slammed shut.

Barton was still in bed asleep, and I had n o choice but to walk down the hill to our neighbors house. Trying to control two black labs, excited by the new white cold stuff, was quite a challenge. I yanked on their collars, and we practically slid down the hill, since there was a thick layer of ice beneath the snow.

Our neighbor was nice enough to come to the door, and give us an extra copy of our key. We scrambled back up the hill, opening the door to the warmth inside. I haven’t locked myself out of our house in a long time, and it had to be snowing & ice when I did.

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