Simply Shelley
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20 things you “might” want to know about… me… or maybe not

1. Inside my purse, you’ll discover: not to much, my wallet, my phone, my “Chanel Shades,” don’t judge people! I’ve had those for five years! Maybe a Laura Mercier lip gloss if my daughter hasn’t scarfed it up…
2. If stranded on an island, the five things I couldn’t live without: hmm, well other then basic things to live on, water, food, toilet paper… 1. My family 2. My computer, how else would I keep in touch? 3. OK, my cell phone… 4. A lifetime supply of the food network magazine, 5. Air conditioning I die in the heat just ask my family!
3. On my nightstand you’ll find: piles of books, photos of my children, Jasmine potpourri
4. When I grew up, I wanted to be: a pharmacist, funny ended up marrying into a family who owns one and not being a pharmacist.
5. My comfort food: vanilla ice cream with peanut butter, I know creepy right? It’s the sweet and salty thing
6. The location where I write: in my little office cubicle which I designed and love.
7. Three songs on my IPOD’s most played list: Jennifer Paige- Crush, Maroon 5- Secret, Katy Perry- teenage dream I love bee bop!
8. If I was on the cover of US Weekly, my headline would read: Best-selling Author changes world and donates 100th fully inclusive playground! Here’s hoping!
9. The three books that make me think of my childhood:
Are you there god it’s me Margret
Chicken Soup with Rice
Fun with Dick and Jane
-I’m sure I’m dating myself here! lol
10. My favorite Chick Flick: Tie between Love Actually and The Holiday
11. My favorite Chick Lit book: The Devil Wears Prada
12. My “must see” TV: Hmm used to be The Tutors, but now I guess it’s Glee
13. My Starbucks order: Grande decaf skim, sugar free hazelnut, delish!
14. My favorite curse word: I really try not to use any but I guess there is an occasional *ucker when speaking about a few choice people! Sorry!
15. My celebrity man crush: I’m sure I’m going to hear about this from my husband who reads each and every line and got pissed at something I wrote last year about “him” but it has to be David Boreanaz, sorry girls but the “original” vampire has it!
16. My celebrity girl crush: OK, kinda creepy, don’t really have one but will admit I think that Catherine Zeta Jones is beautiful!
17. My media crush: Hmmm again, don’t have one of these but Billy Bush always had a soft spot in my heart for helping me with Hadley’s Park, wayyy back when he was a little DJ in Washington.
18. Three words to summarize my book: Honest, Feel Good, Inspirational
19. It took me _____ to write my book. Still writing!
20. My book’s original title: I’m Still Standing… now it’s the name of my blog, I have a good idea for the book title but you are just going to have to wait and see…

So jump in and join me… give me the 20 things we might want to know about you… and link back so I can read all of yours after all you took the time to read mine! lol

It’s the “most wonderful” time of the year?

Hmm, well let me think about that… I know I have a lot to be thankful for but sometimes this time of the year, the “family time,” gets me down, particularly this year.

Holidays are about “family” and family is “supposed” to be about unconditional love.

I know that in raising Hadley I have learned the true meaning of unconditional love. But somehow my family didn’t get that *memo. I know if you spoke with “them” they would tell you it was my “choice” to stop speaking to them but come on…

… if… you had the power to STOP seeing your child get hurt, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to help that child? Notice I did say in your power… I’m not talking of jumping in and doing it for them… I’m saying be there, support them, and help where you can? Isn’t that what a parent is supposed to do?

Sooo… let’s just say… I did say let’s just say, if you knew someone who could STOP the pain your child was in by ummm let’s say, by making a phone call, wouldn’t you? 10 digits? Wouldn’t you?

I just don’t get it… and I’m tired of trying to figure it out but it is just painful to break away from your family, I mean we don’t pick our family we are born into them, but because of that does it mean they can treat us anyway that fits “them” or only be there if it is fitting to their “business reputation?”

Meh, that’s it… I’m just sayin…

Disney Girls Gone Wild

female teen stars
Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Lynn Spears. (Vanity Fair, Chris Pizzello/Associated Press, Lucas Jackson/Reuters

What is up with parents of teens these days? I just don’t understand…. I know the world has changed greatly since we were teens but my goodness are parents just not being “parents” anymore? Are they so interested in their “children” becoming famous and making money? Who is the money for anyhow? The children or them? And at what expense is this costing their children’s lives?

First there was Britney Spears, then, Lindsay Lohan, Vanessa Hudgens and her nude photos scandal and now Demi Lovato, and the funny thing is these were all “Disney children.” The cute, adorable, talented, money making machines who lived up to Disney’s clean image.

Watching each one of these girls lives spiral out of control has been heart wrenching, I just don’t understand to what extent fame is worth the price. These girls will never get back their “childhoods” actually I’m not sure any of them had “normal” childhoods.

I’m a mom of two young ladies as most of you know one who is 18 and disabled so she never had the opportunity that these girls did. But my oldest was in the “pageant world” for most of her teen years and it had its wonderful and exciting moments but there were also a lot of some not so pleasant moments; so having just a taste of raising a “celeb teen” is an experience I can say I have “touched on”. But I was always the “mom.” There were plenty of times I said “NO.” Just ask Sarah, I’m sure she’d be happy to share a number of these times with you. LOL

Anyhow, I don’t want to seem “preachy” just want to let mom’s know it is important to be the “mom” first and friend second. Always be there for your child to guide them the best that you can. Teach them right from wrong at an early age… And if you do let your child get a “taste” of the limelight always be there for the ups of fame to keep them grounded and remind them of the lessons you taught them, as well as the times that they will be down for the rejection to let them know that they are wonderful young ladies just the way they are.

That’s it in this month of “thanks” I’m thankful that my daughter both had experiences in the limelight and came out on the other end as beautiful young ladies! Love you Sarah and Hadley xoxo

It’s the beginning of giving thanks


It is time to dust off my “pity me” pants and get back to work… I know it is hard sometimes to “move on” in life, especially with everything my family and I have been through in my husband and my 25 years of marriage but you know what they say “that which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger…” God, must think I am one solid rock by now but there are times when the rock does get chipped at, a little at a time. However, it is time to smile and keep moving forward the best that I can do.

So, during this season where we give “thanks” I’m going to write once a week on something that I am thankful for, and today I am just going to say that I am thankful for all of you who take the time to stop by and say “hi” with your comments or emails. I appreciate all of you so much and have enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people.

I’m going to be starting a bimonthly column where I feature a special needs sista who has a story to share about her families journey with a disability or illness as well as a healthy sista who has had her own weight loss journey since those are two topics which hit home with me. So if you are one of either just holla! I’d love to share your stories.

So what are you thankful for today?

Friendship is an odd thing…

photo credit: sweet friends

As small children we make friends just by chance, someone likes a toy we have, or a crayon we are using and we start chatting and boom we are best friends. As we grow our toys and crayons change to sports or other common interests and again our friend base changes, grades change, classes change and again we meet new friends, families move in and out of the neighborhood and again, new friends made.

As teens our friend base becomes somewhat more important to us and we take the values we have learned and teeter and totter with the good the bad and what our “friends” think the “right” thing to do would be… Sometimes we go with our friends and sometimes we don’t… As a teen we go through boys and girl relationships, and just about everything that is going on in our lives… We just cannot imagine these people not in our daily lives…

And then college comes, and again our friends change. We make new friends and hold onto a few special ones from our childhood. The process keeps going on and on each semester in college with new classes and new activities. Until finally you take “the walk” and enter into the adult world and again your friends change as you start a career and make friends with people who you see for 8-10 hours a day; work friends.

And then one day we meet that very special person that we cannot imagine living without, ever. And at that point a whole new world of friends come into our lives, the very special persons friends… And at some point there is a union of the two friends and they start their lives together and meet new friends, but this time together…

Then you have a child, and a whole new process happens, you make friends with those who you meet at a mommy and me class, and your children start their initial friend cycle as you continue on with yours.

I came across a saying a few weeks back which has stuck with me: “People come into your life for a reason… a season… or a lifetime…”

I like to think of myself as a caring friend, someone who always has an ear to help someone out; I’ve had friends male and female who at this point in our lives have had some pretty big things happen, divorce, death of a spouse, cancer, loss of a child, and of course other parents with special needs children. But I still stop to wonder sometimes when I have a friend who really frustrates me, as to “why?” What is the purpose of this?

Anyhow, that’s it… nothing earth shattering… just wondering and pondering about the “friendship thing.” How about you?

Everything I learned about life I didn’t learn in Kindergarten


Birthday cupcakeHappy 49th birthday to me! I’m spending the day by myself doing a few things for myself and reflecting on my life… So what have I learned?

• People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime…

I was raised in a large family, the oldest girl of six children, and it was a very dysfunctional family I might add, I know, I know seems like everyone comes from a dysfunctional family these days… but in my family it was “if you don’t talk about it, it never happened.” But the things that happened changed people… I know there is no going back but I often now wonder if I knew then what I know now, how different would I be? Would I have been the same child and teen and adult I have become today? Meh, we will never know… but I do know that I was “molded” by my family for better or worse and now I just have to move forward and grow…

As an adult I have tried to become more of a true “friend” to my friends… I have friends who have lost husbands, gotten divorced, been through cancer and I am trying to put other people in the forefront of my life and listen and learn from them because I truly believe that “all things happen for a reason,” why old friends come back into your life and you need to “listen” and the reason will come out in time…

• Life is tough! No one said it was going to be easy, but in the end it will all be worthwhile…

OK, I will be the first to admit it, I was not a “rich” kid… or a “spoiled” kid although my parents did dub me “I-need-a or I-want-a” but that didn’t mean I got it all or even remotely close… but I did have a home with food and clothes which were clean… My parents did pay for me to go to college although I was the “cheapest” college choice by far of the 6 of us, it was paid for… And they did help me from time to time… but again, having them turn against me and my family was very very tough… it’s been a little over a year and it gets easier but sometimes it just plain “sucks!” I look at my daughters and wonder how anyone could do this to their own flesh and blood?

Raising kids in this day and age is hard… We all do it, make hard choices, and hope we are doing right for our kids… Having 2 daughters one disabled and one a healthy has been a real big struggle. There was never the third child to add the balance or break the scale! Lol… It has been a struggle with time; do I spend to much time doing what needs to be done to help the disabled child, go to doctor’s, therapists, school meetings, become an advocate and a voice for her.. Or run all over god’s green earth shopping, becoming the cheer or pageant mom, traveling with the other and leaving the other behind… Who knows…? I can only pray that when Sarah is older she will understand the time it has taken to raise Hadley… And I’m not even going to go into the being “there” for Sarah through the mean girls, cyber bullying, crazy boyfriend drama, and life with a teen through the new days of technology that I never had… but I have seriously been there and done that…

• You can’t understand unless you have walked a mile in my shoes…

Raising a child with special needs is well, just plain exhausting… We spend hours and hours laboring over ways to help them, because as a mom that is what we do! But it is that extra push that all special needs mamas do… Becoming our children’s voice to get them the services they need… I know that Hadley is 18 and at this point unless a “magic wand” came down from the sky nothing is going to make her have a life that would equal that of Sarah’s.. But by the same token, through Hadley’s life so much has been changed in the world; children can now take their medicine easier because of the company Kenny founded… And special needs children do have a place to play all over the country because of the work that I have done. So rewarding yes, but at times I just wish that magic wand would come… because as a mom I just want to much for my little Hadley that she just won’t have… college, the white wedding dress, the picket fence…

• Eating, eating and more eating…

If you follow me on a regular basis you know I have recently come to the “earth shattering” realization tadahhhh that I am an Emotional Eater… Have been my whole life, but I am working on it… Since March… and it is much like any addiction it is “hard” work… Stopping to take care of one self although it is a necessary evil is hard but in the end it will be rewarding, I know I know… I don’t want anyone to think I’m breezing through this because it is seriously “one day at a time, one meal at a time, one workout at a time.”

This post has really been a stream of consciousness more than anything… no real editing, just thoughts that have come into my head on this morning of my 49th birthday!

In the end… I am thankful for my “inner circle” of friends and family who love and support me and I thank all of you for being a part of my life to!

Happy Birthday to me!!

A Sardine I am not!

Eww Eww Eww, what an awful morning I had on my Metro ride into DC today! I was so pleased with myself that I got out of the house by 7:45am and off to the Metro, dancing in my car to my morning tunes, got a great parking spot, put in my Metro ticket and got down to the very full platform and knew from that moment on the ride in was going to be an “experience.”

The Metro was stopped for half an hour because there was an ill patron on a train a few stops down, so ill that they had to evacuate the train and wait for medical attention. When the person was finally moved to a better location for them the Metro began to move again, slowly and mind you by this time there must have been over 1000 people waiting on the incoming trains.

As the first trained pulled into the station, it was packed! And it amazed me that people just tried to cram themselves into the already overstuffed cars. I guess the trains stopped to see if people were getting off rather than let new passengers on but nope not the way it went.

I finally got on the second fully packed train and was surrounded by people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, ages, it was unbelievable and everyone just wanted the same thing; to get to work!

Young couples held onto each other for dear life, I was actually happy I didn’t see any older folks because they would have been s-o-l with the pushing and shoving that was going on.

I noticed that a lot of young ladies were sporting the “little black dress” today and most men didn’t seem to care too much about how their clothes matched or rather don’t.

I was a bit upset with myself that I was wearing my open sandals because I think my feet got stepped on at least 50 times! Uhh And being the 5’4” that I am I couldn’t hold onto the upper hand rails so I reached for the upright bars and prayed no one would break my arm at the angle I was able to grasp onto. There was a point where I thought if my feet weren’t on the ground I would just be suspended by the crowd around me. And then there was the point that my face was smack in between 2 men’s arm pits, not very pleasant. Actually rather smelly!

the metro platform filled way beyond what would be classified as “safe”

And then the train broke down… The doors wouldn’t close… So we all had to exit the train… with the hundreds of people who were already waiting on the platform to get on the train… You can imagine how “happy” I was at this point. Not! And I had to wait for 2 trains to pass before I got my chance to hop back on or rather get pushed back on…

And then it happened… I felt it… Someone put their hand on my butt, I couldn’t believe it I just wanted to scream and get off.

Three stops later I was out. Freedom, air, space… and then my morning began…

I had a “moment”


clockI was fortunate the other day to get an hour to run out of the house and get my nails done; I promised myself during my “wellness makeover” that once a week I would do “something” for “myself” and this week it was the nails, which I might tell you were broken and looking pretty bad from all the computer typing lol…

So I had my enjoyable moments of soaking my hands, and having someone take care of “me” for the moment and then I looked up and noticed two teenage girls standing and looking at the jewelry counter (ok, we aren’t even going to go there about a jewelry counter in a nail salon) they were obviously sisters joking as they looked in the jewelry cases and just being so sweet with each other and evidently waiting for their mom to come so that she could buy whatever their “needs” or I guess probably a high school graduation gift. Hmm, could they have been twins?

As I watched them interact with each other my heart broke for a moment; that should be my girls! Why wasn’t it my girls? My oldest just graduated college and my youngest is now 18 and should be graduating from high school. Those should me be my girls that were waiting for me to buy them their gifts… And then I took it a little further in my mind and stopped and wondered where my youngest would be going to college, would she follow her sister and go to school down south? Would she have gone through rush?

And then I looked up and remembered that’s not my life, that’s not my girl’s lives either. My eyes wallowed up with tears and I had to stop myself and remember I was here to do something “happy and fun” for myself. But that’s my life. In every glimpse I see a shadow of a “life” that I thought I was supposed to have had.

I do love my little Hadley just as she is believe me, I worry so often that something might happen to her and what would my life be without her and so I stop and just thank god that I have her and all that she has given us with her angelic smile and her contagious personality and love for life. And I know I am blessed but sometimes it’s just hard…

Excuse me who ordered this “snow?”

So everyone all over the world has now heard of our great snow disaster it has even been dubbed the snowpolooza, snowmagadon, etc etc etc. All I know is it was pure h*ll for me and my family!

Before the first snow fall I did what everyone else in the DC Metro area did, run to their local food store be it Giant, Safeway, etc and stock up on the usual toilet paper, bread, eggs, milk… because God knows we can’t run out of those things but in our case I hadn’t been to the store in a few weeks so we were short on just about everything, and two full carts later and I’m not going to even disclose the absurd amount of money I spent I went home to unpack it all before the first snowflake hit the ground.

Well for once the news people were right and the snow started to fall around mid afternoon and it continued and continued and continued. We ate dinner, watched a bit of TV and put Ainsley to sleep and at 2 am the inevitable happened. I heard a “beep” and then total darkness, we lost power. I thought “oh crap! Here it comes…” And I pulled my warm comforter closer to my neck and held tight. By 9:00am I was awake and jumped out of bed but noticed the air was a little more brisk than usual, and then I remembered the ‘beep’ at 2am… No power…

I quickly ran to the window and looked outside and was “shocked.” There was white everywhere! Just white!

I went downstairs to see what was happening down there and realized “oh no” NO coffee! No lights and oh yes, NO HEAT!!! Well under normal circumstances this wouldn’t be great but with Ainsley and her disability this was NOT good! The colder it got the tighter her extremities would get. And the temperature just kept dropping. I called PEPCO every 30 minutes, I called the Dept of Transportation, I called 911 a few times because I was so scared for her, I even called the news to ask how can we get “out.” No one had any answers for us, PEPCO just told us 90,000 people across the area were without heat, NO ONE answered the emergency line for the dept of transportation, and 911 told us unless there was an actually emergency going on at the time there was nothing that they could do. We explained that without heat Ainsley’s medically fragile health was not good. So what did we do? We put on about 5layers of clothes, coats, hats, mittens, we looked like Eskimos and we huddled all together in our family room. And I forgot to mention this was Ainsley’s 18th birthday! What a way to celebrate, right?

At 5pm when the sun started to set I knew we would all be freaking out because as it got darker it also got colder and by now our house was about 30 degrees inside… This was when I really started to panic! We held Ainsley tight and all slept together on the floor with as many blankets as possible. Finally we all fell asleep but I must have been freezing truly because I actually dreamt that I was a “vampire!” I guess reading the Twilight books at the time didn’t help but my eyeballs were actually cold. That was the strangest feeling to me, my eyeballs were cold! And I just kept worrying about Ainsley. By this point we couldn’t even bend her legs or arms. I knew we were in trouble. I called 911 again and at 10:30 the next morning a young firefighter showed up at our door with his truck stuck in the 5 feet of snow down our street. I was thinking how the heck are we going to get Ainsley out of here? We certainly couldn’t get her wheelchair out in the 5 feet of snow on our drive and street. And at that moment by some miracle 38 and a half hours later our electricity went back on. And then it took another 3 hours to “thaw” ourselves back…

When I heard the next storm was headed back up to us “again.” I told Geoffrey “we are out of here!” I wasn’t going through that again. It was a true nightmare and so by the grace of god on Tuesday before the next Blizzard hit we got a car to pick us up and bring us to a hotel where we “camped” out… It was terrible, I kept thinking at least we have heat, food and were staying were there was a “generator” so if the electricity went out we would still be able to eat and move around. It was ok, the hotels ran low on food, and towels and everything else that they would need a delivery for but I was just happy to be somewhere where Ainsley was ok!

I just hope that this stuff melts before summer! I am soooo over it! So how was your snow-mare?

February reminds us of “love”

February is a month that everyone generally thinks of as the month of “love” since Valentine’s Day is smack in the middle of the month. I think of it also as a month of love since Ainsley’s daughter’s birthday at the beginning of the month and she has brought soooo much love into our lives as well as children’s all over the country.

It is her birth that I reflect on each year with my usual tears and thinking about “what would have been, what could have been,” if she was a “normal” child, but then I go into what is a “normal child?” Is there such a thing today?

There are soo many things that can happen in the span of a child’s life today, physically they can be born fine and be bullied and have that affect their lives to the point where it causes them to have mental challenges. Peer pressure affects so many children’s lives today and most of the time for the worst, with new queen bee’s being born every minute. So the fact that my daughter has cerebral palsy she will never enter “that world.” For that I am thankful.

There are always two side of the coin and this time I’m trying hard just to think about the “love”…