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Hello to my new friends!

welcome signI would like to thank Varda of A squashed bologna whose site I am guest posting on later today! So it you have popped over from her Special Needs Siblings Saturday I welcome you! Smiling from one special needs mama or day to another.

If this is your first time visiting “I’m Still Standing” let me give you a little house tour:

“I’m Still Standing” is a place to find comfort and support like home. Stop by to be inspired by stories about overcoming adversity, realizing that we’re all “able”, and to find healthy recipes.

Hello, my name is Shelley known to many as a “Playground Fairy,” Special Needs Advocate, Speaker, Blogger, Entrepreneur, Wife and Mom to three wonderful people who have helped change the world.

I am a creative person by nature and ready to jump into things with both feet, sometimes not really sure what I am getting myself into but always with an open heart. In 1996 I had the dream to create the first fully inclusive playground in the state of Maryland. Only having my design background, and my love for children, and passion to bring this project to fruition I jumped in full force. Not only did we (I formed a nonprofit organization) raise the needed one million dollars to create this playground, which is known throughout the region as “Hadley’s Park.” Our organization went on to build many more in the area, and helped hundreds of more in the country. If you’d like to find out more about me check, stop over here.

And..

while I was doing this my husband Kenny founded a company to enhance the lives of children by taking the “yuck” out of their medicine… Yes, it’s the stuff that the pharmacist asks you “do you want to add flavoring in that” for your children’s medicine.

And..

while we were both doing that my oldest daughter Sarah took being a disability advocate into her own hands after winning Miss Maryland Teen America 2005 and then the title of Miss Continental Teen America and raising awareness that we are all “ABLE”.

And we all did this as a way to give back; to change the world in honor of, our daughter/sister, Hadley who was brought into the world a beautiful little bundle of joy and whose life drastically altered on her 10th day when she suffered a grade 2 bilateral intracranial bleed. It is through Hadley’s life that so many other children’s lives have been changed…

In 2010 I realized I am an “Emotional Eater” and stared a Wellness Makeover. I love to cook and entertain; I can be found a lot of times reading my many cookbooks or magazines on cooking. Shout out to my favorite chef/nutritionist  Ellie Krieger! I also love to scrapbook from wonderful pictures I have taken and read a little here and there, and hopefully someday I will get to Italy.

Thanks for stopping by! Please take a look around and hopefully you’ll find something interesting today that makes you want to come back and visit again!

You might like a few of these recent posts:

What’s in your first aid kit?

There is a time to be proud

It’s time to go back to school for bloggers (I invite you to join in my thursday ProBlogger review group! Just hop on in!)

10 Zenful thoughts

I invite you to subscribe to “I’m Still Standing” RSS feed.

If you tweet, follow me on twitter or if you are interested in learning about my “wellness makeover” on facebook check out this page or you can always contact me.  I love meeting other special needs families and if you want to build a fully inclusive playground let me know, i’d love to help you!

It’s my party can someone pass me a crown?

crown
photo credit: robyn lou 8

Today is my SITS Day! The day is finally here! I’m so excited… I think even a little more excited than when I began hosting the 31dbbb on the SITS Community Forum.

First, I’d like to welcome any of my “sista’s” who I have yet had the chance to meet! And for my daily readers who have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about…

SITS is an awesome community of over 8,000female bloggers who support one and other daily and offer assistance on all kinds of topics related to blogging and daily life. Recently they kicked off Bloggy Boot Camp; which is a one day blog and social media conference for women hosted in major cities all around the U.S. I was fortunate enough to join them in Philadelphia.

If this is your first time visiting “I’m Still Standing” let me give you a little house tour:

“I’m Still Standing” is a place to find comfort and support like home. Stop by to be inspired by stories about overcoming adversity, realizing that we’re all “able”, and to find healthy recipes.

Hello, my name is Shelley known to many as a “Playground Fairy,” Special Needs Advocate, Speaker, Blogger, Entrepreneur, Wife and Mom to three wonderful people who have helped change the world.

I am a creative person by nature and ready to jump into things with both feet, sometimes not really sure what I am getting myself into but always with an open heart. In 1996 I had the dream to create the first fully inclusive playground in the state of Maryland. Only having my design background, and my love for children, and passion to bring this project to fruition I jumped in full force. Not only did we (I formed a nonprofit organization) raise the needed one million dollars to create this playground, which is known throughout the region as “Hadley’s Park.” Our organization went on to build many more in the area, and helped hundreds of more in the country. If you’d like to find out more about me check, stop over here.

And..

while I was doing this my husband Kenny founded a company to enhance the lives of children by taking the “yuck” out of their medicine… Yes, it’s the stuff that the pharmacist asks you “do you want to add flavoring in that” for your children’s medicine.

And..

while we were both doing that my oldest daughter Sarah took being a disability advocate into her own hands after winning Miss Maryland Teen America 2005 and then the title of Miss Continental Teen America and raising awareness that we are all “ABLE”.

And we all did this as a way to give back; to change the world in honor of, our daughter/sister, Hadley who was brought into the world a beautiful little bundle of joy and whose life drastically altered on her 10th day when she suffered a grade 2 bilateral intracranial bleed. It is through Hadley’s life that so many other children’s lives have been changed…

In 2010 I realized I am an “Emotional Eater” and stared a Wellness Makeover. I love to cook and entertain; I can be found a lot of times reading my many cookbooks or magazines on cooking. Shout out to my two favorite ladies Ina Garten and Ellie Krieger! I also love to scrapbook from wonderful pictures I have taken and read a little here and there, and hopefully someday I will get to Italy.

Thanks for stopping by! Please take a look around and hopefully you’ll find something interesting today that makes you want to come back and visit again!

I invite you to subscribe to “I’m Still Standing” RSS feed.

If you tweet, follow me on twitter or if you are interested in learning about my “wellness makeover” on facebook check out this page or you can always contact me!

It’s time to “come clean”

 

Person Washing Hands with Soap in WashbasinI have been writing the story of my family’s journey for the past year and when I began this it was a way of putting some of my ideas together for a book that I plan on writing, to start my creative juices flowing. However, it has been a little tricky because I really didn’t mind using my own name however I didn’t want to expose my children’s real names but it has been a bit difficult and due to actually the “real” story I think it’s time to disclose who my family really is…

Yes, my name is Shelley and I am a mom to two wonderful and special daughters, and wife to an entrepreneur butttt there names really are Sarah (not Rebecca) and Hadley. (not Ainsley) Sarah being my college senior and Hadley being my sweet special needs child. And my husband is Kenny.

So why am I choosing to disclose this now? Well as I said, I would very much like to write a book and would love to have all of you who follow me at some point when that does come to fruition realize Oh that is Shelley and her family who I have read about for a few years now. It also makes a little more sense for those of you who follow my other sites, or my wellness makeover page, or my twitter where I use their real names.

My site is not about giveaways per say or coupons it is about our family’s journey with a special needs child and how through her disability so many children’s lives have been changed around the country and world.(Coming posts!)

So there you have it, my little white lie has come out and from now on you will know who the “real” players in my story are.

Do you disclose your family’s name?

*Right now we have a tie for last week’s giveaway so I have decided to break the tie with anyone who commented on last week’s post return comment today..

What a beautiful picture


This is my first attempt at a video collage. I thought since my anniversary was a few weeks ago and my husband’s birthday and father’s day I would give it the ole’ college try and give this ago, I love it, what do you think? I think I’m going to be doing a lot more of these!

The Basic Facts:

My name is Shelley. I am the oldest of six children, therefore I suppose that is why I am maternal and bossy and I tend to be a leader and a bit of a control freak. If asked to describe myself I would say that I am caring, loving and trusting to a fault (which I am working on) and a little bit pig-headed.

It is my hope that this blog will give me a creative outlet for all of the stored up stories I have been carrying around with me over the past years. I do hope that it will inspire others who are in similar situations.

I grew up outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County. In the middle of my senior year of high school my parents thought it would be fine to move me, and not worry at what cost it was to me, to Connecticut. I left Connecticut seven months later to attend college in Maryland where I met my husband and I have remained for the past almost thirty years.

My children mean the world to me! At times they can be frustrating and challenging. Both are beautiful and sweet girls and have brought so much meaning to my life. That goes ditto for my husband without the beautiful part… but he is cute! And god bless him he is the world’s best father, there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his girls.

I suppose this would be the place where I feel I should tell you that my daughter’s names are not really Rebeka and Ainsley, and my better half isn’t really Geoffrey but I am really Shelley.

In my “spare time” I love to cook, garden and scrapbook. (I recently completed 6 huge scrapbooks and am about to start another one for Rebeka’s college years-you know I have time for that.

I welcome your comments and look forward to getting your emails. I do hope that I can help others who “wear my shoes” so to speak. I do look at this blog as a friendly site and I will not allow “haters” who I hope and pray stay away as that is not my aim here.

Update! In April of 2010 I wrote a post titled “It’s time to come clean” disclosing the fact that I was not using our real names.

Bitter-Sweet

 

bittersweet strawberryIf this was a movie it would have all of the story of a true drama; mother gives birth to a child who suffers the trauma of a brain hemorrhage leading to a lifelong disability but what has come out of that child’s disability is truly a story of love and triumph not only for the family but the birth of two organizations which have changed the world as we know it today, improving the lives of so many children. This is the inspirational journey of the Kramm Family of and the story of the birth of FLAVORx and Hadley’s Park, the love they have for each other and families across the world.

Let’s go back to the beginning of the story…
Way back… Back to the early 80’s; the era of Madonna and the first personal computers when Kenny and Shelley Kramm met in college and went from best friends to sweethearts. They both graduated and received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland where Kenny studies concentrated on Advertising Design and Business and Shelley’s studies were Interior Design and Landscape Architecture. Kenny was a member of the Omicron Nu honors society and Shelley a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority.

A year after graduating college and both working in the real world they were married and started their life together. After a few bumps in the world of Advertising and Design Kenny decided he had enough and went back to his families pharmacy where he enjoyed the daily interactions with the customers. He strived to give his customers 100% customer care.

Parenthood…
In 1988 Shelley and Kenny became proud parents after Shelley’s rather formidable pregnancy which ended in a 6 week hospital stay prior to the premature birth of their first daughter. Shelley’s pregnancy was complicated by Toxemia/Preeclampsia and Gallbladder problems and a car accident… Her OB actually called her “the girl with the little black rain cloud over her head”

However when Sarah was born at 34 weeks her prognosis was pretty bleak. With low apgar scores the doctors prepared Shelley and Kenny for the worst and told them that she would most likely be deaf, retarded, possibly blind and would never live on her own. Devastated at that moment Shelley and Kenny worried and wondered what was to become of their new little baby. However, things turned around and 14 days after she was born both Shelley and Sarah went home to begin their new life together. And parenthood began…

In 1992 after several attempts at getting pregnant again Shelley and Kenny finally got the news they were so longing for. Shelley was pregnant again. Fearing for the worse after her last pregnancy she was always worried that she would have a visit where she heard the words “protein in urine” and held her breath… or blood pressure spike… or sudden huge weigh gain… and in January 1992 that is what happened. And eight weeks before her March due date she was hospitalized again for Toxemia/Preeclampsia.

When Shelley’s blood pressure escalated out of control it was time to deliver the baby and at 12:00 noon a little 3lb 6oz baby girl who they named Hadley was born, with a loud cry. This thrilled both Shelley and Kenny, as in Sarah’s birth there was no cry. So they thought, thank god, we got through this again… But unfortunately on Hadley’s 10th day of life she suffered a grade 2 bilateral intracranial hemorrhage which changed her life and her families forever.

Hadley stayed in the hospital for a month and was released in early spring with a box of diapers, formula, goodbye’s and Kenny, Shelley, Sarah and Hadley all went home to their “new” life with a newborn baby with what they thought was a seizure disorder. Enter the life of three times a day medications, blood tests and weekly doctor visits.

Hadley was a happy little baby but Shelley worried that she wasn’t hitting milestones like her older sister Sarah did. And at 8 months she heard the words that changed her life yet again, “You’re child has cerebral palsy.” Life over the next few years would include daily medication, doctor’s visits, physical therapists visits, speech therapists, cognitive therapists.

The inspiration…
As like most children Sarah had the usual ear infections and didn’t like taking her medicine however for Hadley this wasn’t just a matter of not liking the taste, this was a matter of necessity. If Hadley didn’t take her medicine she would have a seizure and end up in the Emergency Room for countless hours. After several trips like this Shelley asked Kenny who worked at his family’s pharmacy to “do something.” So that is what Kenny did… Hours after the store closed Kenny and his father a pharmacist of 40 years spent time working on coming up with a flavor that would make Hadley’s Phenobarbital pleasant enough so that she would take it and stay out of the ER and from ultimately seizing. After several go rounds a banana flavor came to be and Hadley was happy to suck down her prior unpleasant tasting medication.

From that point a company was born…. Kenny became an entrepreneur out of necessity for his daughter. Spending a lot of time in those early years of the company around the Kramm family kitchen table another company was given birth to.

After experiencing a day of “inaccessible” angst. Shelley came home from the park with her two daughters she pulled out the drawing board and began to draw ideas for a playground for all children, with and without disabilities and that was the birth of what is known today as Hadley’s Park.

After starting a 501c(3) nonprofit organization, forming a Board of Directors, holding meetings, forming fundraising committees, hosting events, securing the land, lobbying before the Maryland General Assembly and the local government to secure state funds, she and her board raised the needed 1 Million dollars to build the playground. This was grass roots at its best, a true public private partnership.

In June 1996 Hadley’s Park opened its flagship one acre themed play playground which won numerous awards and was used as a model to build 25 more in the State of Maryland and several more in the DC Metro Area.

Shelley continued her work to bring fully inclusive playgrounds around the country and Canada by traveling and speaking about the importance of play for all children to Landscape Architects.

I am ABLE…
After growing up with a disabled sister Sarah Kramm had something to say and she wanted a platform to speak. So in 2005 she vied for the title of Miss Maryland Teen America which if crowned would give her the ability to speak around the state about the importance of understanding that we are all “able” and speak about discrimination of the disabled that she witness firsthand with her younger sister.

Sarah followed in her parents entrepreneurial footsteps and came up with a “band of hope” which she called the “I am ABLE” band and raised funds to help create fully inclusive playgrounds like Hadley’s Park Projects.

These two organizations grew, not out of a desire to succeed as businesses, but rather, as a source of healing for a family in the face of adversity. By helping Hadley, her family has paved the way for millions of other children that now have the opportunity to simply be kids like everyone else. Although Hadley can’t verbally communicate her thanks, you can tell by the look in her eyes and the smile on her face that she understands the world is a better place because she has lived.

And now…
The Kramm’s reside in the Washington DC suburbs with their two daughters, Sarah and Hadley. Since selling FLAVORx in 2007 and closing Hadley’s Park, Inc they now are in the next chapter of their life. Shelley is chronicling their journey as a family at I’m Still Standing.com as an impetus to writing a novel and hopefully a movie! *fingers crossed!!

I would love to have you stay in touch! Subscribe to I’m Still Standing or you can always contact Shelley.