Monday, October 29, 2012

You had me at Hurricane.

Remember this post?

This was last year, when Irene hit. (by my friend's neighborhood in NJ)

My parents were at a dude ranch in Colorado and I was staying in their apartment (in flux still from my Hawaii trip.) My brother stayed with me at night. While he was working, it was up to me to move all of my parents essential items from their furnished basement, drag furniture to a higher location (they lived by a river at the time...and they were on the first floor), go grocery shopping and make sure I had flashlights, batteries, cash and gas for the car.

This was me, prepping for my first hurricane.
By myself.

Sandy is supposed to be much worse, combining three storms together. It's also hitting NJ directly, something Irene did not do. But this time also feels easier. For one thing, I'm staying with my parents this time and it's nice to feel that comfort of family as you batten down the hatches. For another, they no longer live by a river, but inland towards Philly. (I drove an hour west from where I live) It was also nice to know that buying supplies was not entirely up to me this time around. That was a good thing, because by the time I wandered into the local Stop and Shop, this is what the scene looked like:

Good thing the parental unit planned ahead eh? 
Meanwhile, by Seaside Heights, I found this photo sent in by a viewer to our local news. A part of the boardwalk broke off and has floated away. (And Sandy is still 300 miles off shore.)

To all my fellow NJ'ians, (and some friends who are Virginians) stay safe and sound. Anyone reading this who is in Sandy's path, you stay safe too you hear? :) Time for a Hurricane party.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


12 years ago, an abundance of change occurred in our family. We lost a valuable member a year earlier and gained many more the following year. One of those members included a man who would make an impact in ways I'd never expected.

On a quiet weekend afternoon, I spent the day with new people who would eventually become family. Dad had been dating someone new for months, but this was the first time I would become acquainted with her relatives. I shyly entered the foyer at Lynda's, unsure of what to expect. It's well known that I have trouble with change, and I'd definitely had a bit of anxiety over the slew of it. I greeted Lynda, then various members of her family, until I came to a towering, booming man with huge hands and silvery hair.

"Is that a good book?" He asked, gesturing to my tiny elf hands. His voice was warm. Maybe he wasn't as scary as I thought.

"So far," I replied quietly, my voice not nearly as audible as his.

"She loves books!" Lynda told him.

Boy did I. I had everything, from children's series books, to fairy tales, to classics. You name it, I had it.

His eyes lit up. "Do you?" he said. "So do I." I smiled. Anyone who was a book lover was a friend of mine.  I walked into the living room, a bit closer to home. "How many books do you have?" I asked, curious.
"Oh, I lost count! I have a whole room of them."
A whole room? I had a whole closet of them, sure, but never an entire room of treasures.

From there, we took off, conversing back and forth so much that Lynda suggested we sit in the dining room, then she got drinks for us. I learned he was a special education teacher at the high school I was attending. (he retired two years before I began going there) He was a fantastic storyteller. I loved listening to his teaching adventures and and I could hear the joy in his voice when he talked about his "kids." I told him what I loved about school and admitted what I didn't. Eventually, as the sun set and our voices became hoarse, I realized I'd forgotten one key question in our conversation.

"What's your name anyway?" I asked him.

He looked at me over his silver rimmed glasses and smiled. "You can call me Pop." I'd had no idea I was talking to Lynda's dad. From that moment on, The booming man with huge hands who loved books became my grandfather. His wife was Nannie.

As I lived out the remainder of my adolescence, Pop became one of my biggest champions. He always made sure I had everything I needed, and stood up for me during the rare moments I wasn't able to. I, along with my brothers, fit right in with his other grandchildren, Danielle, Pat, Betsy and Bobby. Then, two more grandchildren arrived in the family: Jade and Jamie, now beautiful young ladies. Six years ago, he got to meet his first great-grandchild, Dean, followed by Matt, two years later.

On September 19th, Pop left this Earth peacefully, exactly the way he wanted to: With his children and as many grandchildren as he could have by his side. One key thing that I'll always recall about Pop is that he loved his family and being enveloped by that love was all he needed. Yesterday was his memorial service, as well as Nannie and Pop's 63rd wedding anniversary.

 Godspeed Pop. I will always remember your warm smile, your unconditional love, your generous spirit and kind soul. Thank you for treating my brothers and I as your own without the slightest hesitation. Thank you for loving animals as much as I do. Thank you for being my book buddy. Thank you for being the best grandfather I've ever had. You go soar the clouds, and one day, we'll meet you there.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Meeting Carly Findlay, Part 1.

When I first began writing this blog, my world was very small. Oh sure, I had my friends and I had my family, but I was definitely a creature of habit. I was stuck in a rut of nothing, doing the same things day in and day out on a regular basis. I was full of dreams, but that's all they were. None of my goals had yet to become reality and a tiny part of me believed they never would.

Two years ago, as I lay in bed sick with pneumonia, I started this blog. I told myself to do one thing everyday that scared the crap out of me. Going to the movies alone. Driving. Meeting new people. Bit by bit, my goals got bigger. Saving for an apartment, moving out, traveling somewhere new. Never would I have imagined that I would achieve all of my goals in such a huge way. Because of this blog, I have met wonderful new people--online and offline. I have traveled to Hawaii on my own. I've driven everywhere. I have moved into a house with friends. I have been in a relationship. I have begun writing my first book. The best thing of all are the friendships that have formed through my blog. A few days ago, the opportunity to meet an amazing young woman became reality. Last year, I stumbled across a blog titled Tune into Radio Carly. Having no idea what her blog was about, I researched her About Me page and immediately became intrigued and inspired. Like myself, Carly faces the everyday challenge of having a disability. Similarly, she also finds that there is no time or need in life to sit and feel sorry for yourself. Unlike me however, Carly also finds no time to be fearful. In Carly's world there are no what ifs. There are only hurdles that you clear, sometimes with ease and sometimes not so much, but no matter.

Carly is from a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. She's traveled half way around the world to attend BlogHer 2012, a conference for women's writers and bloggers. Last year, as she lay the hospital, she decided to plan her big trip to America. When I realized the conference was in NYC, I knew only of two things. 1) I had to attend the conference in some way, shape or form and be surrounded by others who loved writing as much as I did. 2) I needed to meet Carly. We kept in touch through various forms of social media and I realized we had a lot in common. Quickly, I scheduled a train trip to meet her in the city.

After confirming the date and time and buying my train ticket, I realized quickly that I would be crossing off another one of my fears, which was traveling by myself in the biggest city in the world. I got up early on Monday at my parents, after dog sitting. Because of this, I had a train ride that was over an hour long, instead of my usual half hour. Dad of course, was worried about my boarding the train myself with my balance issues, moving through big crowds and meeting semi strangers. I suppose I wouldn't always recommend meeting people from the Internet, but I assured him that I would be fine. After a giving him quick hug, I slung my new bag over my shoulder and began my journey to New York.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


When I was young, books were everything. I started reading at 2 and haven't stopped since. Dad tells me that the first words I read were off a printed page of a TV Guide, but no matter, I was hooked from then on.

I remember as a little girl sitting Indian style and placing a huge stack of picture books on the left side of me, determined to teach myself to become better and better at reading. I'd pick one up, read it cover to cover, and move onto the next, excited to transport myself to a new world. Don't get me wrong, I loved being outside climbing trees, making rafts and catching guppies with my brothers, but with reading, my CP never hindered me. I could do anything--or be anything--I wanted to be, even a baseball player, a superhero or a cyclist. With reading, my body never mattered.

I guess it was only natural that my love for reading would progress to a love for writing. At four, I have a fuzzy memory of announcing to my grandmother what I wanted to be when I grew up. "I want to make my own books forever," I told her. She explained to me that what I was describing was called being an author.
"Okay, that's what I want."
"Then that's what you'll be," she said simply.

Naturally, I didn't understand as a preschooler how difficult it was to get your foot in the door of the publishing world, or the uncertain career writers can often have. If I wanted to be a writer, I would. At 6, my school had a young authors contest. I decided to craft my first story, titled "The Bear who Got Lost". I vaguely remember it being about a stuffed animal who was looking for her home and the young girl she was separated from. At the end of the book, the bear wakes up in her toy box, relieved that it was all a dream. Looking back, the ending didn't make much sense, but it was impressive for being only six. I won my first award that year and I can recall that the other winners were 4th and 5th graders. Mom was so proud.

I continued entering contests until middle school, when I joined the school news paper and participated creative writing classes. I'll shyly admit here that I received a lot of praise for my work over the years, although I oddly never paid much attention to it. I never created a story for academic approval or to be accredited  by peers. I wrote not only because I wanted to--I needed to. Every thought and feeling that has consumed me over the years I've recorded. Once that pen hit the paper, I was free of it. Through life events I created fictional stories, poetry and journal entries. Even as my mother was losing her battle with cancer, I wrote those life events and emotions down in a journal.

In 1999, I was unknowingly on the verge of being published. One of my writing teachers submitted my poems to a publishing company, but by that point, I was too consumed with the very scary prospect of losing my mother to think of such things. Over the summer, I received a letter from the publisher expressing their interest in putting my poetry in a group collection. The letter was dated July 2. My mother died the day before. I never replied back to them, although I do still have the letter somewhere. For years, my love for writing died with my mother. I told myself that writing wasn't a "real" career and that I needed to think about other prospects. For a decade, I've tried different things, including journalism, but something was lacking.

When I began this blog, I did so in the simple hope that I would be able to flex my writing muscles again. In turn, I've discovered so much more. I realize I love to create more then anything else in the world and through this blog, I've also made my world much bigger. I've made friends and have gotten my drive back to make writing my career. During my hiatus, I discovered that the entire publishing world as I knew it, changed. You no longer have to go through the traditional channels to have your work be seen or have a publisher's approval to do it. I'm currently debating on whether or not to go through the traditional process at all, when self publishing through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks are options. Granted, they can be expensive options, but there you have it. I could have a chance to make my dreams come true, to be an "indie" author if you will. This will be a long process, but I'll be recording my journey here. I'm really excited and finally hopeful once more.
After all: There's nothing better in life then writing it down.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A little bit of Grace.

You may remember this post about my father's rescue dog.

I'm happy to report that Gracie is doing a whole lot better. She was sicker then we ever imagined. Underweight, spooked by quite a lot of things (like sounds and being alone), plagued by heart worm, hook worm and whip worm...she was a mess. Once the vet put her on (STRONG) antibiotics, she began to come around. This was a wonderful development, since my parents were going on vacation and I was going to be in charge of her for a week.

I learned a lot of things while watching this little dog make her way through illness and defeat it. One, she is tough. She had to be to survive on the street and battle what she has struggled with. Two, in spite of life's hardships, she has remained optimistic and hopeful. Gracie also loves the comfort of human beings. She doesn't ask for much. She's not a demanding creature. All she wants is your gentle presence. I'll sit on the couch and she'll slowly slide into my lap and snuggle as if to say "Thanks."

She loves children. She does her best to keep up with them until she needs a break, but even then, she silently reassures them that she is still their friend. Gracie could have easily rejected humans, and I wouldn't have blamed her in the slightest. After all, people have failed her. In spite of her abusive background, she doesn't see it this way. In Gracie's mind, everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. What I usually keep quiet about on this blog is that I've been struggling with depression. Two weeks ago, I began taking a medication that has really started helping tremendously, but also, this gentle, four legged lady has helped me through this process. She doesn't judge or care if you feel broken. She just loves you. She heals you.

Dad is beginning the process of training Gracie to be a therapy dog to kids, adults and elderly patients in need at local hospitals and I think she'd be absolutely perfect for that. I know that she has slowly healed me. After much needed TLC, it's time to go home, but I'll never forget the week I had with this little girl and I can easily say it's been a privilege. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thank you.

Thank you to all who commented on my last post. You've really given me a lift and I loved your positive responses. I'm sorry I haven't been able to comment properly on your blogs or update this one in a couple of weeks. Both of my grandparents are in the hospital and there's been a lot of commuting back and forth and worry. I'm relieved they're getting the care that they need and that they are together, but well wishes and prayers are appreciated. I'll be updating here real soon, as well as sending love to your blogs. Love to you all!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Walking in your own shoes.

Recently, I was chatting with one of my other auntie's. (Not Hawaii Auntie, but NJ Auntie) NJ Auntie said something really profound to me the other day. She suggested I write it down, so that whenever I feel unsure about myself, I can read it and remember.

For a long time I've had a terrible habit of comparing myself to other people. I think when my mom died and then I merged into a stepfamily, I lost a lot of my self-confidence. Before, I knew my place in my family. I was the only girl. I was aware of what I liked, what I didn't like and who I was. There was no questioning Katie. There was no uncertainty. When women suddenly surrounded me, I was completely thrown off balance, through no fault of their own. My stepmom and stepsisters seemed to know so much...more. I endlessly, secretly wished I had the answers they seemed to have. They had a lifetime pass to Girl World and I had yet to discover my membership card. I wore t-shirts and jeans everyday, my messy long, blonde hair in a ponytail. I had knobby knees and bony elbows. I secretly still loved being surrounded by my mountain of stuffed animals. I had lots of friends who were boys, but boyfriends were a long way off. I did okay in school, but not stellar in anything that didn't interest me. 

My stepmom and stepsisters were all well groomed, tall and beautiful. They wore nice clothes. My oldest stepsister was graduating college, moving out and starting a new life. My youngest stepsister was beginning her college journey. I secretly wanted one more year of high school so I could find my footing. Suddenly, everything I'd deemed okay about myself before was put into question, and I pondered on things I had no clue about. 

How DID you put on makeup? 
What colleges would I apply to? 
Did I even want to go to college?
What the heck is this Express store?
Would any guy look at me the way they look at her?
Was I pretty?

Add having CP thrown into the mix and I unexpectedly had a very hard time accepting who I was. In my mind, being Katie was no longer acceptable. I wasn't normal. I was different. I was defective. I felt like felt like a human being that needed to be recalled. No one else realized this. I couldn't dare tell them what I really thought about myself. They knew me as strong, my dad especially.

In my late twenties, the questions changed. I now knew how to put on makeup. I knew what Express was. I've had (some) men take notice and I've been in a relationship. I thought I'd caught up. But just as I caught up, friends and family moved ahead. As I happily congratulated couples on their engagements, marriages and the births of their children, that ugly voice loomed inside me once more:

Would I get married?
Would I have children?
Would I be successful?
Would I ever land a job I enjoyed?

I didn't have the answers and I hated it. I was also very anxious over it. Throughout my twenties I tried on different identities, different jobs and different majors, but nothing felt right and nothing worked. After my talk with Auntie, I suddenly know why. Nothing worked because I wasn't being me. I was only being a false version of "me." I was being the "me" I thought was expected. 

I was my own worst enemy. 

You know that saying you'll never understand a person until you walk a mile in their shoes? That applies to you too. Sometimes, you need to walk in your own shoes. Auntie said that I was so busy trying on everyone else's shoes; I'd lost my own pair. I realized that no matter how many times I tried to be like my stepsisters', my friends or their friends, it would never work, because their shoes would never fit me. Only I could be Katie.  I needed to allow myself to enjoy Katie as she is and not who she tried to be. 

After our conversation, I read a few blogs to unwind. I came across this entry at one of my favorites, Tune Into Radio Carly. It was a Godsend.

At first, I didn't think much of it, but I as read on I realized the entry was everything I needed. Francesca Martinez was a comedian, an actress, a young woman in her 30's, successful...and she had Cerebral Palsy

In her interview she discloses that, although she was a secure, happy child, she'd lost her footing in high school and suddenly, she no longer felt okay as herself. Her latest comedy tour in London highlights her journey to acceptance. She doesn't use the term "CP." Instead, she has christened herself as "wobbly." I decided I liked that. As I was reading further something she said stood out at me: There is no normal. That's when I realized the race to be normal is like a race to nothing. We're all different. The sooner I realized that, the sooner I could (finally) begin anew. The weight would be lifted. I would be free. It wouldn't be an overnight process and I might take a few steps back from time to time but I could see now. I've begun to practice walking in my own shoes.

And yes, a bit "wobbly."  

Sunday, April 15, 2012


On my birthday last year, I was pondering where I would be going, what I would be doing and who I would become as I prepared for my trip to Hawaii.

This year, a lot has changed. I'm still inspired from my journey to Hawaii, when before I had no idea what I was missing. I'm quicker on my feet, less sheltered and not as naive as I once was. Traveling and meeting new people opens your world for sure.

This year, instead of doing a family celebration before everyone went on to their own endeavors, I celebrated a fun filled 29th Birthday with my brothers in the afternoon and my friends in the evening. 

I expected a really low key, quiet birthday. (It was the first one I would celebrate where I was no longer living at home.) Instead, I (happily) received a lot of phone calls from friends and family giving me well wishes. I'd expected to hang out with my friends at night, (we'd made plans a week earlier) but when I called my twin brother to wish him a Happy Birthday, he told me that our brother Dan was surprising us with a birthday lunch and to meet at his place by 11:30. So, that began my whirl wind day. 

When I arrived at Brother's place, Brother 2 and his girlfriend Gen were waiting with gifts and cards. I was so touched. They certainly didn't have to get us anything. I received Barnes and Noble gift cards from my brothers and some money and a Target gift card from Gen. Then we went to a nice little place called Confectionately Yours. It used to be just an ice cream place, but now they've changed locations and made it into a full restaurant. It's one of the only restaurants in our old town/my brother's current town. The owner is super nice and hospitable. The food and ESPECIALLY the desserts and candy are to die for. It looks like one of those old school soda shops.

After lunch we went back to Brother's apartment to catch up for a bit. Then I met my friends for dinner. Some of the friends I hadn't seen in quite awhile, so it was so nice to catch up with them. 

I was just happy to be surrounded by good company, but they put a lot of thought into cards and simple gifts too. I think they were going with a "kid at heart theme". I didn't mind. I was moved.

My favorite childhood books. (PS: These were well searched for. Thank you all!)

The next day, my dad and stepmom celebrated our birthday with all three of us, plus Gen. (our birthdays are pretty close together) I was again surrounded by good company and my dad and stepmom got me awesome jewelry! (Lynda told me she thought the style of the necklace said me all over it. She was right. )

All in all, it was a lovely day. It was a nice reminder that I have good people and a lot of love around me. Sometimes, you need that reminder, especially when things get tough. It was certainly remembered that day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I won an award!

Caity, an awesome blogger with a fantastic blog herself, has decided to honor me with an award. I've enjoyed reading her blog, The Skinny on Me, for a couple of years. In it, she chronicles her ongoing journey with losing weight, as well as her struggles with illness. I've marveled at her writing ability (much better then mine I'll tell ya) and continue to cheer her on as she reaches her goals. I urge you to read her blog. It's refreshing to find a real voice who focuses on real issues. Caity is also an aspiring actress! I wish her the best of luck with a roller coaster ride in LA.

And now, without further adieu, I would like to award the Liebster Blog to some of my favorites!

1) Carly @Tune into Radio Carly
2) Shannon @ Shanimals Crackers
3) Farsighted Fly Girl
4) Claire @ IN CHAIR
5) Hayley @ Holding the World in a Paper Cup

Thank you so much again to Caity! It's an honor!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Starting over.

Recently, I haven't felt so awesome lately. I think it's because a lot of things have happened over the past several months, so much so that it's dizzying, good and bad. My seasonal job came to a close in January, and while I received EXCELLENT reviews during my time there (and had a fantastic time), there's no room for me right now. I'm also coming to terms with the fact that I'm having a difficult time lately physically. My legs hurt more often, as does my back. I often get spasms in the middle of the night, that, while not painful, disrupt my sleep.

Not too long ago, I met someone. We had a lot in common, and while I won't go into too much detail or name names, I was very happy with him. Everything hit me like a ton of bricks and it was unexpected. Things didn't work out, but I was pleased that he came into my life when he did. I'll admit I miss him though. I never thought I'd miss anyone, or have anyone to miss. On the plus side, it shows that you never know what (or who) is around the corner and that maybe there IS someone around the corner for me. For now, I just do what I always do, and that's try to surround myself with good people and family.

I decided that I was getting into too much of a funk with all that was happening and all the stressors I was dealing with. It was time for a new change of scene. I wanted to travel again, this time on a limited budget and just get away for awhile. I honestly wanted to rent a car and go on a road trip, but with gas prices through the roof (and climbing) my stepmother's suggestion to go on a cruise sounded like a nice idea.

Dad dropped us off at the airport before work. Gracie the dog (who is feeling much better by the way) saw us off too.

Lynda and I arrived in Orlando the day before since our ship was to depart from Port Canaveral. I'll admit it, I was excited, but also a bit weary of Disney World. Disney World: Where even a sweatshirt is $70. No thrifting here. No sir. But you know what? I stopped worrying. Even if it was only for a day, it was a gift. Disney truly is the happiest place on Earth. Leave your weary self at the door.

Since we only had a day to walk around, we chose Epcot as our stomping ground. I thought it was really  neat that you got a taste (sometimes literally) of different countries and culture. We weren't able to visit every "country", but we did get Mexico, Canada, France and England in there. Of course, I also stopped to look at the giant Epcot ball. I couldn't go inside though, since it was closed for repairs. Oh well. Pictures anyway!

We ate a lot, and I did my favorite: I people watched while we were in "Paris".

The only things that I found completely disappointing were: 1) I went to an exhibit on energy by Ellen DeGeneres. It was incredibly outdated and there was a lot of information on the environment (that we know currently) left out of the film. When I say outdated, I mean I was probably ten when it first came onto the Disney World scene. Not very enlightening at all. Fun fact: Alex Trebek was also in the movie and he still sported his mustache. Yup. 2) We got a GREAT deal for a 4 star hotel and Lynda and I quickly realized we both missed our Holiday Inn or Best Western. The food at the hotel was awful. All cold food. Mostly stale. (especially breakfast) 

Other then that though, we both had a good time. I'll get to the cruise in my next entry, but before I close, I wanted to say thanks to all who have been reading along on my adventures. It's so appreciated. You all really lift my spirits up and it feels good to write to you all. I'll be taking my blog in a (slightly) new direction. I'll be writing more about Cerebral Palsy, the good and the ugly. I've been assessing my goals and I would love to get back into writing more. I'll be working on a project involving creating a picture book for kids with disabilities, as well as anyone else who would love to read along. I don't know where it will lead me, but I would love to connect with people through writing and reading. I've been a "writer" my whole life, but have never really done anything professionally with it. It's time to start doing. It's time to make those dreams come true.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Recently, my dad adopted a dog from a local rescue. The rescue found this sweet girl in Puerto Rico. They believe she had been on the streets for quite some time. No one knows if she escaped from a yard, or was simply left to fend for herself.

The rescue from New Jersey found out about her situation, and she ended up about an hour away from my dad, living with a foster family. Dad and my stepmom then contacted the foster family. One thing led to another, she is. When she arrived, she was badly matted, had ear mites and was heartworm positive. (still is in fact) The rescue has been keeping up with the heartworm treatment very well and she should be okay (gradually) beginning next month. For now, Gracie can't have too much stress brought onto her or it may affect her heart. We've been keeping everything quiet and peaceful for her. The medicine also wears her out. (the vet said she'd be sleeping a lot and boy does she!) After her first night, Dad and Lynda had a mobile groomer come to the house, (one who was brought up to speed on her heart condition) and the groomer worked her magic.

Gracie loves cuddles and  just being petted. I think she knows and is relieved to be home. She's simply a sweetie.

Welcome to the family.

Monday, January 16, 2012


2011 was a bit of a crazy year for me.
I went to visit my best friend in Florida, then took an almost five month journey to Hawaii. After returning home to stay briefly at my parents house, I moved into a house with my two friends. I tried out a full time job position in sales, but it had no benefits and a very low pay, so I amicably left.

Then I got a seasonal position at a wonderful job and met fantastic people. A few days ago, that position ended, which leaves me a bit sad, but I was satisfied with the way my performance was rated.

Between working 30 to even 50 hour work weeks and driving back and fourth to my job, Brother's, my parents (which is over an hour drive now) and friends, I'll admit that I was too exhausted to keep up with my blog and it became pretty neglected. My 2012 resolution is to get back to writing again. What I've learned is that, even though I still fear the unknown, you never know what's around the corner, including good things.

I'm keeping up with my traveling vow. This time will be a little more low key (as in, not a 5 month long journey). First, I'll be stopping in Orlando to visit the bestie. Then, I'll be going on a trip to Key West
and the Bahamas.

A few changes will be different this time around. When I was on the phone discussing my plans with family, (more or less going "Wouldn't it be cool to do something like that again?") They said "Well, why not?" My stepmom will be my traveling buddy this time around. I think it's because she didn't like the idea of my driving to see a landmark or taking a road trip by myself. I don't mind though. One thing I learned last year is that I am okay with being by myself or with people. We leave February 4th. I think my family has seen how tense I've been lately. I'm glad I have them around reassuring me, telling me I can do it, championing me, and simply making me feel better. I hope I do the same for them.

I've been coming to terms with a lot of things lately, including that my CP and scoliosis may be affecting me a bit more as I age, and that I simply can't do everything I thought I could do. They've all been a big support in helping me come to terms with that.

"Katie, if you didn't have the challenges that you do, you wouldn't be the same person. It's part of who you are." said my dad.

I think he's right.