Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Mile High Miracle"

Kellisa's First Flight

It happens on almost every Southwest flight and I'm sure it's not unique to just to one airlines. I'm surprised I've never seen this phenomenon covered in the news since it's so amazing and prevalent.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             My most recent article, "Waiting for Kellisa's Mile High Miracle" was published yesterday on                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You can find a direct link to the article (here).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Crescent Rock Trail

Shenandoah National Park, VAh
July 2015

Miles Pushiked: .42

When our path was blocked by a barricade on the Limberlost Trail, we saw a smaller trail off to the side. We wanted to pushike a little longer and decided to try the side trail. This path wasn't accessible, but it looked possible. We only went .21 of a mile down this trail, but we found it quite enjoyable. I was still worried about the next rain storm. The ground was a little muddy and we encountered a few rocks and roots, but the surrounding forest seemed a little more full and lush. We met an older couple hiking this trail and we talked for a few minutes. I found it odd that they reeked of smoke and was very surprised to see a burning cigarette laying in the middle of trail shortly after our encounter. Laurel looking at the half smoked cigarette, "That's disgusting". Even though everything was wet, we still stomped the cigarette out. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Limberlost Trail

Shenandoah National Park, VA
July 2015

Miles Pushiked: 1.02

We arrived at the trailhead in between rain showers. As soon as I had Kellisa in her Hippocampe and we were ready to start, it began to rain again. We took shelter in the Jeep and I worried about losing our chance to pushike this trail.

I had selected the Limberlost because it was accessible (rare in mountain environments), 1.3 miles long, had a bridge and boardwalk. After a long 30 minutes, the rain stopped. I had to reload Kellisa in her chair before we could start out on the trail. I had checked the weather the day before and there was a zero percent chance of rain, so I didn't pack our raincoats (rookie mistake).

Laurel did not enjoy all the bug sounds coming from the forest. She used the hood on her hiking shirt to block out some of the buzzing. The trail was in great shape and we found it to be very accessible until we reached a barricade. The trail was closed after .51 of a mile. It was a pleasant stroll through the forest with a few slight elevation changes. It would have been nice to complete the trail. Before returning to the trailhead, we did explore a little side trail that wasn't accessible.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Perfect Father's Day

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day 2016 started with a morning 3.35 mile walk on the trail system behind our house with Kellisa:

The morning was already hot and sunny, so Kellisa was a little tired and stayed home while Laurel got to go to Sunsplash Waterpark. It's a good thing that Kellisa stayed home because she ended up having a sun related seizure. Sunsplash is Laurel's reason for loving her new house. In the parking lot picture below left, you can see a row of houses (center right) in the distance, that's our neighborhood less than a mile away and Laurel is beyond exstatic to be living so close.

After an easy (no cook) dinner of shrimp and rolls, we enjoyed the end of our day making and eating S'mores:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Close to Heaven

Summer 2015:

Laurel, Nana (Great-Grandma) and Kellisa (April 2011)
The windows were down as we drove through a light rain in Shenandoah National Park and Taylor Swift was playing on the iPod when Laurel asked me to be quiet and turn off the music. She was using her sad voice and before I could ask any questions, I looked back and saw her gazing up and out her window.

"One day, I'll be up there with you
It's not the same without you
It's not the same without your kisses
It's not the same without your smiles
I miss you
I miss you"

Laurel made up those lyrics as she sang to her great-grandma in heaven. I think being in a beautiful place in the clouds made Laurel think about heaven and how she still really misses her great-grandma. Some say time heals, but 18 months has passed and Laurel is still struggling with losing her great-grandma.

6.19.2016 Update- it's now been 30 months and Laurel still gets very sad at least once a week.

Skyline Drive

Summer 2015-

One of Kellisa's few benefits from being disabled is her Golden Access Passport. It allows us to enter National Parks without having to pay the entry fee and campsites are 50% off. 

We entered the park on Skyline Drive, a road that runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains for 110 miles, the entire length of Shenandoah National Park. We would drive from the beginning to mile marker 43 and backtrack to exit the park at mile 32. 

The speed limit is only 35mph and the girls enjoyed the ride with the windows down. We were in and above the clouds which Laurel likened to looking out airplane windows. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Hopefully the post headline doesn't turn away readers because of their negative feelings towards FOX NEWS because this has nothing to do with politics.

In December 2015, I came across an article about providing a "disabled" elderly man equal access to a golf course in Massachusetts. I couldn't believe the article tied in to the disabled community. The golfer was in his 70s and had trouble walking on a golf course. I don't want to sound mean, but that is not the same as being fully disabled, at least in my opinion. I wrote a response to the article online expressing a few things that Kellisa deals with every single day in every day life. I hit send and moved on feeling satisfied to fight another fight for kids like Kellisa.

To my surprise, I received a reply back from Melinda Carstensen with an offer to be interviewed for a possible article on FOX NEWS Health. I was thrilled to have this platform and the opportunity to reach so many readers. I did not hesitate in accepting the offer.

I prepared myself to talk about the struggles of the disabled community and tell some of our stories of discrimination. The interview lasted 90 minutes and we covered many topics. I had no idea how the completed feature would turn out. We appreciate the opportunity to be covered on FOX NEWS Health.

You can find the article here.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Big Move's been over 10 months since we've posted to our website. We're truly amazed at how many people still view our site, even without current posts. In fact, we had two of our three busiest months ever during our "hiatus". In looking over the statistics, we have gained a huge following in Israel, Russia, and Germany. Those three countries add up to almost as many views as the United States. In fact, we have followers from all 6 inhabited continents! We thank everyone for stopping by our site.

August 11, 2015 was the date of our last post and a lot has happened. Instead of our usual adventures, although we've had a few, we've been living one gigantic adventure for the past 9 months. Last September, I was offered a new position with my company, but it would require relocating to Sacramento, CA. With a little thought, we jumped at the opportunity.

Very long story's not easy moving 3,000 miles across the country with our kids, plus Lisa had to find a new job (which happened very fast) and we had a house to sell (lots of drama involved in the process) and we had to find a new house. We found a house that backs up to a conservation area with a salmon run and tons of wildlife. Our dream house has a beautiful paved path running directly behind as it winds through the ravine and we enjoy amazing views while observing wildlife. We were always traveling across the country with a ton of gear for our vacations and now the things we love and enjoy are literally out our back door.

We closed on the house on June 2nd and we are slowly finding a new normal after living in a hotel for so long (Lisa since January, Laurel since February, and Kellisa & Chris since March) and it was a one room with one bed hotel room. Fortunately, the room had a sofa for Laurel and a large closet that doubled as Kellisa's bedroom. The experience probably brought us a little closer (too close!) and we can definitely proclaim that we are not a family meant for "tiny house" living!

Even though our lives have been extra stressful and full of anxiety, we did manage to have a few outdoor adventures along the way and now that we are settling in a little, we plan to get the blog caught up and current as we plan many new adventures!

Thanks again!

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